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ACS prepares for federal market as noncompete ends

Headquarters: Washington, D.C.

Leadership: Tim Conway, senior vice president and
managing director; Gino LaMarca, chief operating
officer; Ann Will, vice president of federal sales; Mars
Mariano, chief technology officer; Wilson Golden, vice
president of federal government relations; Joe Fields,
vice president of federal business development.

Lines of federal business: Mailroom and administrative
services, customer care, finance and accounting,
and intelligent transaction processing.

Employees: 3,300.

Revenue: $300 million.

Major customers: The Agriculture, Defense,
Education, Homeland Security, Justice, Labor, State
and Treasury departments; the Centers for Medicare
and Medicade Services, the Social Security;
Administration and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.

Affiliated Computer Systems Inc., of Dallas, is
about to fully embrace the federal market
again when a noncompete
agreement it signed with
Lockheed Martin Corp. expires
Nov. 24.

Compared to the businesses it
sold to Lockheed in 2003, ACS
is bringing a new approach
and new solutions under Tim
Conway, its federal leader.
Conway spoke recently to
Editor-in-Chief Nick Wakeman
about the strategy behind ACS' return to the
federal market.

Q: Why get back into the federal market?

If you look at the business we
sold in 2003, it was predominately a staff-augmentation
business. As we go back into
the market, we are going back much more
aligned with the heritage of ACS, which is
results-based business process outsourcing
and information technology outsourcing.

A lot of the solutions we are bringing are
mature solutions we already offer in the state
and local, health care, transportation and
other segments.

Q: What solutions will ACS bring to market?

What I call our four aces: mailroom
and administrative services, customer
care, finance and accounting, and intelligent
transaction processing. If you go to a thirdparty
analyst, they recognize these solutions,
so we have immediate credibility, and it lets
us jump-start our business.

Q: How have you been preparing to return
to the market?

When I was hired in
March 2007, the federal business
was federated, so we've
centralized it. A year ago, we
didn't have a central sales
team; now we have a sales
leader in Ann Will. We've
added sales people in key agencies.
We have Gino LaMarca as
our chief operations officer.

We have been focused on
the pipeline and understanding what the
opportunities are in the marketplace, and
building a pipeline that could sustain the
growth of the business over time. We look at
the federal market as a double-digit growth
market for us for the foreseeable future.

Q: What are your challenges?

Limited past-performance contracts,
limited resources, limited contract
vehicles and limited customer relationships.
When I look at what we sold to Lockheed,
the two things I covet most are the relationships
we sold and the contract vehicles. You
just can't create those; you have to earn those.
We have been looking at acquisitions that
could bring us those.

Because of our size, every client has to be a
successful client. We cannot afford to have
one contract that is not referenceable.

About the Author

Nick Wakeman is the editor-in-chief of Washington Technology. Follow him on Twitter: @nick_wakeman.

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