Intersolv Aims for Government Market
Intersolv Aims for Government Market
By Nick Wakeman
Unlike many of the other information technology companies that dot the Beltway and built their businesses selling to the federal government, Rockville, Md.-based Intersolv made its mark as a software developer by chasing the commercial market.
But with a growing list of partners, Intersolv is going after the federal market because company officials see a growing demand for what Intersolv does best - providing tools for software configuration management.
In the fiscal year that ended April 30, Intersolv had $160.4 million in revenues and is a leader in providing software configuration management tools. But only $1 million to $2 million came from government customers, said Dawn Febo, the company's director of channel development. "We think that figure can grow a lot higher," she said.
Intersolv photo Dawn Febo, Intersolv's Director of Channel Development
With an eye toward boosting sales to the government, Intersolv signed up partners such as BTG Inc. of Fairfax, Va., Government Technology Services Inc. of Chantilly, Va., Government Micro Resources Inc. of Manassas, Va., and ICF Kaiser International of Fairfax, Va. GMR and Kaiser have been partners for more than a year while GTSI and BTG were added in July. The company is looking for more partners with a government focus, Febo said.
"We lack the internal experience with the federal market so we decided to join forces [with government IT companies] so that they can guide us," she said.
Intersolv's goal is to capture a portion of what is projected to be $2.3 billion in annual federal spending on software development, she said.
Part of Intersolv's mission will be to educate the federal government on the benefits of using software configuration management tools when developing software, Febo said.
"The government doesn't use a lot of software configuration management solutions," she said.
The benefit of management tools like Intersolv's PVCS Series is that they track the development process and provide a trail of who and what has been done, she said. This information allows a project to be audited and checked against its objectives, Febo said. "It can reduce your risk and exposure," she said.
"Part of our job with our partners is to get to the [government] policy makers and educate them," Febo said.
Software development is on the rise in the government as agencies work on year 2000 conversions, Febo said. "You really need software configuration management to take on that change," she said.
The company also is working with systems integrators to educate them about configuration management, so it is included when they pursue projects. "We are trying to use a push/pull approach," she said.
With Kaiser, Intersolv got on the General Services Administration schedule in August 1996. It also is on the National Institutes of Health Electronic Superstore contract with BTG. Intersolv is part of several contracts with GMR.
"We are always looking for ways to distinguish ourselves," said BTG's vice president Brian Nightingale. "Intersolv's product line allows us to provide a total solution."
Nightingale said it is unclear how quickly the market will grow for software configuration management but he does expect to grow.
"We kept having software configuration management come up on projects," he said. "We saw [Intersolv] as bringing in one of those niche areas we weren't strong in."
The commercial focus of Intersolv also made them an attractive partner, Nightingale said. "They might help us get into their commercial markets and we'll help them get into the federal market," he said.
GMR also sees Intersolv as an element in helping the Manassas company move from being hardware-oriented to being more of a professional services company, said GMR spokeswoman Sharon O'Connor Ennis.
GMR especially likes Intersolv's partner program because of the strong sales, training and service support the company provides, she said.
So far, most of Intersolv's government work has been with the Navy and Coast Guard, Febo said. "The military spends more on IT than civilian agencies, so [the military] is a definite target," she said.
Intersolv also is working with a consultant to pick the right civilian agencies to pursue, Febo said.
Because the company is starting with such a small base of government business, Febo said Intersolv expects at least a doubling federal revenues each year for the first two years.