From the Editor's Desk

Outsourcing New Name of the Game<@VM>TechToons

Trish Williams

By Trish Williams

Though it's been a long time coming, outsourcing finally is coming of age.

Ample evidence that outsourcing fever has spread to all government levels can be found throughout this issue, where Washington Technology profiles efforts sparking interest from systems integrators and their partners nationwide.

Among them are the state of Pennsylvania's planned procurement to outsource a wide range of telecommunications services - including local and long distance phone service, videoconferencing and wide area networks - in March 2000. Such services are currently provided by many vendors under a stack of separate contracts.

Washington Technology staff writer Steve LeSueur details the state's five-year effort in a front page story with all the skinny on the timeline and the teams lining up to bid on this outsourcing opportunity, which state officials predict will be worth $80 million annually.

A report just released by the market research firm, Input, McLean, Va., forecasts that the federal market for IT outsourcing services will swell from $2.3 billion in fiscal 1998 to $3.2 billion in fiscal 2003.

You could argue that a $1 billion dollar effort now being planned by the Air Force to update the information technology systems that support space command and control functions is an outsourcing deal of sorts - though the service does not see it this way.

The long-term effort, known as the Integrated Space Command and Control contract, could span 15 years and be worth at least $100 million annually, according to a cover story by staff writer Nick Wakeman.

Systems integrators are forming formidable teams to bid on this contract, which is complex but carries a lot of cachet. Indeed, the scope of this effort and the prestige associated with it make it a must-bid for many companies.

For executives looking for hints about how to position their companies in the federal enterprise space, check out senior writer John Makulowich's one-on-one interview with Microsoft Corp.'s Deborah Willingham on page 10 in the Business section.

In an exclusive interview, the vice president for Microsoft's enterprise customer unit tells Makulowich that the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant "will begin to partner more and more with systems integrators." She also expounds on trends she sees in the federal market and reinforces the company's stance about competing with the channel.

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