From the Editor's Desk

Electronic Commerce Spells Big Business for Many

Trish Williams

By Trish Williams

If you had any doubt that electronic commerce spells big business among information technology companies, especially among those chasing opportunities in the federal sector, look no further than industry giant IBM Corp.

Big Blue, whose stock price is piercing records lately, is methodically targeting e-commerce, procurement and citizens services projects across the globe in domestic and foreign government markets as it positions itself to be the undisputed leader in electronic business.

Not to be outdone, the competition — both large and small companies alike — is quickly devising e-business strategies across a host of different markets. Companies making a big push in this arena include systems integrators such as Electronic Data Systems Corp., American Management Systems Inc., and Unisys Corp., as well as feisty new entrants in the federal market like MicroStrategy Inc.

With glitzy numbers — such as the one trotted out recently by market research firm Federal Sources Inc., of McLean, Va., which forecast the federal government will spend $1.3 billion on electronic government projects in 2000 — that field only will grow bigger.

Staff Writer Nick Wakeman talks to Ken Thornton, IBM's Global Government guru, in a front-page piece that lays out the integrator's e-business strategy and gets analysts' take on this white-hot market.

Outsourcing — another sizzling market for integrators — and problems vendors are experiencing as they try to finalize deals to manage key IT functions for states such as Connecticut and Pennsylvania, are the subject of another enterprising story in this issue.

Staff Writer Steve LeSueur's front-page story chronicles the efforts of these states to obtain a final go-ahead from the federal government to start their projects. The unexpected delays could prove costly to the prime vendors waiting in the wings to begin work on the large-scale IT projects.

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