Editor's Note

Connecticut's White Flag Is a Red Flag to Other States<@VM>TechToon

Trish Williams

Connecticut's aborted effort to outsource all of its information technology services is bound to send up a caution flag to government and industry officials mulling similar efforts, but whether it is the death knell for large-scale outsourcing by the states remains to be seen.

Connecticut Gov. John Rowland announced June 29 that his state had terminated negotiations with Electronic Data Systems Corp., Plano, Texas, for a seven-year contract to run the state's information technology services.

EDS and its subcontractor team had been looking to manage the state's IT infrastructure, such as desktop computers, mainframes and telecommunications, and in the process, shave a chunk of change off the $200 million the state currently spends each year on IT services.

The state's move seemed to come as a surprise to EDS, which had bested its rivals with far-reaching proposals to improve government services and hoped to parlay the contract into other lucrative projects throughout the country. The integrator issued a statement that it respected the decision of the state, which is leaving open the door for EDS and other vendors to make some money from future improvements "in selected areas of its IT operations."

A cover story by Staff Writer Steve LeSueur fast forwards to a similarly ambitious outsourcing effort pending in California being chased by the same contractors that sought the prime role in Connecticut. Executives at the other two integrators ? Computer Sciences Corp. and IBM ? offer their take on the impact of Rowland' decision and the outlook for outsourcing.

Another must read in this week's newspaper is a front-page story about user friendly Web sites based on the findings of experts who attended a recent conference on human factors and the Web.

John Makulowich, senior writer for technology, offers highlights from a recent conference at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which attracted the most attendees and the highest level of peer reviewed papers in its five-year history.

Some of the more interesting findings of selected human factor engineers, designers and developers, will surprise you.

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