High-Stakes Projects Present Golden Opportunities

High-Stakes Projects Present Golden Opportunities<@VM>Techtoon

Trish Williams

The Federal Aviation Administration's planned Telecommunications Infrastructure contract, a 10-year effort worth an estimated $1.9 billion, is attracting some of the brightest in the systems integration and telecommunications market.

Major players such as AT&T Corp., Harris Corp., Lockheed Martin Corp. and MCI WorldCom have all made clear that they want the job of prime contractor for the project. Qwest Communications, a relative newcomer to the government market, also is mulling a prime bid or a major role as a subcontractor.

The stakes are high for this project, which will integrate several communications networks into a single network using land lines, satellites, radio, and wireless to carry voice and data communications among pilots and air traffic controllers.

The winner will get major crowing rights for building the network that absolutely, positively cannot go down.

In another must-read on the front page, the new president of Electronic Data Systems Corp.'s federal unit calls the Plano, Texas-based systems integrator the best kept secret in the federal market in a an interview with Washington Technology.

William Dvoranchik, who replaced George Newstrom last month as head of the company's federal unit in a company restructuring to improve its focus on customers, said he will pull commercial best practices from the rest of EDS and customize them for the government.

This is the fuel Dvoranchik will use to "re-ignite the growth engines" of the integrator's federal business. In a Q&A with Washington Technology Staff Writer Nick Wakeman, the new federal chief talks about his 25 percent growth target, acquisitions and areas where EDS can carve out future business. They include a Navy-Marine Corps Intranet project, a U.S. Customs Service modernization effort and involvement in Department of Defense steps to make wider use of smart cards.

Another integrator on the move is Computer Sciences Corp. and the vendors on the Pennant Alliance consortium that won a planned seven-year, $644 million technology outsourcing deal with San Diego County.

Calling itself the home team, the Pennant Alliance was considered to have the strongest local presence of the three competing teams. Although the Pennant Alliance also submitted the lowest bid and scored higher than its competitors in the technical evaluation, both the vendors and county officials are touting the community and business ties of the winning team, Staff Writer Steve LeSueur points out in his front-page piece on the procurement.

Perhaps most remarkable about the project thus far has been the ability of county officials to stick reasonably close to their planned schedule. Only eight months after issuing a request for proposals, they have selected a vendor and negotiated a contract.

They await only approval from the San Diego County Board of Supervisors and federal and state regulators. While getting the regulators' approval can be tricky, county officials hope it comes in time to begin work in December on the largest information technology outsourcing project by a local
government.

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