KPMG Solutions Center Targets Gov't Clients

KPMG Solutions Center Targets Gov't Clients

Dan Johnson

By Jennifer Freer, Staff Writer

Government agencies can streamline the testing of new technology before it is deployed by using the newest of KPMG Consulting's six Broadband Solutions Centers in McLean, Va., according to company officials.

The solution centers are designed to help government agencies, communication companies and systems integrators develop next-generation services quicker and cheaper.

The new McLean center will allow government agencies to save money and improve services by providing a means for developing technology solutions, proving technical concepts before making a major investment decision and supporting implementation for a government entity, said Dan Johnson, executive vice president for public services of KPMG Consulting.

"All this can be done without an individual agency having to invest in the hardware, software and scarce personnel resources themselves," Johnson said.

For businesses, such centers allow them to see revenue quicker because services hit the marketplace sooner, said Anthony Tarsia, marketing director for KPMG Consulting LLC, New York.

KPMG is spending $80 million to build the six centers this year. It opened the 25,000-square-foot McLean center in the Tysons Corner region in early May. The McLean center will concentrate on serving the government customer, and has a "Federal Center of Excellence" as part of its organization.

Before the solution centers, companies such as KPMG created new services by using in-house resources, engineers and consulting firms, Tarsia said. But they were neither cost-effective nor quick; it could take up to 18 months to create, develop and deploy new services, he said.

"The Tysons Corner Broadband Solutions Center will be the public services showcase," said Johnson. The Internet integration services company broke off from KPMG LLP of New York, a professional services firm, into its own entity in January, and expects revenue to hit $2.3 billion this year, Johnson said.

Revenue from the public services division, based in McLean with 3,200 employees, is expected to account for 30 percent of the total, he added. The company also filed an initial public offering May 2. It expects to raise $1 billion and is currently in its quiet period mandated by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The Federal Center of Excellence can offer government solutions in financial system management, human resources management, payroll systems, customer management, knowledge management and connection to the Internet. It will be used to demonstrate to government clients how their organization works best, Johnson said. The government can build its own technology or contract with KPMG to do it for them.

The first solutions center opened in Denver in March. Another will open this summer in Liberty Corner, N.J., with future openings this year in London and Asia. The sixth, a prototype center in Mountain View, Calif., is being upgraded this year.

KPMG Consulting partnered with network solutions giant Cisco Systems Inc., San Jose, Calif., to build the centers. Cisco invested $1 billion in KPMG Consulting in August 1999 and owns 20 percent of the company.

Most system integrators and consulting firms have some kind of solutions center, but many are just demonstration centers, according to KPMG officials. They tout the Tysons Corner center as providing more in-depth services that include the ability to test new services, such as voice over Internet protocol, Web hosting and video streaming; along with development of digital subscriber line, digital cable and broadband wireless.

The Tysons center already has 10 customers, though Johnson would not disclose the names of KPMG's commercial clients. One government customer, the Navy Air Systems Command, is working on a resource planning system to replace and upgrade back-office systems, he said.

The center is a good idea because it gives the government an off-site capability to see how broadband applications would work, said Tony Constable, president of CAI/SIS Co., a business development support services company in Gaithersburg, Md.

At the same time, Constable said it is unclear whether the government will benefit completely from the available services. He was skeptical whether agencies will heavily use the center, because some services, such as high-speed digital subscriber lines, are not available on the contracts that the agencies send out.

KPMG also hopes to use the center to develop more opportunities at the state level, Johnson said. For example, the company contracted in Texas earlier this year to work on the Texas E-Government Framework, a project that entails KPMG handling all renewals of professional licenses, such as real estate, accounting and medical along with oil and gas drilling applications, drivers' license applications and payment of traffic violations.

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