Agencies Push E-gov

Agencies Push E-gov<@VM>Techtoons

Steve LeSueur

by Steve LeSueur, Editor

Whether you call it e-commerce,
e-business or e-government, one thing is certain: Government agencies are stepping up efforts to put their operations and services on the Web. Agencies are moving beyond the simple task of posting information on their Web sites, and are attempting to use the Internet to streamline business processes and improve government services.

This push into e-government is creating numerous opportunities for systems integrators and their industry partners, especially in niche areas such as
e-procurement. The General Services Administration recently held a conference on using the Internet to conduct reverse auctions in which government suppliers bid prices down rather than up as they compete for government contracts.

Nick Wakeman describes the efforts of companies such as Affiliated Computer Systems, CISGlobal, Electronic Data Systems Corp., Freemarkets Inc. and KPMG Consulting, who are scrambling to get traction in this potentially lucrative market providing auction services to government agencies.

But as another front-page story illustrates, the rise in e-government spending does not ensure that every new company will survive. With Wall Street now casting a skeptical eye toward dot-com companies, many e-government start-ups are looking for cash from established information technology companies, either through investment or direct buy-out.

"If e-gov companies don't already have cash in hand and, more importantly, a path to profitability to show investors, then it is going to be extremely hard for them to survive in this environment," said Tom Meagher, vice president of equity research at BB&T Capital Markets.

These stories, along with our special report, "E-Commerce in Government," make abundantly clear that the e-government market will remain dynamic for years to come.

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