Epipeline Aims to Give Contractors a Competitive Edge

Epipeline Aims to Give Contractors a Competitive Edge

Scott Fletcher

By Jennifer Freer, Staff Writer

Information technology companies looking to get an edge on their competition might want to check out epipeline Inc.'s new online service.

Set to launch this week, the service tracks government procurement opportunities, follows industry news and helps contractors find partners.

The company also is developing a more advanced version of a service called TeamNet, that will allow companies teaming together on government contracts to share information and coordinate while working on projects.

"It's managing the sales process from start to finish," said Scott Fletcher, president and chief operating officer of Atlanta-based epipeline.

The company is aiming its services at the more than 200,000 prime and subcontractors that provide products and services to the federal government in areas such as information technology and operations and maintenance.

Among its 130 customers are top federal IT contractors Computer Sciences Corp., DynCorp, Electronic Data Systems Corp., Litton Industries Inc., Science Applications International Corp. and TRW Inc. Epipeline usually has more than one user among these companies. Its goal is to have 1,000 users by the end of the year, and 50,000 users in 2003.

The privately held company is in its second round of funding and has plans to go public next year. Founded in December 1999, epipeline has more than 40 employees. The company hopes to have revenue of more than $25 million in the next year, Fletcher said.

Eventually, the company plans to provide the business development services for contractors pursuing the state and local government market.

Epipeline developed its service after studying how federal contractors do their research, obtain qualified leads on contracts, track news and build databases to follow government opportunities, Fletcher said

To develop the service, epipeline worked with companies such as BBN Technologies, Camber Corp., DynCorp, Electronic Data Systems Corp., Ernst & Young LLP, Fluor Corp., Frederic R. Harris Inc./AECOM, Omniplex World Services Corp. and The Trane Co.

In order to expand its core business and be more competitive with established market intelligence and research firms ? including Federal Sources Inc., Vienna, Va., the GartnerGroup Inc.'s Dataquest, and Input Inc., Chantilly, Va. ? epipeline purchased the Federal Capture Group of Chantilly in June. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Federal Capture Group brought epipeline capabilities in areas such as market research and analysis to help government contractors identify business opportunities, develop competitive strategies and win contracts.

"You need to be a step up on your competition in the government market, and one of the ways you can do that is through business intelligence, which is what epipeline is doing," said Dave Thomas, proposal manager for Omniplex World Services Corp., McLean, Va., a security and operations and maintenance company in the commercial and government markets.

"I like the epipeline approach, because you're able to share the information between users in the company and users outside the company," said Bob Bailey, business development manager for Omniplex.

Epipeline also sends e-mail and news that apply to the contracts in which the company is interested. This sharing of information helps a company decide if it wants to bid on a contract, he said.

The TeamNet service allows companies interested in partnering to seek each other out as they prepare to bid on contracts. And when the upgrade to TeamNet is complete, team members will be able to coordinate their work and share information on the contracts they win.

"The value and cost to subscribe to TeamNet is cheaper than what companies are spending now to do this," said Alex Balentine, epipline's director of corporate strategy.

While epipe-line officials contend that their service brings together more information in an easier format for it users, its competitors are not ready to concede the field.

Input's services are more comprehensive and offer more depth of information, said Kevin Plexico, the company's chief technology officer. Input's Web presence also is more robust and personalized, he said, and the company offers better content about contract opportunities and better strategic market research and agency profiles.

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