Pennant Alliance Meets High Standards in San Diego

Computer Sciences Corp. has overcome earlier problems in its contract with San Diego County and is now meeting all critical services levels in the computer and telecommunications infrastructure outsourcing project.

The El Segundo, Calif., company had earlier suffered a $2 million penalty for not reaching all of the service levels it agreed to when it won the seven-year, $644 million contract in December 1999.

All 14 critical contractual service levels were met or exceeded for the first time during the first two months of 2001, CSC and county officials said. The service levels are tied to monthly incentive and penalty fees, as outlined in the contract, with data measured and tabulated monthly.

The required service levels are regarded as very stringent. According to Gartner, an industry analyst firm in Stamford, Conn., most of the service levels in the contract were "very high" or "high" compared to current IT industry performance levels.

The assessment compared the critical service levels in the contract to industry service levels in the Gartner SL 100, a compilation of common service levels identified by Gartner Consulting, Measurement and Research.

CSC is leading what it calls the Pennant Alliance, a consortium of companies working to create a virtual government that will provide citizens greater access to county services. Alliance members are Science Applications International Corp. of San Diego; Pacific Bell Telephone Co., a subsidiary of SBC Communications Inc. of San Antonio; and Avaya Inc. of Basking Ridge, N.J.

"In the past, when a computer crashed, it might have taken days or even weeks before the problem was fixed," said Walt Ekard, the county's chief administrative officer. "Through our contract with the Pennant Alliance, we've demanded ? and received ? timely and reliable service on a consistent basis."

For example, the alliance must correct 95 percent of reported application software problems within two hours and 99 percent of these problems within six hours, a requirement considered very high by Gartner. In the help-desk area, two service level requirements were considered very high by Gartner. These service levels require responding to call waiting within 60 seconds 95 percent of the time and within 180 seconds 99 percent of the time.

"Because of the sustained dedication of the Pennant Alliance team, we are now achieving what are believed to be the toughest standards in the IT outsourcing industry," said Richard Jennings, CSC vice president and lead executive of the Pennant Alliance. "As we begin the second year of the contract by achieving all critical service levels, we are confident we can sustain this level of performance going forward."

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