E-Government Successes Lift Deloitte's Profile, Ambitions

Officials at Deloitte Consulting aren't shy about their ambition to become the leading e-government consultant to the state and local government markets.

In fact, Bob Campbell, global senior partner of public sector for this Austin, Texas-based firm, occasionally apologizes for sounding a bit boastful about his company's prospects. But then again, as the old cliché goes, it ain't braggin' if it's true ? or least on the way to becoming true.

In the past year, Deloitte Consulting has put itself in the national spotlight by capturing two high-profile
e-government projects.

One is helping to build the MyCalifornia integrated portal, and the other is providing support to the new and innovative e-Michigan Project Management Office, which is tasked with developing a comprehensive statewide e-government strategy.

For good measure, Deloitte also began recently working with the Florida Department of Revenue to implement an SAP accounting and financial reporting system, a project that is thought to be the first time a government entity has adopted an enterprise resource planning package for enterprisewide revenue management.

"All I can say is they're great," said Arun Baheti, director of e-government for the state of California, who hired the company to implement the MyCalifornia portal. "Look, Deloitte Consulting helped us pull this off in just 100 days, and we did it while integrating four products (BroadVision, BroadBase, Interwoven and Verity) that, to my knowledge, have never been integrated before. That's big."

Not surprisingly, the three wins have earned Deloitte Consulting a lot of attention from state and local IT executives, and the timing couldn't be better: Industry analysts expect at least a three-year run on major ERP and e-government projects in the state arena.

"It's an extraordinary time to be in this market," said Campbell. "It's hard to predict the future, of course, but I certainly believe we are well-positioned to continue to do quite well."

Already, the firm is seeing the effects on the bottom line. Deloitte Consulting's U.S. public-sector group took in $170 million in revenue last year, and Campbell expects it will easily top $200 million this year.

The firm also has a fledgling federal government practice, but the bulk of its government revenue is the result of state and local work, which also includes the Empower Kentucky initiative and the Wisconsin Cares welfare reform project, as well as ongoing e-government and technology transformation projects in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Arkansas, Ohio and the District of Columbia.

The key to the company's public-sector success can be found in its private-sector roots, according to Campbell.

A segment of Deloitte, Touche and Tohmatsu, the world's largest professional services firm, Deloitte Consulting already has a strong reputation as one of the leading e-business consultants, and has taken skills and best practices learned in that realm and applied them to the government space.

These include a strong ability to integrate technology with business process transformation, people-change skills and a teaming-oriented approach, as well as expertise in supply chain management, customer relationship management, creative design and Web-facing applications, all of which are necessities in major
e-government implementations.

"I think our strength is that we are able to support our clients through the full life cycle of e-government, whether that's strategic planning all the way down through technology implementation," said Greg Pellegrino, global leader for e-government at Deloitte
Consulting.

That range of capabilities is especially evident in the company's recent wins. In its support for the e-Michigan Program Management Office, for example, Deloitte employees are not only providing technology assessment, acquisitions management and eventual implementation support, but also performing the communications planning and communications strategy delivery and supporting the process for budgeting for legal and process review.

In California, the company, thanks to an alliance with a design firm in New York, helped provide the branding, or the look and feel, of the MyCalifornia portal, an exercise that also included conducting polling and focus groups.

In fact, Deloitte Consulting's recognition of the power of partnering is frequently cited by both customers and analysts as a major strength. Deloitte Consulting has alliances with several major traditionally commercial players with "solutions that are right for the times," as states move to e-government, according to Lorrie Scardino, research director for the external service provider group for Gartner, an IT research firm in Stamford, Conn.

Scardino said that Deloitte Consulting's partner strategy works well in the state and local market because governments are so risk-averse, they might not take a chance on a strong but unproven software provider. "With this team-oriented approach, Deloitte Consulting enables them to feel comfortable and still get best-of-breed products," she said.

Partner alliances include a joint venture (officially called Roundarch) with BroadVision Inc., a Redwood City, Calif., supplier of packaged applications for personalized enterprise portals and, up until now, a leading e-business vendor; a global alliance with the government-focused National Information Consortium Inc., Overland Park, Kan.; and an alliance and investment position in Epylon Corp., a San Francisco provider of e-procurement software and services.

Deloitte Consulting is also partnering with Siebel Systems Inc., San Mateo, Calif., to help states as they move toward a customer-care focus. Its relationship with Epylon has enabled the firm to win several education procurement initiatives.

Campbell said Deloitte Consulting's recent wins in California, Michigan and Florida bode well for success in other states contemplating similar projects.

Massachusetts, for example, is set to release an
e-government office based on the e-Michigan model, and a large number of states that are set to release requests for proposals for an integrated portal are following the lead of MyCalifornia.

Several government officials interested in using ERP as a foundation for e-government and integrated portals are closely watching to see how the enterprisewide ERP implementation by the Florida Department of Revenue fares.

"If we can take the best practice and transfer that solution in, whether it's an approach or a set of tools from an engagement or technology solution that's already been created, we're going to be able to help our clients get to market much more quickly with
e-government results," Pellegrino said.

About the Author

Heather Hayes is a freelance writer based in Clifford, Va.

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