Accenture, AT&T team to sell managed messaging

Accenture Ltd. and AT&T Corp. have formed an alliance to market and deliver managed messaging solutions to government agencies, the companies said in a statement.

"Our combined offering is specifically designed to allow customers' internal IT departments to focus on more strategic initiatives," said Eric Shepcaro, AT&T's vice president of emerging services.

Officials said the solution, called Enterprise Messaging Service, is designed to reduce the cost of ownership of an agency's e-mail and other messaging platforms. It includes hosted messaging services based on the Microsoft Exchange Server platform and provides a foundation for future capabilities, such as secure instant messaging and unified communications.

By using a managed messaging service, government customers can implement e-mail and other applications while Accenture and AT&T administer them. The solution will include management, monitoring, infrastructure and network services.

Company officials said agencies stand to benefit further by automatically receiving the latest versions of software and security upgrades.

"Being able to access a full suite of communications solutions combined into a single offer, with a single point of contact, is good news for most busy IT departments," said Andy Efstathiou, program manager for technology management strategies at Yankee Group, a Boston research firm.

Bedminster, N.J.-based AT&T and Hamilton, Bermuda-based Accenture ranked No. 20 and No. 24, respectively, on Washington Technology's 2004 Top 100 list, which measures federal contracting revenue.

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