DiPentima: Integrators must roll with changes

Less need for integration, more demand for outsourcing

Increasing standardization, consolidation and outsourcing in government IT have reduced the demand for traditional government systems integration while providing new areas of even greater opportunity, Renato DiPentima, chief executive of SRA International Inc., said today at the Washington Technology Top 100 conference for federal contractors.

There is a long-term trend of more open standards and more sophisticated plug-and-play technologies that have simplified the role of systems integrators in federal contracting, DiPentima said at the conference, held in McLean, Va.

Washington Technology is owned by PostNewsweek Tech Media, a subsidiary of The Washington Post.

At a time when a 12-year-old can set up a sophisticated wireless network in a home, government customers also are taking advantage of advanced IT systems that are available off the shelf, DiPentima said.

"Customers are more savvy. Many of them no longer need systems integrators," DiPentima said. "Traditional systems integration has been come less labor intensive and, frankly, easier."

However, the role of government IT "infrastructure operator" is a growing area of opportunities for systems integrators as more government agencies outsource their IT operations, DiPentima said.

According to trends, DiPentima said, systems integrators will play a strong role in government IT strategy development and management consulting, a leaner role in typical systems integration, and a "huge operations role" in government IT.

In addition, as more government IT is purchased through large governmentwide acquisition contracts and indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contracts, the government, in some cases, is taking on the role of systems integrator itself ? even though that may occur without planning or formal preparation, DiPentima said.

He also noted a growing trend that finds government customers selecting particular software before choosing an integrator, rather than the usual model of choosing the integrator first.

DiPentima urged vendors to strengthen their relationships with integrators, and vice versa, to weather the trends.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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