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By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

Telcos aim to take business from integrators

It hasn’t been that many years since industry observers, myself included, proclaimed that the days were numbered for telecommunications companies that wanted to be prime contractors in the government market.

But to hear Susan Zeleniak, group president of Verizon Federal, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the opposite might be happening. Telcos are horning in on the traditional space occupied by systems integrators.

“We’re moving into the SI world,” she said during a media roundtable this week.

Zeleniak’s latest example is Verizon’s capture of a $32 million contract from the Army Reserve to provide managed services for its networks.

Verizon won the contract against system integrators and was the only non-systems integrator in the bidding, she said.

Managed services -- whether network operations, security, or cloud computing -- will be the sweet spot telcos can exploit against systems integrators, Zeleniak said.

“The network really is becoming the computer,” she said. “And agencies are seeing the advantage of having their carrier provide those services.”

The idea of telcos moving into this space isn’t exactly new, but I think we might reaching a critical mass.

And I think the telcos, particularly AT&T and Verizon, might make some surprising bids.  After all, both are on the Alliant contract where they’ll compete against all manner of systems integrators.

Zeleniak said that Verizon also plans to bid on Eagle II as a prime. The company has also won an intelligence contract against systems integrators, but she said she couldn't disclose details.

If you look through the plethora of services that any of the telcos can craft under Networx, it’s not a stretch to see them taking business from traditional systems integrators.

For AT&T and Verizon, a Networx-Alliant combination could be powerful play in the market.

I’m not going to predict the demise of the integrators, but the introduction of a strong competitor with perhaps a new approach to solving customers' problems should be a good thing for the competitive landscape.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Dec 16, 2009 at 7:23 PM


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