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When it comes to Homeland Security, Computer Sciences Corp. believes there’s safety in numbers.

Indeed, the El Segundo, Calif.-based consulting firm has formed a team—spanning itself and 13 other companies—in a bid to win a $10 billion Homeland Security Contract, known as the United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology (US-VISIT) program. The program calls for solutions providers to design border management systems that gather and analyze visitor data, identify high-risk individuals, and improve overall Homeland Security. The contract could be awarded as early as this spring.

The CSC-led alliance includes Anteon International Corp., ARINC, Bechtel Corp., the Center for Naval Analysis, Creative Information Technology Inc., Cubic Defense Applications, EDS Corp., General Dynamics, Infoglide Software Corp., Motorola Inc., Northrop Grumman Corp., Orkand Corp. and TransCore.

CSC says its team, dubbed the U.S. Freedom Alliance, offers extensive knowledge of U.S. border management systems, data and processes, combined with global experience in building and designing visitor management systems. The team currently provides border management and control solutions for the majority of U.S. border crossings.

Still, CSC faces stiff competition from Accenture Ltd. and Lockheed Martin Corp. for the US-VISIT contract. Accenture’s effort, dubbed the Smart Border Alliance, includes such companies as AT&T Corp., Dell Inc., Deloitte Consulting, Raytheon Co. and Titan Corp.
By contrast, Lockheed Martin’s partner roster includes Booz Allen Hamilton, Harris Corp., IBM Corp., Management Systems Designers, SAIC, SI International and Unisys Corp.

May the best solution protect us all.

Next page: Deal 2 – Pentagon Rocks the Vote

Deal Two – Pentagon Rocks the Vote

Late last week, the Defense Department confirmed that it has scrapped plans to let Americans abroad cast their presidential votes over the Internet. Accenture was leading the online voting systems’ installation, but security concerns undermined the project.

Accenture in June 2003 unveiled its eDemocracy Services unit, which focused on building secure IT systems for elections throughout the world. The unit has assisted elections in Florida, the United Kingdom, France and other international locations.

However, third-party security experts have openly criticized Accenture’s Internet-voting solutions. The Pentagon heeded those warnings and scrapped plans for an online system that would have let Americans abroad vote electronically in the upcoming presidential election.

A permanent setback for digital elections? Hardly. Accenture continues to refine and enhance its online voting systems, which continue to gain popularity abroad.

Next page: Deal 3 – A Friend in Big Blue

Deal 3 – A Friend in Big Blue

Convergys Corp. is celebrating its strong relationship with IBM Corp. The billing services provider is a major subcontractor on IBM’s new five-year outsourcing agreement with Sprint.

Under terms of the deal, Convergys will assume responsibility for about 1,100 Sprint employees in a Nashville, Tenn., contract center.

Convergys has a strong reputation in the telecom market. The company continues to manage Sprint’s business and consumer billing systems (under a contract signed in December) and earlier this week won a billing contract with Hellenic Organization of Telecommunications (OTE), Greece’s national telecom carrier. OTE will use Convergys’ software to manage 80,000 fixed Internet lines and bundled services during the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.

Next page: Deal 4 – Making the ASP Model Work

Deal 4 – Making the ASP Model Work

A few weeks back, I ate crow. During the dot-com boom, I predicted a New York application service provider (ASP) named Mi8 wouldn’t survive for long. The ASP hosts e-mail systems for customers. Sure, everyone needs e-mail but isn’t that a commodity business? Evidently not.

I provided an upbeat progress report on Mi8 a few weeks ago. Now comes word that the company tripled its client base between August and December 2003, according to VP of Marketing and Products Patrick Fetterman.

Happy customers include my brother in law, a top executive who works with one of New York’s top real estate moguls. My brother in law outsourced e-mail to Mi8 about three years ago. He’s happy, and I’m still eating crow.

About Contract Watch: Each week, this column examines customer engagements that are stirring the channel, and the solutions providers behind them. Our goal is to strip away the hype and tell you what’s really selling—and what isn’t—in today’s IT marketplace. Send your tips to my e-mail address below.

Joseph C. Panettieri has covered Silicon Valley since 1992. He is editorial director of the New York Institute of Technology . Write to him at