AT&T, IBM among winners of $50B federal deal

U.S. government picks 29 companies, but Verizon Business is shut out of Alliant 10-year IT services program

The U.S. government has selected 29 companies, including AT&T, IBM, and EDS, for its massive 10-year, $50 billion IT services deal known as Alliant. One network service provider that didn't make the cut was Verizon Business, which bid on Alliant but wasn't awarded a contract.

The General Services Administration (GSA) announced the 29 Alliant winners at a press conference on Tuesday.

Altogether, 66 companies bid on the Alliant project, which will be the primary contract for purchasing IT services across the federal market for the next decade.

Alliant is available to all civilian and defense agencies for purchasing IT systems design, software engineering and other services. Among the types of projects that Alliant will support include e-government, logistics and financial systems.

"Alliant is a key component of [our] portfolio of technology solutions," said Jim Williams, GSA's federal acquisition service commissioner, in a statement. "With its expansive scope, access to the best in class in the private sector and ability to provide customized solutions tailored to agencies' unique IT needs, we can again prove that GSA is at the forefront of serving the acquisition needs of the federal government."

Alliant winners include systems integrators, such as Computer Sciences Corp. and Systems Applications International, as well as military contractors, such as General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, and Raytheon. Consulting firms Accenture and BearingPoint also made it to the Alliant winners' circle.

Alliant is designed to foster competition among the winners throughout the life of the program. Federal agencies will submit task orders to the Alliant program, and Alliant vendors can bid on the individual jobs. How much money each Alliant vendor will earn from the program depends on how successful it is at winning these task orders.

With Alliant, the GSA is opening up its IT-services business to a broader range of companies. That's why the agency awarded contracts to 29 businesses.

"For many of these awardees, Alliant has been a 'must-win'," says Ray Bjorklund, senior vice president and chief knowledge officer at FedSources.

The contract has actually started to blur with other big federal deals.

"In the years that the [Alliant] contract requirements have been in development, technology has marched further toward voice-data-video-IP convergence," Bjorklund says. "In some measure, the march of technology makes it more difficult to distinguish between Alliant (as important a program as it is) and other contract vehicles like Networx Enterprise."

Alliant will replace two existing contracts called ANSWER and Millenia. ANSWER, for Applications `N Support for Widely diverse End User Requirements, is an IT services program with 10 contractors, all of whom won Alliant contracts. Millennia is an IT services program with nine contractors, which are all included in Alliant. ANSWER expires in 2008, and Millennia expires in 2009.

Alliant has been in the works for more than two years. The first draft request for proposals was issued in March 2005. The final RFP was released last September, and bids were due in November.

The GSA also plans to award a companion program for small businesses, which can qualify for set-aside contracts. Alliant Small Business is due for award in December.

Verizon Business spokesperson Stefanie Scott said: "Although we were a new entrant, we were hopeful based on our expanded capabilities and experience in IT and professional services. We remain committed to our IT and professional services business and helping federal government agencies evolve their IT infrastructure and systems as IT convergence continues. We look forward to serving our federal customers as prime contractors for the Networx Universal and Enterprise programs, as well as our other government contracts."

Correction: This story as originally posted misreported that Systems Research and Applications Corp. and Northrop Grumman didn't win Alliant contracts. They did, but used different acronyms or different divisions to win. The article has been amended.

This story, "AT&T, IBM among winners of $50B federal deal" was originally published by Network World.