Corporate buyers may be skittish, but the federal government is still buying technology—lots of it.
Agencies spend about $40 billion annually on IT, and online initiatives should push that figure higher. President Bushs budget proposes a $100 million fund to support interagency e-government efforts.
Naturally, e-business firms want to get cozy with George W. and Uncle Sam.
"Over the past couple of months, things have picked up tremendously," says Karen VenDouern, manager of public sector business development at USinternetworking. The application service provider has been pursuing public sector accounts for about two years, she adds.
Companies hoping to crack the government space typically team with well-entrenched federal systems integrators, which control much of the contracting action in Washington. Thats the tack USinternetworking has taken. The company is subcontracting to integrator SRA International on the General Services Administrations Millennia Lite contract, an omnibus IT support contract for federal agencies.
Similarly, Ariba is pursuing the federal space with American Management Systems. And Art Technology Group (ATG) recently teamed with GTSI Corp., a veteran federal reseller.
Donna Burnette, national accounts manager at ATG, says the companys federal push doesnt mean it has saturated the commercial market. Rather, Burnette sees an opportunity for ATG to help agencies Web-enable client/server applications.
Another hot item: Replacing the "W" on keyboards.