Pomata Leads webMethods Federal Unit

Six months after the terrorist attacks on the U.S., application integration software maker webMethods will open office to sell software that enables government agencies integrate databases.

NEW YORK – Shortly after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, U.S. government officials in Washington began talking about the desperate need to integrate systems and agencies.

Six months to the day after the attacks, enterprise application integration software maker webMethods Inc. will have an office in place that it says will address the governments integration predicament.

The webMethods Federal Business Unit will launch on March 11, headed by the former CEO of Litton PRC, Len Pomata.

Litton, until Northrop Grumman Corp. purchased it, was a provider of scientific, engineering and IT based solutions for public sector clients.

Back on familiar turf with webMethods FB Unit after a brief stint at Oracle Corp. during 2001, Pomata will initially lead a team of seven to 10 sales reps and systems engineers.

While his goals include doubling the federal unit staff within a year, Pomatas first priority when he takes over next week is to look at the pipeline and assess current and potential customers.

"[The federal government] is a big market. We cant ignore it, at $7 billion to $8 billion annually," said Pomata at webMethods Analysts Day event here yesterday. "9/11 brought up a number of issues. The lights went on… We want to help and its patriotic – but its also business."

Following the footsteps of Tom Ridge, director of the federal Office of Homeland Security, who is seeking funds for critical federal IT projects, Pomata will focus on sales calls with defense and intelligence agencies – the Federal Bureau of Investigations, Drug Enforcement Agency and Immigration and Naturalization Service – where connecting terrorist databases has become a priority.

Pomata will also look more broadly at agencies like the Department of Commerce and the Department of Justice for potential contracts, as well as to state governments seeking some form of information sharing with local law enforcement and first response teams.

WebMethods, of Fairfax, Va., already has more than 50 U.S. government customers, including the Department of Defense, where a procurement project is underway, and the National Security Agency, for which webMethods disseminates digital certificates.

On the partner front, Pomata will pursue customer contacts through key systems integrators the likes of KPMG, Accenture Ltd, Electronic Data Systems Corp., Northrop Grumman and, to a lesser degree, Science Applications International Corp.

On the software front, hell look to form relationships – or deepen existing ones – with SAP AG, PeopleSoft Inc. and Siebel Systems Inc.

However, the road is not necessarily paved with federal deals for Pomata and webMethods. The biggest challenge, he said, will be ensuring the buyer understands the value proposition webMethods brings.

"My priority is to establish webMethods as the integration partner for the federal government," said Pomata. "But our messaging [may have to be] a little different than the commercial message. The government is not in the profit making business."