US federal govt to award $50 billion IT services deal

AT&T, Verizon Business, IBM among bidders

The U.S. federal government will award on Tuesday a 10-year, US$50 billion IT services contract called Alliant that is available to all civilian and defense agencies for purchasing IT systems design, software engineering and other services.

The General Services Administration says it will make as many as 30 Alliant contract awards.

Bidders include network service providers such as AT&T and Verizon Business as well as systems integrators such as Electronic Data Systems, IBM and Unisys.

"Alliant provides a vehicle for agencies to purchase what I would consider IT solutions," says John Klebonis, vice president of professional services at AT&T. "There is a federal enterprise architecture, and within that are infrastructure services, application services and IT management services. Alliant will provide those services."

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's Web site says it will announce the Alliant winners on July 31.

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 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.

"Typical projects for Alliant will be things like process automation, business management services, software engineering and development and efforts associated with e-government," Klebonis says. "There also will be hosting services, logistics systems and financial systems."

AT&T considers Alliant a strategic bid and hopes to be among the winners.

"We're known as a world-class networking company but we've also been heavily involved in end-to-end IT solutions and software engineering services for well over 30 years," Klebonis says. "This is a growing business for AT&T...in how people access software and information over the network."

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.

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