Business & Finance
Commentary
2/7/2003
02:02 PM
John Soat
John Soat
Commentary
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IT Confidential: Playing Post Office And Looking For Love

Outsourcing vendors are well aware of government's interest

Who says technology and services vendors don't know what side their bread is buttered on these days? In a four-(option for six-) year deal analysts say could be worth more than $700 million, Convergys will take over a U.S. Postal Service contact center in Denver, handling inquiries from customers via telephone and Web about specialty stamps, international mail, advertising, and other information. It will also support operations from its facility in Orem, Utah. Convergys execs hope a government mandate to cut costs via outsourcing will throw even more business their way. "The market is huge, it's growing, and it will grow even faster because the government has made it a goal," senior VP Jim Boyce says.

Is Legato in play? According to sources familiar with the deal, the network backup and recovery vendor last week hired Morgan Stanley to help it nail down a buyer. Analyst Richard Ptak thinks Veritas, Legato's closest competitor, is the big winner from Legato's call for a suitor, which could come from among BMC, EMC, or IBM's Tivoli division.

Is this a good thing? The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has established a Homeland Security Standards Panel, a "cross-sectoral coordinating body for the development and enhancement of Homeland Security and emergency preparedness standards." The panel will look for workable standards in transportation, biometrics, cyber security, and interoperability of emergency-response equipment. Its most daunting task, undoubtedly, will be to "promote a positive, cooperative partnership between the public and private sectors."

Does it cover cracks in the E-sidewalk? Chubb's new CyberSecurity liability policy protects banks, insurance companies, investment firms, credit unions, and other financial institutions from claims resulting from cyberactivities such as E-commerce. The coverage fills gaps in current liability products, company officials say. The policy covers security failures that might harm customers' or third-party systems.

This week is Valentine's Day (note to self: Buy flowers!) and online personals are heating up. ComScore Media Metrix, an Internet tracking service, says there's a better than one-third chance that the person in the cubicle next to you is looking for love on the Internet -- right now. ComScore says at-work Internet users accounted for 35% of the time spent at personals sites in December, and the average workplace visitor spent 51 minutes there, as opposed to the 37 minutes spent on the sites by home shoppers.

On the Internet, nobody knows you're a ... 55-year-old Teamster masquerading as a college coed. Don't know about you, but I like visual confirmation before I begin pitching woo. You can pitch an industry tip to jsoat@cmp.com or phone 516-562-5326. If you want to talk about government outsourcing, storage consolidation, or ANSI standards, meet me at InformationWeek.com's Listening Post: informationweek.com/forum/johnsoat.

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