Vendors Swoop In For Orphaned Inacom Customers



Competitors of defunct, $5 billion IT services firm Inacom have begun offering interim support packages to the company's former customers, in an effort to recruit them as permanent clients.

Companies such as Compucom, Entex, Sarcom, and Unisys are forgoing the long-term contracts they usually require in order to provide transitional help to Inacom accounts, which include high-profile customers such as America Online, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, and Gillette. "We hope to develop a long-term relationship with some of these companies, but for now what they need is emergency aid," says Everett Dyer, Unisys' VP and GM for Global Network Services.

Inacom-which sold its build-to-order computer-assembly business to Compaq in January-last month warned that it was facing a cash crunch and that it was seeking a merger partner. But with no savior on the horizon, and with $560 million in debt, the company went belly-up June 16. Inacom is in Chapter 11 reorganization, but reorganization seems unlikely. All Inacom's 5,000 workers have been let go, its Atlanta headquarters has been shuttered, and its Web site is down.

IT managers left holding the bag will most likely welcome the short-term services that are being offered. "The last thing they want to do is sign a long- term contract under this kind of duress," says Meta Group analyst Michelle Hudnall. Inacom failed because it was late in providing strategic outsourcing services, Hudnall says. "They were focused too much on tactical things, like breaks and fixes, whereas most IT organizations want a lot more from a service provider," he says. Inacom execs could not be reached for comment.

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