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Earning a Seat for Government Migrations

Speedware announced it has earned Canada's Task Based Informatics Professional Services (TBIPS) Supply Arrangement and Standing Offer, an award that will enable it to provide specialized IT professional services to the Federal Government of Canada.
Speedware's legacy modernization and migration team learned of HP 3000s still at work in the government, and the vendor has spent two years earning the status of approved supplier of services to organizations which need to move off legacy platforms. Marketing director Chris Koppe said that a recent Gartner research note shows the three leading migration sectors are government entitites, insurance suppliers and financial services firms.

"We hear rumblings of a few organizations that still have HP 3000s," Koppe said. He added that Speedware has been engaging in modernization projects around IBM AS/400 installations, also working in Canadian, provincial and municipal government entities.

TBIPS was established by Public Works and Government Services Canada to facilitate delivery of task-based Information Management and Information Technology professional services for the government. TBIPS is the newest form of procurement vehicle being used by the government and is the preferred contract procurement vehicle for many Federal departments and agencies.
Koppe said a recent Canadian auditor-general’s report states that the government’s aging computer systems pose a significant risk to Federal operations. Risks revolve around "the skill set retirement issue," among others, according to Koppe. "In some cases, these systems were written in the '70s and '80s. The people who are maintaining them today are coming up on retirement. They don't teach HP COBOL in schools anymore, or SPL or PowerHouse. They're very difficult skill sets to replace."

Speedware has already provided IT solutions to government departments and agencies in Canada and the US, including the Quebec Ministry of Health and Social Services, the Department of National Defense, the Washington State Board for Community Technical Colleges (SBCTC) and Chelan County Public Utilities. The TBIPS award comes shortly after Speedware was selected as an Apparently Successful Vendor (ASV) by the Department of Information Services of the State of Washington.

Speedware's been leading the SBCTC migration project which started in 2009 with planning and is expected to complete by May of 2011. Koppe said the ASV selection wasn't required to win the business to move 34 technical college HP 3000s into a consolidated HP-UX server system.

The TBIPS award involves rigorous checks of a supplier's references for each service offered to the migrating and modernizing government agencies. "They go off and check those references, and that's what takes a long time," Koppe said. The certification also includes specific pricing schedules for every service. Pricing can eliminate a supplier from the TBIPS award process, "because your rates are too high compared to other suppliers submitting in those categories."
Speedware's president said the TBIPS award extends the company's reach into the public sector. “We are looking forward to continuing to help government departments and agencies overcome the obstacles created by outdated computer systems,” said Andy Kulakowski. “Qualifying under TBIPS helps us reach more public sector customers who are in need of the expertise we offer in legacy management and modernization."

These government certification awards are key to making it easy for organizations to engage Speedware in legacy projects. "It's kind of like stepping up your game," Koppe said. "If you want to be serious about doing business with the government, you need to [earn these awards]. We've talked to a lot of people who've done business with the government and done well with it, and it's a full-time job. We're now looking toward adding people to our organization who focus exclusively on government. It's not as simple as looking for an RFP and responding to it."