ACS talks shop with govt agencies, prepares for 2H11 tenders

- Wednesday, February 23, 2011

ACS talks shop with govt agencies, prepares for 2H11 tenders

US business process outsourcing company Affiliated Computer Services (ACS) will take part in a series of tech tenders to be called by the Chilean government in 2H11, executives from ACS and parent company Xerox (NYSE: XRX) told BNamericas.

Company executives caught wind of the forthcoming tenders this week while conducting a fact-finding mission aimed at probing government sector business opportunities in Chile, according to ACS's government solutions group president, Joe Doherty.

ACS has no existing government sector clients in Latin America, but is looking to leverage Xerox's presence in that sector to snap up new business opportunities. During the trip, Doherty, as well as Xerox's Chile country manager, Ricardo Karbage, and other top brass, sat down with representatives from institutions such as the education ministry.

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"This is a prime time," Doherty said. "The government is having open conversations, and soon they will be putting out requests for proposals. We want to make sure that we are in the front of those RFPs."

"During the second half of the year, we are probably going to see a number of RFPs... Certainly the ministry of education will be one."

Chile's upcoming population census, slated for April 2012, will bring additional tenders and business opportunities, Karbage said.

LOOKING FOR ALTERNATIVES

Conversations with government officials also covered a range of IT needs currently weighing on the public sector. Whereas a large part of technology work has previously been carried out in-house, the current administration is seen opening up to the idea of outsourcing.

"They are looking for options and alternatives, and replications of solutions that have worked elsewhere," Doherty said. "Over the course of time, there have been a lot of replicating systems. There has not been a consistent consolidation strategy. Each department and each agency has formed their own IT workforce."

But change appears to be on the way, the executive said. "This government appears to be taking a step back and looking at the holistic agency, and seeing where they can improve the workflow and efficiencies, reduce the infrastructure, and upgrade where it is appropriate."

ACS has several cards up its sleeve, including high-volume transaction processing, debt collection, hosting, electronic payments, information technology outsourcing and also document management, digitization and backup, Doherty added. "Performance-based results are what they are looking for."

KEEN ON QUINTEC

Aside from prospecting potential clients, Doherty and Karbage discussed the formation of new partnerships with companies already present in the government sector, such as Chilean tech holding company Quintec.

A longstanding Xerox partner, Quintec is now being eyed for closer relations with the ACS division, Karbage said, though he added that conversations are still preliminary.

Aside from public sector presence, the partner hunt is being defined on specific criteria, according to Doherty.

"We are looking to partner with companies that would not compete with us, but rather complement us... that they have a foundation of information technology services, and potentially business process outsourcing services."

NEXT STOP: ARGENTINA

Argentina is also in the cards during the current business trip. Although unable to confirm the agencies where company executives will hold meetings, Doherty said efforts in that country will be similar as in Chile.

"There will be similar meetings," he noted. "We are trying to get a cross-reference between the different agencies to look for the similarities and differences in the way that the government is responding to the economy, and also if we can add value."

Meanwhile, medium-term government activities will center on RFPs and support from Xerox, Doherty added.