Putting Information Technology to Work
Greg Baroni’s team faces a billion-dollar, multiyear challenge: to improve security by building a new IT infrastructure for the nation’s 429 commercial airports. On March 3, Unisys completed the first of three phases of the project–providing laptops, Internet access, cell phones, and pagers for workers at what will be “airports of the future.”
From Greg’s original entry:
Tell us what you do and the specific challenge you faced.
As president of the Global Public Sector unit of Unisys Corporation, Greg Baroni has a front-row seat to America’s security challenges. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) hired Baroni’s department in August 2002, to provide the information technology infrastructure for the nation’s 429 commercial airports. The initiative will help TSA accomplish its mission to safely and securely transport passengers throughout the United States. Given that TSA essentially was a brand-new agency, it had to build its network backbone and office systems from scratch. In addition, the agency was constantly in a state of flux as it was about to be incorporated into the Department of Homeland Security, a new Cabinet-level office that became operational in March 2003. Twenty-two agencies, including TSA, became part of the new department. When the Transportation Security Administration issued its information technology managed services (ITMS) procurement in the summer of 2002, Unisys commitment to security, its experience, its focused solutions and its innovative recommendations made it a front-runner in this potential seven-year, $1 billion effort.
What was your moment of truth?
Unisys moment of truth came when TSA announced in August 2002 that it had selected Unisys to lead the ITMS contract. The task seemed daunting and overwhelming – supply 429 commercial airports with the information technology infrastructure that would enable TSA’s screener workforce to provide the highest level of security while simultaneously facilitating unparalleled customer service. By addressing complete problems rather than focusing on individual challenges, Unisys and TSA were able to swiftly create a comprehensive, innovative and flexible solution to a pressing national priority. Unisys was awarded the unprecedented, multi-year task order to build an advanced information technology infrastructure for TSA.
Under the performance-based, managed services contract, Unisys and partners provide information technology and telecommunications services, including hardware and software services, help desk, network/security operations and business process re-engineering services for TSA. The deal follows a trend by government agencies of outsourcing their technology needs to the private sector. It is consistent with agencies trying to improve, consolidate and coordinate their communication efforts within the agency and with other agencies. ITMS is significant because of the unprecedented speed with which it was accomplished – 107 days from the issue of the request for proposal to the award date. This is the largest deal Unisys has signed with the federal government.
What were the results?
Today, all 429 airports have the basic equipment they need, including desktop and laptop computers, phones, personal digital assistance, land mobile radios, fax machines, photocopiers. Unisys and its team are now working on the next phase – connectivity, including LAN and WAN service. The team’s resource base will be responsive and flexible in addressing TSA’s evolving needs as it expands its scope to other methods of transportation. The ITMS contract is the largest example of business transformation outsourcing in government today. Broader managed services partnerships have helped create better, swifter and more cost efficient government contracts, necessary in today’s security-focused environment and a benefit to U.S. taxpayers. The Unisys/TSA partnership has redefined managed services contracts and is a model for the future.
What’s your parting tip?
Technology, however advanced, is but one factor in achieving business results. Process and people must be included in the formula.