Comment: Look for Lockheed Martin to acquire

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Comment: Look for Lockheed Martin to acquire

ATO deal will require bigger headcount.

Comment: Lockheed Martin will need to bolster its local ranks significantly if it is to satisfy the desktop technology and helpdesk support requirements of the Australian Tax Office.

It should come as little surprise that Lockheed Martin should be named as preferred provider of end user computing services at a large government agency.

What is surprising is that the agency in question isn't the U.S. Department of Justice, Homeland Security or the EPA [PDF], but the Australian Tax Office.

Lockheed Martin claims to employ over 500 staff in Australia currently. The U.S. giant refuses to break down how many of these are in civil IT operations versus in its military technology divisions.

According to LinkedIn, the company employs somewhere in the order of 200 information technology staff, predominantly in Melbourne and Canberra.

The Australian Tax Office - one of the biggest enterprise users of information technology in the country - would need at least this many heads, spread across the nation, to service its desktop and helpdesk needs.

Lockheed Martin is going to need to grow, and grow fast, with its services due to be available to the ATO when the agency's extended contract with EDS expires in mid-2012.

There are three weapons at Lockheed Martin's disposal to exercise this growth. And the company has only a matter of weeks to prove this capability to the tax office, which expects to finalise the terms and conditions of the end user computing contract by the start of August.

The first is to lean on a newly-developed partner channel, harnessing the local resources of joint bid partners Datacom and CSG, each with over 1,000 IT staff employed in Australia.

With these partners in particular, Lockheed Martin could provide broader geographical coverage to the ATO, Datacom being particularly strong in Australia's east coast capitals and CSG being particularly strong in the Northern Territory and Western Australia.

Another option is to hire. Lockheed Martin spent late April conducting a 'job fair' in Canberra and Sydney, specifically calling for staff with "IT Systems Management and Operations" and "Service Desk Operations" experience.

There will also undoubtedly be plenty of HP/EDS staff working on the ATO account until mid-2012 who would be interested in crossing over to Lockheed Martin to maintain employment.

Which brings us to a third option -  to simply purchase the capability, possibly even from HP/EDS.

Speculative though this suggestion might be, acquisitions would certainly look attractive for Lockheed Martin to guarantee it has the capability before mid-2012.

And with no ATO to service, HP/EDS is likely to be a willing seller.

For now, Lockheed Martin told iTnews it "has the key people in place, together with our partners Datacom and CSG, to take us through the negotiation phase.

"Then we will go through the hiring and staffing process in the same way any other company would to meet the requirements of the contract."

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