and customer satisfaction requirements that were spelled out in great detail in the contract. To date, the countys entire phone system has been replaced, all major sites have been converted to the new WAN, and all sites will be online by November.

"It clearly was a bold and unique thing that we did," said Ron Lane, assistant CTO of the county. "We were kind of blazing the trail, but we had solid support from our board of supervisors who were willing to take the risk and the heat to make this happen. There were definitely enough people along the way pointing out why it wouldnt work."

"One of the things that the vendor is learning," Lane added, "is that local government is very different than the private sector. Everything they do affects the public. So little problems that would be just little problems in a regular private-sector contract all of a sudden show up in the papers in this kind of project. The level of scrutiny in local government is tremendous. This adds a different dimension to outsourcing and a higher level of complexity in order to meet the demands."

Blake Harris  |  Contributing Editor