New Iona offshoot targets US army

 

Iona Technologies has set up a US-based subsidiary and applied for official clearance to help it sell more software to state and federal governments in the US, especially the Department of Defence.

The new subsidiary, which will be called Iona Government Technologies, will target Government agencies including the Federal Bureau of Investigations and State governments to boost its sales.

Currently about 10 per cent of the Dublin-based firm's software sales are to the public sector, but with corporations slashing technology spending, Iona is keen to expand this area of its business.

Mr Jeff Goldberg, president of Iona Government Technologies, said yesterday the firm's web services software had applications that could be used to link the systems of different agencies to deliver better homeland security.

"In light of events last year in the US [September 11th], certainly on the defence side, and for homeland security, there are substantial additional dollars being made available," he added.

Iona's software can be used by corporations and public bodies to knit together computer systems which are based on different types of software standards. It should enable agencies to cooperate and collaborate to track potential terrorists, said Mr Goldberg.

Iona has ongoing relationships with the Defence Department through its deals with system integrators but, up to now, has been excluded from offering direct services, because it has been unable to gain official US security clearance as it is a foreign firm.

But the new subsidiary, which is based exclusively in the US, has recruited a solely American management team to enable it to apply for governmental clearance. Even Iona's chief executive, Mr Barry Morris, will be excluded from the board as he is not a US citizen.

Iona Government Technologies has already engaged with the US administration to seek official clearance and expects to receive notification of whether it has gained it within 60-90 days, said Mr Goldberg.

Initially 14 staff will work with the new US subsidiary.