Xiotech the lowest bidder in records management deal

Xiotech beat out Iron Mountain in a records management bid to scan, store and destroy student records for Connecticut's largest public school district.

There are 157,500 pages of student records in the attic at the superintendent's office in Norwich, Conn. They fill...

63 boxes, at 2,500 pages per box. Last year, the district went looking for a records management company to take the boxes off its hands and found Xiotech Corp. -- or, more accurately, Xiotech's new subsidiary, Daticon.

Under Connecticut state law, the records must be maintained until every graduate turns 28. Then, parents must be notified the records are to be destroyed. If the records aren't claimed, Norwich Public School District, the largest K-8 public district in Connecticut, must destroy the records securely.

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Last year, according to Norwich public schools assistant to the superintendent for administrative services Maureen Picard, the district took bids from a dozen companies to take that work off its employees' hands. Xiotech, and its new Archive Management Services (AMS) based on its acquisition of Daticon in 2006, was the lowest bidder.

In January, the school signed a seven-year contract that will see Xiotech's engineers remove the boxes of paper from the attic, scan them into a document management system based on IP acquired with Daticon and index them for search and retrieval on a Web-based system, also part of the Daticon acquisition.

"We've already sent paperwork to the Connecticut Library of Congress to give us permission to destroy the paper records," Picard said, although the current phase of the project will cover only student birthdates between 1979 and 1984. Birthdates from 1985 onward will be scanned at a later date.

Under the terms of the contract, the district will pay approximately $7,500 for the service in the first year, which includes intake processing fees, as well as the fee bid by Xiotech for the contract last year of $29 per gigabyte (GB) per month. (Xiotech's normal rate for a one-year contract of this nature is $59 per gigabyte per month for less than 250 GB, but in this case the fee was halved because of the length of the contract). For years two through seven of the contract, the fee will be around $3,600 per year.

Picard said she was unsure of the exact terms of Iron Mountain Inc.'s bid, but said it was a bidder, and that the district selected Xiotech based solely on the lowest bid. "We're a municipality," she said. "We always take the lowest bidder."

Xiotech is emerging from a year in which it all but disappeared, quietly refocusing on compliance and records management to survive in a storage marketplace that was seeing big OEMs go after its core small and midsized business (SMB). Norwich Public Schools District is the first customer Xiotech has announced for AMS.

Other companies that went up against Xiotech in the bid process include AMS Imaging, Integrated Project Solutions, New England Archive Center, Icon Business Solutions, DataBank IMX LLC, Royal Imaging Services LLC, GHS Data Management Inc. and Anacomp Inc.

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