Accenture Establishes New Enterprise to Provide 'Business Services Provider' Solutions to Competitive Local Exchange Carriers

Z-Tel Becomes First Client of Launch-Now(SM)

New York, September 25, 2000 -- Accenture, a leading global management and technology consultancy, today introduced a new enterprise, Launch-Now(SM), which is a business service provider (BSP) in the Competitive Local Exchange Carrier (CLEC) market, helping to reduce the risk and up-front costs associated with their entry into new markets.

The firm also announced that Z-Tel Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ/NMS: ZTEL), of Tampa, Fla., has signed on as Launch-Now’s first client. Z-Tel, a provider of bundled local and long distance telephone services with enhanced, internet-based communications features, is using Launch-Now services to facilitate ordering and provisioning of service from incumbent communications carriers when it enters new states.

CLECs face a unique set of challenges as they enter new telecommunications markets. To achieve and sustain a successful business, they need to focus on:

They must do so while limiting the rather substantial up- front costs associated with building a scalable operational capability.

Accenture, which has worked with numerous CLECs at various stages of the life cycle, formed Launch-Now to offer CLECs a BSP solution that provides front office support and back office operations without requiring the traditional large investment in information technology (IT).

The BSP business allows users to benefit from economies of scale by sharing the costs of extending software solutions, operating data centers, and obtaining software licenses and maintenance.

Launch-Now Interconnect Exchange service offers "intelligent electronic bonding", using Accenture’s proven and unique proprietary software to provide full, two-way flow- through operating support system (OSS) interconnection between new entrants and incumbent trading partners.

Launch-Now Interconnect Exchange maintains order management and OSS interconnection releases to stay current with industry changes and isolates customers from these changes as it manages hardware, system availability, software and administrative functions so that carriers can focus on core business objectives.

"This is a new and exciting business model for us," said Dan Schriner, Accenture partner responsible for sales and marketing for Launch-Now. "We are providing a soup-to-nuts solution that enables CLECs to launch their business and achieve rapid growth. We deliver technology and people to our clients in order to both implement and operate low cost, scalable processes. These solutions are fully hosted, like an ASP, and take responsibility for business operations with predefined business service levels."

Launch-Now provides applications on a per-transaction basis and provides operational capabilities and guaranteed service levels needed to support a growing customer base. CLECs can focus on core business imperatives, such as product innovation and building a customer base, while avoiding the risk and high costs associated with implementing in-house programs.

"Entering new and ever-changing telecommunications markets is no simple feat," said Thomas P. Maiero, Accenture managing partner for Launch- Now. "With Launch-Now, CLECs can avoid some of the risk, time and cost associated with moving from concept to operation."

"We’ve found the Launch-Now business model to be a near perfect fit for our growth strategy,â€? said Chuck McDonough, CTO of Z-Tel Technologies, Inc. "By tapping into Accenture’s technology and integration skills at a low entry cost and on a pay as you grow basis, we are poised for rapid growth in a number of markets. We know that scalability won’t be an issue; Accenture is solving that problem for us for the entire ILEC order fulfillment process."

About Z-Tel Technologies, Inc.(TM)

Z-Tel Technologies, Inc. provides consumers bundled local and long distance telephone services, combined with enhanced, Internet-based communications features that enable them to manage all of their voice communications needs. Z-Tel currently sells this bundle as "Z-Line Home Edition(TM)" in New York, Texas, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Oregon and Maryland, and has over 170,000 active customers. For more information about this innovative new service or about Z-Tel, please visit the Company’s web site at

Z-Tel Technologies, Inc., Z-Line and Z-Line Home Edition are trademarks of Z-Tel Technologies, Inc.

About Launch-Now

Launch-Now is an enterprise of Accenture serving the Competitive Local Exchange Carrier (CLEC) market with business services provider (BSP) solutions. Launch-Now is made up of more than 200 Accenture communications industry experts with extensive experience advising and serving CLECs. Its home page address is


Roxanne Taylor

+1 (917) 452 5106