Fresh off his recent promotion as general manager and executive vice president of QinetiQ North America’s mission and information solutions business unit, John Sutton sat down with WashingtonExec. Sutton described his 2012 goals for QinetiQ North America as well as the need for companies to create adaptable solutions in the ever-changing technology space.
QinetiQ North America’s contribution to the “mobile revolution” and QinetiQ North America’s strategy for offering secure mobile solutions to Federal clients were also discussed.
WashingtonExec: What are your priorities and goals this year?
John Sutton: First and foremost, my goal is to expand QinetiQ North America’s Mission and Information Solutions business unit. This is the division that supports the intelligence community, the Department of Homeland Security and federal/civilian agencies, and it is an area where for us to achieve growth we must be laser focused and out-hustle the competition.
We are absolutely in a mobile revolution, and the world is using mobile devices more and more to execute business process.
WashingtonExec: What has changed most about the military environment within a business since you started working in government contracting?
John Sutton: The changes in technology since I began my career have been astounding. Technology has allowed for the acceleration of getting data, info and knowledge to people who need it – today, the federal customer demands more mission support with less. Change is constant, though, and the successful companies are the ones that are able to constantly adapt themselves to meet the demands of their customers. The unsuccessful companies are the ones who have stayed welded to the past. In growing QinetiQ North America, we are thinking ahead.
WashingtonExec: What sets QinetiQ North America apart from its competitors?
John Sutton: Our heritage of innovation really sets us apart in the industry. QinetiQ North America was built on small and mid-size agile and innovative companies that thought ahead and stayed ahead in terms of what the business needed to better serve its Federal customer. It’s a huge advantage when we go to compete against the bigger systems integrators and even smaller companies.
Secondly, we are relatively new and we are still a young company. We are able to constantly adapt and reorient priorities and pursue the market segments that are going to be the best in terms of growth for QinetiQ North America. This ability is crucial in this rapidly changing market.
WashingtonExec: What keeps you up at night in relation to your job?
John Sutton: It’s no surprise that the overall market climate, combined with the huge number of companies that are in the business that weren’t 10 years ago, makes for a very competitive marketplace. Combined with the reduced overall budget, insourcing has definitely impacted our business. We have to work hard and smart to stay ahead.
What I’m up at night thinking about is how we can predict, plan, and adapt to our customers’ needs: how we can be where they need us with the right solution at the best value. And of course, I’m always thinking about how to stay competitive in a very crowded market and win every race we enter.
WashingtonExec: What advances/challenges can government expect to see in mobility and access within this year?
John Sutton: We are absolutely in a mobile revolution, and the world is using mobile devices more and more to execute business process. Our task will be to deliver enterprise solutions providing the government the critical security, reliability and agility they need to execute their missions. Frankly, technology is the easy part and the hard part is implementing it.
Data security is under constant threat, which is why the focus on ISR, counter intelligence and cyber intelligence continues to be extremely important.
WashingtonExec: Do you think it’s possible to ever really fully secure the mobile cloud? Why or why not?
John Sutton: It will take a lot of work, but I think we can get there. If you look at major spend plans for wireless carriers, it’s obvious that they’re spending more money on faster networks. They are relying less on fiber to the home and business and more on the ability to do things wirelessly. Though there are certainly challenges, our ability to conduct secure transactions over wireless is already improving rapidly. It will take work to adapt to government’s unique requirements and ensure we’re meeting all the standards and FISMA compliances. That’s one reason we create partnerships with original equipment manufacturers and major wireless and network providers – we’re working together to find the best way to use mobile technologies to serve the government’s mission effectively and securely.
WashingtonExec: What new threats should government and industry be prepared for?
John Sutton: The threats that the country has adapted to since 9/11 are still very much in existence, and we’ll keep our overall focus on protecting homeland security and our global interests. Data security is under constant threat, which is why the focus on ISR, counter intelligence and cyber intelligence continues to be extremely important.
WashingtonExec: How would you describe your leadership style?
John Sutton: I’m very results-driven. I’m open with my team and active in defining goals so that there is a clear path for achieving those goals and delivering real results.
WashingtonExec: Do you use social media to help build your personal brand?
John Sutton: I’m not as active as my kids are, but I do use LinkedIn. My business makes me sensitive to the intelligence community and the need to protect your information. And I still believe the best meetings are face-to-face.