John Fraser, President and Chief Operating Officer of ASM Research, sat down with WashingtonExec to discuss the future of mobile devices with the federal government, the evolution of the workplace, and how his leadership experience has led to success.
Fraser also touched on the unique opportunities that come with running a mid-tier company as well as how big data is changing the intelligence community.
WashingtonExec: How critical do you see mobile devices in carrying out the missions of the Department of Defense (DoD) and/or Department of Homeland Security?
John Fraser: As far as the DoD is concerned, the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) just had a briefing at their Mission Partner Conference on May 7th that covered their proof of concept testing & evaluation process for mobile devices and applications on commercial carrier networks. They appear to be focused on email, VOIP, applications (both standalone and transactional), a mobile application store, and mobile device management to name a few. I believe this clearly shows mobile devices are becoming a desired and accepted technology moving forward and something they obviously need to address.
As far as the federal space is concerned, there has been an ongoing discussion with industry via the web about how the government should develop their mobile strategy. Yesterday’s digital strategy announcement also outlined mobile as a necessary platform to deliver to.
I think the government in general has decided that mobility is an asset to conducting business and are now addressing solid, secure ways of making it a reality. I believe they are carefully jumping on the bandwagon to address the continued movement towards cloud based IT services, which has led to more smartphone and tablet adoption as platforms of choice across the enterprise. The key to the successful adoption of mobile technology is to ensure that the right data is available on all devices, the data can be securely accessed, and the devices can be effectively and securely managed.
WashingtonExec: How is the “mobile workforce” changing the way you do business with the federal government?
John Fraser: Mobile in this case meaning ever moving I presume. In this case, you must be prepared to exploit the full capability of the internet and the infrastructure supporting the mobile worker. Without regard to location, the worker must be supported. The office spaces are smaller in the brick and mortar aspect. The government recognizes this as well, and you can expect more and more government agencies to leverage the mobile technology front to support the mobile and remote workforce. Securing this environment and technology will need continued advancement and investment as the openness of systems and technology expands.
WashingtonExec: What is it like being a mid-tier company?
John Fraser: Being a mid-tier company is viewed by many as a tough area to work within. I see it as an exciting opportunity to bring real solutions which solve the needs of our customer in a rapid fashion and without the red tape one would typically find in large business. In a mid-tier company you also have extensive opportunities to demonstrate your ability to deliver and perform. We have an excellent group of engineers and solutions experts who thrive in this environment bringing benefits to all of our clients.
WashingtonExec: How is it competing with the big players (Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman etc.)? Do you believe there is a “mid-tier squeeze?”
John Fraser: I believe we are different enough in our approach and solutions that our clients see and experience benefits that limit the feeling of a “squeeze” feeling. We offer so much more in our solutions in a true agile approach that an organization wanting a large enterprise solution will more than benefit from our rapid delivery and commitment to their organizations mission.
WashingtonExec: How has the government’s new motto of “do more with less” affected your business strategy over the next couple years?
John Fraser: It actually fits right in with our theme of bringing good solutions at a reasonable price–leveraging as much of the existing technology in place as logically possible–yet delivering the expected solution.
Doing more with less however, doesn’t support the mobility concept because of the significant investment required to advance mobility within federal agencies. There certainly is an opportunity for savings in the out-years–just not during the development and build-out of the solution.
WashingtonExec: Do you think big data is changing the way the Intelligence Community gathers and analyzes information? How so?
John Fraser: Yes. However, big data means more data to filter through to find the connections among the data. Having the right tools and capabilities in place are key to leveraging the access to big data. Many point to Business Intelligence (BI) tools as the savoir to the Intelligence Community and that is just the beginning–metrics, reporting, management, trend analysis, knowledge of the data, knowledge of the space analyzing, oversight, and actionable information are a few of the information points that must be part of the next generation as well as all done in rapid fashion.
WashingtonExec: How would you sum up your company’s mission in 3 to 5 words?
John Fraser: Extraordinary Commitment–Extraordinary Results. We live it every day.
WashingtonExec: How has your longevity at ASM Research helped you do your job more effectively?
John Fraser: It’s hard to believe it has been 26 years since I first joined ASM. Everyday has been exciting, some more than others. The incremental growth of the company, the opportunities for increased responsibility coupled with the experience has allowed me to understand most aspects of the business in an intimate nature. It has also taught me patience when dealing with others and the importance and value of letting the professionals in our organization perform their missions.
WashingtonExec: Do you think you have learned more from your failures or from your success?
John Fraser: Success. Traditionally, what has worked in the past will work again, provided you continue to advance the solution with next generation technology. I have also learned from the limited failures I have faced. Certainly learning from success is by far a more enjoyable experience.
WashingtonExec: What do you think makes a good leader?
John Fraser: Listening and learning every day and treating people with genuine respect. In the end a good leader communicates their vision, the values that vision represents, and creates passion for that vision.
WashingtonExec: Do you think your leadership style has changed throughout your career?
John Fraser: Yes. Every step of the way I have grown and appreciated the mentorship of those I have worked for and with throughout my life. These experiences make us who we are and drive us to the next level of success. Candor has been one of the best methods of communicating as it just strips away any drama and gets straight to the feedback necessary for success.