Sonya Jain is CEO and President of eGlobalTech, a provider of management consulting services for the federal government. Before joining eGlobalTech, Jain was with Booz Allen as a government consultant and went to the University of Massachusetts in Amherst and the Isenberg School of Management.
WashingtonExec got the chance to talk with Jain as she discusses federal mobility, corporate citizenship, and the issues and challenges that face both sectors in governmental coverage.
Read below for our interview with Jain.
WashingtonExec: Could you describe your background and what you do at eGlobalTech?
Sonya Jain: I’m an engineer, and I started my career with programming over 25 years ago. I was at Booz Allen for about 12 years doing government consulting before I decided to start something on my own in 2004. I am currently the CEO and president of eGlobalTech.
WashingtonExec: What made you interested in business consulting?
Sonya Jain: I like to be creative. That’s why I like consulting. It allows me to think of new ideas for my clients, to help make them successful. I enjoyed working at Booz Allen and value the learning experience there. However, as I grew in seniority, I seemed to be moving further away from my clients, and hence decided to go out on my own.
WashingtonExec: How has “Fish!: A Proven Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results” by Steven Lundin, Harry Paul, and John Christensen impacted you?
Sonya Jain: When I started eGlobalTech, I wanted to instill a philosophy that was different and that encouraged a family-oriented culture. I had read this book and really liked it. It focused on 4 tenets that I felt would make a great company culture – enjoying your work, having the right attitude, promoting active listening, and making someone’s day. I wanted my company to be a place where we work hard and still have time for fun and caring for each other.
WashingtonExec: How does your company engage in corporate citizenship?
Sonya Jain: I like to support programs that I feel make a difference to somebody in society. We donated a bench to a facility in Fairfax built for cancer patients. We also participate in a program called “Covert Santa” for families of wounded soldiers; we buy gifts for their families, pack them and deliver the gifts. Another organization we support is ASHA, an organization that supports battered Asian women who have no family in the country.
WashingtonExec: What do you think the future of federal mobility is?
Sonya Jain: We can’t live without being mobile any more.
Factors such as increased traffic, increased costs as well as small families with 2 working parents, have led to the need for a remote and mobile workforce.
The Government is under the same pressures as the private sector and is also moving towards increased mobility options and solutions to conduct their business. It is very exciting.
WashingtonExec: How do you think that mobility affects the work/life balance?
Sonya Jain: Through mobile solutions, people can work remotely and don’t have to sit in traffic for two hours in the morning and evening. They can access and do critical work, even when on vacation – I can go to visit my parents’ in India and still get work done. It’s nice because one can spend the needed time with family and yet be productive. However, as everything can’t be done remotely, there has to be a balance. Finally, improving processes, communication channels and work planning will facilitate the move towards mobility.
WashingtonExec: What major security issues are facing federal mobility?
Sonya Jain: The biggest issue that most Government Agencies have is ensuring that their sensitive data is protected. They are concerned that their data will become available to those that do not have the right security levels. Hence, the private sector is working on coming up with encryption standards for data in motion. This will help reduce the security issue. Moreover, private government clouds that can host government systems to be accessed remotely will also facilitate the move towards mobility, without compromising security.
WashingtonExec: Which Federal Agency is leading the way with cloud computing?
Sonya Jain: USAID seems to be one of the fore-runners in the Federal space, in terms of using cloud solutions; this is very essential for them as they are located all over the world. HHS seems to be way ahead of other agencies in terms of telecommuting and having the staff work remotely. We are supporting the Federal Cloud Computing (FCCI) and Federal Data Center Consolidation (FDCCI) initiatives at GSA, and hence are involved in a lot of discussions/efforts associated with mobility. I know that GSA is looking into all of the different aspects of security in terms of mobility and hosting information in the cloud.
WashingtonExec: Why is HHS “way ahead” of other agencies?
Sonya Jain: What I really like about HHS is that they have a great mission. They want to make healthcare more effective and enable data exchanges across the health stakeholders. They want information to be more transparent – not just for external providers but also internally. They are really ahead of the game in terms of looking at emerging and mobile technologies.
Why one agency is ahead of another in terms of mobility, is based upon several factors. These include – the type of mission, the sensitivity of the data and of course the mindset of the leadership of that agency. HHS definitely seems to have the right combination of all these factors.
WashingtonExec: How are you preparing for (possible) sequestration?
Sonya Jain: We are keeping a very close eye on all of our projects to see which ones could get impacted. We are also being aggressive in terms of pursuing new business so that we can make sure we have adequate work for all employees and they don’t lose their jobs if and when the government decided to make cuts.
WashingtonExec: Do you think a tight federal budget could open the door for technological alternatives such as mobility?
Sonya Jain: I definitely think a tight budget makes people think more creatively; they think of other options and ways of cutting down costs. Remote work helps reduce facility costs; mobile solutions help improve productivity without increasing costs – so mobility will definitely increase when budgets get cut. Other cost cutting measures will also be taken, for example consolidating data centers and using cloud options for infrastructure and applications hosting.
WashingtonExec: If you could change one thing about the acquisition procurement process as a woman-owned small business, what would it be?
Sonya Jain: I think government agencies should have a two-step acquisition process: a five or seven page capability statement should be part of step 1, and then orals should be the second step. This would streamline the process and make sure that the Agencies get the right people for their programs. This will also eliminate the time and energy needed to write the huge proposals we have to do today.
WashingtonExec: Where do you hope to see eGlobalTech in 5 years?
In 5 years, I see eGT as thought leaders that provide the Government with value for their money, even though we will be a large business. I see us having a large presence in Healthcare and Homeland Security with a focus in strategy, cloud and security.
WashingtonExec: Do you have an opinion on hybrid apps, meaning apps that give ordinary users the ability to make their own applications? Do you think this will change the mobile technology market?
Hybrid Apps are the way of the future and will definitely impact the mobile technology market. These apps will take advantage of device capabilities like the camera and hence will improve the use of mobile platforms. They will also pave the way for new innovative applications that are easy to use and access.