2018 Market Outlook: Dave Zolet of LMI

We look forward to a new year and new opportunities for innovation and growth in the government contracting community. This past year, we experienced an increased emphasis on big data, insider threat, merging technology with health care, and the internet of things, among others.

WashingtonExec reached out to those most knowledgeable and experienced in the federal contracting space. We asked executives in and around the Beltway for insight on the direction they see the government contracting community heading in 2018. Topics discussed include M&A activity, public/private sector collaboration, cloud computing, the incoming millennial workforce in defense/IT/health care, talent retention and more.​

Dave Zolet, CEO, LMI

Next in the series is Dave Zolet, president and CEO at LMI. For over 50 years, LMI has provided consulting services to the federal government in logistics, IT and resource management, working with more than 40 departments and agencies. Here are his insights:

Shared services is the key to success in bringing together systems of systems and massive amounts of data will help government improve speed, reduce cost and strengthen delivery. With a number of IT modernization efforts being pushed from all branches of government, there will be fewer barriers to cross-agency and inter-agency collaboration and investment.

Shared services adoption will accelerate IT modernization. The Modernizing Government Technology Act signals that federal government is changing how it acquires and manages IT. This acceleration affects cloud adoption, centralizing standard IT services and thoughtful systems architecture so that agencies can modernize while maintaining their legacy systems.

But the devil’s in the details, which is what 2018 will be all about. We look forward to helping the federal government manage risk, architect solutions and provide the requisite human capital planning needed to execute.

M&A activity will continue to be strong. Companies like LMI are looking for growth, both organically and through acquisition. We have identified targets with niche capabilities that are difficult to grow organically but needed by the government immediately. To prepare, we are ensuring that our culture and internal systems are strong enough to absorb acquisitions so we can rapidly deliver capabilities to the government.

LMI has had the honor of serving 11 presidential administrations. We’ve been successful by focusing on our charter: help government solve its most complex management problems so that federal government can best serve the American people. We are maniacally focused on this mission, meaning that we’re objective and we do the right thing for our clients, even when it’s hard to hear or proves a hypothesis wrong. When legacy infrastructure is broken, we take the long-term view of how to fix it.

Lowest price technically acceptable is bad for all parties involved: the government manager, the taxpayer and the service delivery contractor. In the end, it has cost the federal government more by forcing organizations to provide incomplete solutions that require patches or even complete overhauls.

We are heartened to see that we may be at the tail end of this trend, but this race to the bottom caused damage to the industry, and ultimately, the customer. We are excited about the quality of people comprising the GovCon market, from our clients to our contractors and our partners. Furthermore, as digital natives progress in their careers within our industry, they will positively influence our progress toward securing our nation’s infrastructure, IT, intellectual property and future.

Government, industry and academia are more capable when they learn from each other, collaborate and tackle problems together. One of LMI’s core assets as a not-for-profit consulting firm is the LMI Research Institute, where we do just that. We tackle a multitude of problems to improve the government’s ability to carry out its duties, whether it’s how to deploy block chain beyond supply chain use cases, or how to improve recruitment and retention of diverse students in STEM fields to solve a human capital shortage in the national security space.  

Acquisition reform is the next frontier for collaboration. As we move from agile and DevOps, government is having a hard time creating contracts that keep up with the rate of change, and industry is having a hard time modernizing business practices to enable DevOps and deliver indefinite solutions. The 3- and 5-year delivery models of the past won’t cut it in today’s reality. We need to work together, trust each other, and find ways to acquire functionality that can be delivered and deployed quickly while still managing risk.

Question everything. The millennials who will inherit the GenX-dominated workplace understand that IT is a force multiplier. It is in all of our interests to challenge the status quo and commit to thoughtful innovation and constant skill building.


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