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.
Next in the series is Moe Jafari, president and founder at HumanTouch, LLC. HumanTouch is a recognized market leader and has been ranked among the top 10 government IT service firms by the Washington Business Journal. Here are his insights:
In the current continuing resolution/no budget environment, we will see continued emphasis on efficiency. Gone are the days of an army of spreadsheet jockeys managing program and financial portfolios. We are seeing a rise in the use of cloud-based platform-as-a-service and software as-a-service tools to automate program and financial management.
In 2018, we will see an increased demand for simple, easy-to-use and platform independent cloud-based technology that reduces customer overhead. We expect the contracting environment to expand past infrastructure-as-a service to platform and software as a service.
Our business strategy has always been the same, even though it was one of change: be at the cutting edge of innovation. We were talking about cloud before it was a “#buzzword” and we will continue this theme into the new year. We have to be ahead of the game and help show our federal customers that the old and familiar isn’t always better.
Stagnant budgets with increased demands is definitely concerning. However, this age of innovation and emerging technologies are seeing unprecedented change in the speed and agility of solutions. Customers are looking for lightweight solutions that can be implemented in days and weeks as opposed to months and years.
The continuing downward trend in research and development in the Department of Defense may create a disconnect between the technologies the market is providing and how those technologies are used by the warfighter — particularly by our competitor countries. Additional funding and the use of alternative contract vehicles that promote public, private and academic collaboration may help close the gap.
One thing that will not change in this age of innovation is something that technology really can’t take the place of —and that is the “human touch.” While some millennials may prefer to work over email, text and collaboration tools, nothing really replaces human-to-human, person-to-person interaction. Taking away the technological barrier and actually talking to customers improves customer service, takes away any ambiguity of intentions and builds real relationships.