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 Preferred Systems Solutions, Inc.’s former President and CEO Scott Goss. He grew PSS into a leading provider of IT and cybersecurity solutions to the intelligence community and was 2015’s Dealmaker of the Year at the Corporate Growth Awards. He currently serves as an adviser to the PSS board of directors. Here are his insights:
Cloud storage, big data and insider threat continue to be hot topics going into 2018. For 2018, where would I be if I did not mention blockchain and cryptocurrency? The U.S. government seems eager to analyze the benefits of security, efficiency and speed that can be brought by blockchain technology. While this reality may be years away, even the Federal Reserve has suggested that the U.S. central bank is considering its own digital currency. While for the government we are at the forefront and early, there is nonetheless great interest in pursuing this path.
Additionally, managed services continue to be a growing hot spot within the federal government. Large hardware vendors and financing companies recognize the benefits of this growing area given its ability to cut significant costs, keep up with the latest technology and buy “by the drink” for what they need. Cybersecurity and IT modernization programs will continue to be extremely important going into 2018.
M&A will continue to be robust in 2018 and the impact of the tax reform will help justify the higher valuations we have seen over the last few years. While the strategic buyers will selectively continue to acquire, there will be sustained interest from private equity and platform companies backed by private equity. The continued spending in IT modernization, big data analytics and cybersecurity have made it much more difficult to develop, hire and retain talent. Turnover rates are on the rise and will continue to increase as the younger generations seek to develop new skills and see better opportunities.
While our strategies have changed with the administrations, our strategic shifts have been based more on the changing needs arising from technological advances. However, depending on the administration, we have focused more on Defense Department vs. civilian.
Over three years ago, we went on an acquisition campaign to build out our intelligence practice, which now includes high-performance computing, cybersecurity, data analytics and various specialized software systems based around logistics and transportation. Much of what our company used to do focused on technology transformation of systems, be it large-scale ERP or logistics systems.
Since PSS provides systems support to numerous government contractors, 10 years ago, we focused on transforming our internal legacy systems into cutting-edge technology. We developed products like DataCall to provide managers and individuals at all levels of the organization with real-time data to enhance project management and infrastructure. We have significantly streamlined costs for PSS and our partners while arming them with the real-time information needed to make key decisions.