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 Ravi Dankanikote, senior vice president of enterprise solutions and services at CACI International. A member of the Fortune 1000 largest companies, CACI provides information solutions and services in support of national security missions and government transformation for intelligence, defense and federal civilian customers. Here are his insights:
I believe 2018 will see continued focus and investments in the space, cyber and ISR superiority markets. On the business of the government side, IT investments will focus on modernizing the IT infrastructure, migration of applications to the cloud and a convergence of cloud, big data and predictive analytics.
I also think we will see prototypes and use cases for emerging technologies like blockchain, robotic process automation and internet of things. Industry will need to position for this and be ready to answer the government’s challenges.
CACI, for example has invested in an Agile Solution Factory, Model Based System Engineering methodology, MDDI, and robust cloud migration processes. These approaches increase the speed of delivery while reducing program risk. System integrators will need to be ever vigilant of their customers’ mission needs and priorities to bring innovative solutions, or will be left out of the competition.
With the newly passed tax laws and the potential laws around infrastructure modernization, I think there will be continued M&A activities and more nontraditional companies wanting to participate in this market. Regarding talent retention, I think employees in the GovCon space deeply care about the country and our government customers’ missions, which is why they choose this industry over alternatives.
Like CACI, companies that do work that is critical to the national security mission and want to be here for the long term will need to invest in their employees and provide an enriching experience, so they come to work every day excited to contribute to the mission and business of the government. CACI values individuals with ethics, honesty, integrity and accountability and we focus on investing in them and retaining them our top talent.
Collaboration between the government, contractor community and academia has absolutely increased and will continue to do so. It would be highly beneficial if each of the three sectors had the chance to observe the challenges faced by the other two communities and then actively work together to benefit the government.
For example, the contractor community could learn a lot by observing the decision processes that the customers have to work through from requirements to award; customers would benefit heavily if they could observe the business impacts of the buying process and extended delays on RFP or awards to the industry sector. Academia plays a strong role in educating both sectors and both sectors could benefit from academia involvement. Collaboration is key.
I view the next big reform in acquisition policy as finding process improvements to ensure the Defense Department faster and more effective access to the U.S. technology base comprised of traditional defense contractors like CACI, as well as nontraditional defense contractors. The Section 809 Panel efforts to streamline federal and DOD procurement regulations is a prime example of this important initiative. CACI has been an active participant and supporter of the 809 Panel and its goal of advancing innovative and faster, more streamlined procurements
Millennials have grown up in a world of cloud computing, social media and information convergence. They are not used to bureaucratic processes, long-drawn acquisition cycles and slow decision-making. Active and deliberate mentoring of this generation and adapting to them as much as they adapt to the current workforce will be essential to make a smooth transition.
CACI is continuously looking for highly technologically skilled and innovative individuals, and millennials often have the skills and bring entrepreneurial type qualities to companies to continue to advance and innovate. My advice to the millennials is “Be optimistic.” Our everyday work impacts the country and the world. This is something to be proud of.