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 Sonny Kakar, founder and CEO of Sevatec. Here are his insights:
The award of the General Services Administration’s unrestricted Alliant 2 contract vehicle marks the beginning of the end of monolithic IT services providers. The world of IT has radically changed and continues to change at an unprecedented pace.
Yet, the huge government IT services companies that consume the lion’s share of the federal IT budget are alarmingly out of date, and their bureaucratic oligarchy hinders the creativity and innovation our government must have to realize the enormous dividend that advances in IT offerings will generate.
Corporate conglomerates that are comprised of hundreds of cobbled together acquisitions are not what the federal government needs as it seeks to institute advances in IT that are being generated quickly and efficiently by America’s IT industry. With the award of unrestricted Alliant 2, GSA is now offering access to 15+ more advanced, more capable and more agile mid-sized companies.
The new wave of government IT leaders are beginning to take charge. These leaders came of age dealing with the frustrations of the government procurement system that has been exploited by legacy large companies which continue to defend their outdated approach of maximizing billable hours by taking advantages of technically solvable inefficiencies.
These trailblazing government IT leaders, notably in the departments of Homeland Security, Transportation and Commerce, are insisting on changing what is procured and even how it is procured — and they began something many thought too hard to do.
By developing their own contract vehicles, they corrected historic IT missteps, rebuilt infrastructures that exploit the cloud, and efficiently rebuilt and expanded software development, applying agile methods, including their own method of contracting. The impact of this new breed of federal IT leaders is being noticed and their ranks are growing. GSA noticed, and has given every indication of its readiness to scale-up these important experiments.
One of the most significant hindrances to the government realizing the dividends of advances in IT, has been the restrictive and inflexible federal contracting system, built to acquire airplanes and tanks, but not capable of keeping pace with the rapid change in IT or supporting agile systems development.
Recently, there have been signs of more openness to procurement innovation and experimentation and business to government dialogue and collaboration. This change in tone will be progressively manifested in more contracts that engage our industry. Alliant 2 task orders will be more flexibly applied as GSA seeks to provide progressive contracting support to their clients, taking increasingly concrete steps toward agile procurement. Federal IT companies that are managed to exploit the inflexible procurement system and fail to adapt to this new way of thinking will be left behind.
Some mid-sized federal IT companies that achieved critical mass during the last few years of revolutionary change in information technology, have established agile management structures and attracted the best and brightest technologists. Led by technology entrepreneurs and unbiased by legacy approaches, these mid-sized companies have become efficient and impactful without becoming inflexible and opaque. Some of these companies now hold Alliant 2 and will extend this modern capability GSA now offers to the new wave of federal IT leaders, along with more agile task order contracting methods.
Alliant 2 is just the beginning of the evolution government IT leaders have started. They will continue to move away from huge and sluggish IT service organizations that produced the existing enormous systems and infrastructures. Those were relevant and needed at the time. But that corporate experience is no longer relevant for the government, when it can now move aggressively to exploit exceptional IT innovation opportunities.
Powerful new companies are at critical mass and ready to give the government the agile technology needed. And they have the premier IT contract vehicle to challenge the status quo.