We look forward to the new year and new opportunities for innovation and growth in the government contracting community. This past year, the public and private sectors both experienced more emphasis and demand for cybersecurity, merging technology with health care, and how to best mitigate the insider threat.
As a part of an annual series, 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 in the industry. Topics discussed include M&A activity, public/private sector collaboration, cloud computing migration, the incoming millennial workforce in defense/IT/health care, talent retention and more.
Next in the series is a conversation with HumanTouch, LLC Senior Vice President Rick Hill on IT modernization and government investment in cutting-edge technology.
What will be the main topic of interest in 2019? What markets in the GovCon space do you see growing/contracting?
We expect to see government agencies engage with the contracting community very actively in 2019. Analytics, cloud migration and cloud-based solutions will accelerate. Like any infrastructure, the cloud needs management, protection, redundancy and data independence. The market is moving quickly, and the choices are confusing. Decision-makers often need industry experts to help them make informed decisions.
The “cloud” as a storage tool and platform will continue to be a major source of conversation and investment, but also of fragmentation. Many cloud service providers lead you to believe that their solution provides all parts of an ecosystem, but that’s not really the case. Implementing successful cloud solutions means going beyond buying Infrastructure-as-a-Service and leveraging all the components and apps that make up an optimized cloud: cloud management, business continuity, security, Platform-as-a-Service, Software-as-a-Service, data independence, and tracking and reporting.
In 2019, we will also see a proliferation of microprocurements; quick hit solutions that boost results quickly in weeks as opposed to months.
What concerns you the most when looking ahead at the future of GovCon? What excites you the most?
It’s a concern to see a tendency to hand one giant contract to one giant vendor; you don’t have enough competition across a broad range of services like cloud or office automation at different authorization levels. Small and mid-size businesses don’t have the ability to bring pioneering solutions to the problem, and I see that as short-sighted — innovation comes at all levels.
What future collaboration topics and projects should take place between the public, private and academic sectors?
At HumanTouch, we’re reaching out to various universities to hire data scientists and analysts because there is a shortage of them in the marketplace.
What’s the most important tool or piece of advice to educating the next generation of defense/IC/IT/healthcare leaders?
I encourage organizations to actively engage with industry. Find ways to communicate interest, get ideas, identify trends and forge relationships. You don’t need to spend $5 million to get results; invest in small, innovative ideas like OTAs to produce prototypes. Smaller point solutions and fewer enterprisewide suites will create more competition in the marketplace.