Government agencies have technology offerings aplenty to choose from — what they need is help putting it all together.
“We’ve built the company on the principles of system engineering,” said Michael Chavira, managing partner at Axiologic Solutions. “If the process is broken, let’s look at the current state and determine what the ‘to be’ process is to measure our progress and success. Then we can start to apply the appropriate tool sets like data science, data analytics and machine learning.”
Chavira launched Axiologic in 2009 with co-founder and managing partner, Tom Stauber. In recent years, they have internally restructured to better serve the federal space while positioning the firm for future growth.
“Tom and I were initially billing our time during the day and then at night we would reconvene to work on company operations,” Chavira said. “We’d start doing all those different tasks that need to happen for a company to work. In order to succeed and grow, we needed to step away from the day-to-day and actually start building up our infrastructure.”
In short, they learned to delegate. They recently hired a president and a chief technology officer, thus freeing themselves to concentrate more on emerging trends in the government marketplace. That includes an intense focus on federal needs around data.
“We’re seeing government trying to take an enterprise data approach, with the establishment of ‘centers of data excellences,’” Chavira said. “They are trying to reuse solutions that have been developed, trying to find economies of scale. They’re looking for increased data management functions, especially through things like machine learning and [artificial intelligence].”
To support those needs, government contractors need access to talented individuals with deep data expertise. Axiologic has lately shifted its recruiting strategy once recognizing such talent is hard to come by.
“We really looked hard at our internal processes to include our recruiting process,” Chavira said. “We were initially outsourcing recruiting, and realized we could be far more effective by getting organized with a database of candidates and owning the entire recruitment process from start to finish.”
Beyond just getting the right people, Axiologic has focused on keeping them. Its employee-focused response to the COVID-19 crisis helps demonstrate the company’s commitment to its workforce.
“We sent everybody home in mid-March and we thought it was going to be maybe two to three weeks,” Chavira said. “Now, here we are in July. We’ve really had to get creative in terms of keeping employees engaged.”
In addition to the now-familiar use of Google Meet and Zoom to keep business operations running smoothly, the company also hosts virtual social time to ensure cohesiveness in the team. There’s a Zoom ”coffee talk” every Thursday with trivia games and other team-building activities.
“There was a ‘find a silly hat in your house’ day, and everybody on the screen left and came back with these silly hats,” Chavira said. “It’s pretty cool to see everybody getting involved in that, and it definitely helps with morale.”
That’s just the fun stuff. Axiologic also took a more serious look at employee needs during the pandemic, even convincing its insurance provider to re-open enrollment for those whose health needs might have changed.
“There were people who took us up on that, families with small children at home who needed to up their health savings plans,” he said.
The company also took a pragmatic approach to a question plaguing many businesses today: What happens if someone does get sick with COVID? And what if they caught it at work?
While many are concerned about liability issues, Axiologic found a practical solution, ensuring COVID was covered under its workers’ compensation policy.
On the business side, the company is looking to expand its federal footprint. Today, nearly all the work comes from the Defense Intelligence Agency, and Chavira said the strategy going forward is to build on that success to extend the company’s reach across the intelligence community.
“We’ve built a very good brand and now we’re leveraging that brand across the IC as a way of growing organically,” he said.
The company also is looking at potential acquisitions as a way to both broaden its base and create new opportunities for its skilled workforce.
And a 15-year veteran of the GovCon space, Chavira said the company’s ongoing success is a source of personal satisfaction.
“I’m building something that I’m very passionate about,” he said. “I’m very proud of the current trajectory of this company and how we’ve gotten it here — by creating a culture where we genuinely take care of our employees.”