Technology promises to improve efficiency, elevate service levels and enable government agencies to meet their missions faster and better. But getting there isn’t easy.
“There are ongoing workforce challenges, such as legacy technology and increased vulnerabilities impacting the cyber posture of agencies,” said Kelly Morrison. “And government agencies are struggling to harness massive amounts of data to improve decision-making and enhance the customer experience.”
As senior vice president at HumanTouch, Morrison is partnering with federal agencies to leap those hurdles.
HumanTouch delivers a range of IT services, from IT operational support, such as customer experience-focused help-desk management, to organizational and digital transformation. Where others talk about the possibility of someday using artificial intelligence and Natural Language Processing to support such efforts, HumanTouch is doing that today.
“We have an AI solution with Natural Language Processing that we apply to a whole host of customer challenges: Help desk management, cyber budgeting, helicopter maintenance or leadership development,” she said. “We are using technology advancements to help agencies transform the way that they deliver on their mission.”
What does that look like in practical terms?
On the help desk side, for example, AI can analyze problems and elevate solutions to speed resolution. In the defense sector, AI-driven analytics support Strategy, Planning, Programming, Budgeting, and Execution, or SPPBE.
“By automating the SPPBE process and digitalizing the Program Objectives Memorandum, we are saving customers time and improving their decision-making ability,” Morrison said.
As a former executive at the Office of Management and Budget and other government agencies, Morrison has seen firsthand the urgent need for such tools in federal agencies.
“It’s incredible being part of a company that’s succeeding at using innovative technology to actually solve client challenges,” she said.
For example, at the U.S. Naval Academy, HumanTouch stepped in to automate key manual processes.
“To support the midshipmen with developing their leadership capabilities and competencies, they need to be able to rank the cadets in order of class standing. Formerly, all that work was done by hand,” Morrison said.
“We were able to develop a mobile application that the students, professors, and administration will all be able to use,” she added. “It is really exciting to see the value and transparency that it is already bringing, and the amount of time it’s saving.”
Practical examples like this are key to Morrison’s growth strategy, which relies heavily on the ability to demonstrate past success.
“We show the agencies how we solve challenges and partner to apply these AI advancements ⏤ how we can support them to aggregate their vast data in a meaningful way that supports improved decision-making,” she said. “We can demonstrate tried and true approaches that really do help the agencies.”
It helps, too, that HumanTouch’s AI solution is FedRAMP High approved. That means the solution can readily support agencies’ efforts to migrate to the cloud, and more than this, it means potential federal clients can look to HumanTouch as a pre-approved path to modernization. She emphasizes that “already having completed prior security checks and obtained approval to operate, FedRAMP solutions allow agencies to simply adopt those existing authorities.”
All that positions HumanTouch well for future growth. But there are challenges, of course. Like any other GovCon executive, Morrison must wrangle with the complexities of federal contracting mechanisms.
Even though HumanTouch solutions are on the GSA schedule, which should make buying easy, “it’s still hard for some agencies to get immediate access to us,” she said. “Sometimes, agencies want to use their own vehicles. They want something very quick and easy, and they don’t see that the GSA schedule provides that.”
To remain high on the radar, Morrison puts a lot of effort into evaluating the various contracting vehicles.
“We’re always looking to see what strategies or options exist to get on existing vehicles. And we also participate in the acquisition cycles for upcoming vehicles that are coming down the pike,” she said.
She also works to let agencies know about the government’s Small Business Innovation Research program, which offers another way to access HumanTouch solutions.
“That’s not something that a lot of the clients have experience working with, either on the program side or the contract side,” she said. “There’s a lot of education that needs to take place.”
With 20 years of experience in government and GovCon roles, Morrison said she takes personal pride in supporting federal agencies.
“I am a public servant at heart, and every day I wake up excited about the missions that I’m able to support,” she said.
Having worked in government herself, “I’m intimately familiar with the pain points, the roadblocks and challenges that they face,” Morrison said. “That makes it so rewarding for me to be able to partner with them, to help navigate the path to achieve desired outcomes.”