More than two years in the making, and possibly worth $4.6 billion, the capture of the Global Information Grid Services Management Operations contract last year was a highlight for Lockheed Martin Corp.’s Information Systems and Global Solutions business.
They technically won the contract in May 2012 to manage the infrastructure of the Defense Information Systems Agency’s Global Information Grid, or GIG, but a protest by incumbent Science Applications International Corp. delayed the start of the contract until October.
I didn’t even have to ask Angela Heise, the Lockheed executive in charge of the contract, about how the transition went. Moving the work from SAIC to Lockheed is now over, and Heise, vice president of enterprise information technology solutions, defense, for Lockheed IS&GS, is bursting with pride.
“It has gone very, very well,” she told me at a Lockheed media briefing.
She even includes SAIC in her praise. “They were very gracious to us,” Heise said. “They were very focused on making the sure the customer’s mission was supported, and it’s an important mission.”
The GIG is used by the Defense Department and military commands across the global for voice, video and data transmissions -- information on everything from command and control operations to paying the warfighters travels across the infrastructure.
When we had a chance to talk one-on-one, I asked Heise for lessons learned from the contract and the transition.
A couple things to note: the new contract, which goes by the acronym GSM-O, for Gig Services Management-Operations, is huge: 7,800 devices, millions of users and global reach. The Lockheed contract also moves from a cost-plus and time and material structure to performance-based with more than 70 service-level agreements that need measuring and management. As part of their bid, Lockheed guaranteed it would hire 85 percent of the incumbent work force or over 500 people.
Obviously, there were plenty of moving parts, so Heise walked me through Lockheed’s process.
Contract Initiation Review
Step one was conducting a contract initiation review with DISA, and with the commanders that GIG serves. This was a two-week, face-to-face review.
“We went over the goals and how to achieve them. What we saw as the risks and where we would need their help,” she said.
And DISA did the same. “The acquisition started over two years ago, so they went over how the network was different. It had grown a lot and changed a lot,” Heise said.
The customer listed things to worry about, and other watch items for Lockheed.
“That contract initiation review was a significant milestone because it sets the state for the partnership going forward,” Heise said.
Lockheed used a phased transition approach, starting with the networks supporting operations in the contiguous United States or CONUS before moving out to the rest of the globe.
“CONUS is the biggest entity, but because we were also doing operations convergence [Lockheed has migrated four network operations centers] and a lot of the scope of work was coming back to CONUS, that was the best place to start,” she said. “We wanted to get CONUS right first.”
As this approach progressed, Lockheed would hold operational readiness reviews with the commands, where they would walk commanders through the transition, and they could give the plan a thumbs up or thumbs down, she said.
Some of the commands involved in addition to DISA CONUS are DISA Europe, DISA Pacific, and DISA Central in both Bahrain and Tampa, Fla.
As part of its plan to take on SAIC employees, Lockheed held open houses and conducted interviews. “We wanted to make sure we were selecting the right talent,” she said.
“We have a very strong on boarding process, and we used a lot of communications,” Heise said.
One of the biggest changes for the staff is the shift to a performance-based contract, which required putting more tools and processes in place.
“A lot of tools were there, but they weren’t set up for performance-based contracting,” she said.
Part of it is training – this is what you’ll be measured on, here are when time stamps are going to be taken. “We have to measure every element of the process,” she said.
Lockheed has to meet a requirement of responding and fixing any issue within 18 hours, Heise said.
Right now, a lot of the processes are manual, but over the next two years, the processes will be automated.
Converging operations and cost savings
The goals of the contract include converging operations so DISA customers get the same experience anywhere in the world. All of the commands were doing things differently in the past, Heise said.
And, of course, lowering costs and delivering more capabilities is paramount.
The contract has a high profile within Lockheed and DISA. DISA Director Lt. Gen. Ronnie Hawkins Jr. and Lockheed Martin IS&GS Executive Vice President Sondra Barbour exchange emails every week. Barbour is Heise’s boss’s boss.
“Our partnership with our teammates, AT&T and Xerox, has been vital,” she said. “We are glad the transition is over but there is still work to be done.”
Posted on May 15, 2013 at 12:22 PM0 comments
More details are emerging about furloughs at the Defense Department as the government figures out how to deal with sequestration budget targets.
DOD now expects to furlough 800,000 civilian employees this summer for 11 days, Politico is reporting.
That’s half the number that was expected when sequestration took effect on March 1. Incredibly, two and half months later, major government contractors are still waiting for answers from their customers. Perhaps this is the start of more specific information becoming available.
Many executive are starting to look to fiscal 2014 for the more severe impacts to be felt.
The bottom line is that you had better be ready. So I thought I’d remind readers about Mark Hoover’s article from late April reviewing critical questions to ask customers about furloughs.
The best advice is to get out in front of your customers, particularly with contracting officers, who control the purse strings.
Questions to ask include:
- Can work take place while civilian workers are on furlough?
- Can work be accepted?
- Will you have access to perform work?
That’s just a start of course. And remember there is no single answer that applies across all customers, so you need to get out and ask each customer.
And to sound like a broken record – talk to those contracting officers. They are the only ones who can obligate the government.
Posted on May 14, 2013 at 12:54 PM1 comments
I feel very fortunate to have the parents I do, and since Mother’s Day is rapidly approaching, I thought I’d talk about some lessons my mom has taught me over the years.
The first, of course, is about love. It might sound a little gross, but when we were kids, my mom used to say: “I would take the food out of my mouth to feed you.” My mom came to the United States from Greece when she was 20, so it helps to hear that line with the appropriate accent -- and hand gestures.
My mom is a very demonstrative person. There are lots of hugs in my family. When my brother, Dennis, and I would fight, she would stop us, and then make us kiss each other. Dennis really hated that.
The second lesson is toughness, and I don’t think I’ll ever match her there.
We had a restaurant outside of Luray, Va., just where the highway starts to curl up the west side of the Blue Ridge Mountains. In addition to the restaurant, we had a couple of gas pumps, and a sign that said "Last Gas Before the Mountains." It was a scare tactic for the tourists.
Our house was separated from the restaurant by a gravel parking lot, and one day, I came out of the house to walk to the restaurant when my mom burst out of the back door of the restaurant. She bent down and picked up two handfuls of gravel, and ran around to the other side of the building.
I ran after her, and caught up just in time to see her chucking gravel and yelling, “You sonavabitch” at some guy trying to urinate behind a shed.
Believe me, you don’t mess with Katina.
But the lesson most appropriate for this audience is her business acumen.
Nearly every executive I talk to mentions at some point how change is constant in this market, and that’s true with the food industry as well. There are new competitors and food trends as well. And for the 20 years Mom and Dad were in the business, my mom was in a constant state of study.
What are people eating? What’s the competition doing? Why didn’t this special work? Let’s try this.
She also had a keen operational sense, including how to peel a potato. Too much potato with the skin adds up to pounds of potato lost, especially when you are working with 50 pounds at time.
Slow periods were an opportunity for deep cleaning.
And, of course, there was her record keeping, which wasn’t just about numbers of meals served, but also about weather conditions and information on events happening at the time. Multiple factors could impact business, and she kept diary of sorts to keep track.
My parents have been out of the restaurant business for 20 years, but they never have really retired, with several apartments that they rent, and with the community service work that they do.
Mom doesn’t like computers, but give her a piece of paper and a pencil, and she’ll figure it out, whether it is what to charge per meal at the hospital fundraiser, or how to finance a new line of credit for the apartments. Her methods might not be textbook perfect, but you can’t argue with the results.
She and my dad set a high bar, especially in the area of hard work. I tried to match that when I went to work full-time for them at the restaurant. I was in my 20s, and they were in their 50s. I could barely keep up. I still marvel at all that my mom is able to do as she approaches 80.
Even though I didn’t stick with the restaurant business, I want to say thanks to my mom for the heart, the passion and the lessons.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.
Posted on May 10, 2013 at 7:22 AM1 comments