Guident rides small wins to big growth

Company continues streak of fast-paced success

Lots of government contractors boast large, multimillion dollar contracts. But it’s the small stuff that has helped Guident Technologies achieve a compound annual growth rate of 68.04 percent over five years.

The company based in Herndon, Va., which has been on Washington Technology’s Fast 50 for several years, landed at No. 44 this year. The company works with 20 different government agencies, and each has awarded the company IT services contracts worth $2 million to $8 million. The consulting firm, which provides business intelligence, management consulting and systems engineering services, expects to hit more than $50 million in revenue this year, up from the $43 million it posted in 2009. And the target for 2011 is $60 million.

“It boils down to making sure we provide a quality service to our customers,” said Dan Ackerman, executive vice president and partner at Guident. “We have to rely on that to grow.”

One of the company’s recent wins was a contract with the U.S. courts system to provide life cycle data warehousing and business intelligence support to the New Streamline Timely Access to Statistics application. The five-year contract is worth about $8.3 million.

Meanwhile, the company also has recently won some larger contracts. In June, the company won a blanket purchase agreement from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to provide IT support services to maintain and enhance the agency’s enterprisewide data warehouse. The contract has a potential value of $22 million.

The Health and Human Services Department also hired the company on a larger contract to provide business intelligence and database support services. The five-year contract has a potential value of $90 million.

The company's other government customers include the Army, Agriculture Department, Defense Department, Interior Department, Homeland Security Department and Transportation Department.

But with growth comes problems. And one of the company’s biggest hurdles is finding talent. Guident hires about 10 people per week, and one of the hardest skills to find is business intelligence.

“Finding the right people for the right jobs has always been a challenge,” Ackerman said. “We’re a consulting company, and in order to grow, our employees have to grow lock and step with our revenue.”

In addition, Guident is making sure it pursues the right contracts. The company is too large to be considered a small business and too small to have the necessary resources to go after larger contracts. The company competes only for contracts for which the customer knows its work and Guident can prove it offers something that the competition cannot.

The company also worries about the increased competition in the government marketplace. Ackerman said a lot of commercial companies have been jumping into the market, crowding it even further.

Despite its growing pains, the company is focused on expanding into other business areas, including security and virtualization, data analytics and data management. The strategy is to pick solutions that Guident can build in-house and demonstrate to clients before they even start to look for a solution.

“We’re presenting the solution before they tell us the problem,” Ackerman added.

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