CGI Federal Inc. was a big winner in recent weeks with a $395 million nod from the State Department and USAID, and although four pairs makes for a suspicious-sounding poker hand, four contractors weren’t complaining.
CGI Federal Inc. was a big winner in recent weeks with a $395 million nod from the State Department and USAID, and although four pairs makes for a suspicious sounding poker hand, four contractors weren’t complaining.
Computer Sciences Corp., General Dynamics Corp., Lockheed Martin Corp. and Serco Inc. all doubled up on contract awards. CSC won two Army contract modifications worth a combined $261 million for new information technology and logistics services.
General Dynamics brought home five-year contracts from the Army for $387 million to provide technical support and training advisory services and $154 million to provide medical technical expertise.
Lockheed Martin won a $230 million contract extension from NASA to continue providing computer services and a $30.8 million vote of confidence to continue to work with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency on a governmentwide cybersecurity initiative.
Serco Inc. was all about traffic and civilian agencies, with a five-year, $170 million contract to support the Federal Aviation Administration and a $50 million contract, also over five years, to support Georgia’s Transportation Department.
Money in Financing
Under a $395 million, 10-year blanket purchasing agreement, CGI will provide systems integration and consulting services and support for more than 5,000 State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development users of the Joint Financial Management System (JFMS) at more than 300 posts and missions around the world.
The award won’t cause a ripple in the workday for staff at the two agencies or CGI. “We’ve been helping develop and implement financial systems — implementing the payroll system worldwide — at State since the 1980s,” said Tim Hurlebaus, a CGI Federal vice president. “Since then, we’ve been involved both in the [JFMS] overseas and domestic accounting systems.” The global platform is based on CGI’s Momentum software.
If that sounds like green eyeshades in the sedate offices of an agency whose business model was created by the nation’s first secretary of state, Thomas Jefferson, you are so out of touch.
This is the new State Department, the one that nearly two years ago began using Web 2.0 tools, such as the enterprise wiki Diplopedia for cross-boundary collaboration, that started encouraging blogs — the one by the deputy chief of mission in Mexico City was a real firestarter — and developed a strategy for making knowledge sharing part of its daily workflow. This is a much more technologically literate customer than that of old.
“Absolutely,” Hurlebaus said. “They’ve been talking more about new technology capabilities, what other agencies are rolling out.”
During the 10 years of this new contract, “our goals are threefold," Hurlebaus said. First is to continue modernization efforts. Annual updates to Momentum, on which JFMS is based, help agencies that are customers keep current with new regulations. Both State and USAID are slated for upgrades to newer versions.
“Second is provide business information and financial data in a more transparent and timely manner to decision-makers,” Hurlebaus said. “We want to ensure that we’re delivering useful information, not just data. For example, if I’m managing a post in some region for USAID or State and I’m trying to understand what a good baseline is for my spending on physical security, I’ve got historical data, but it’s very useful for me to be able to pop into a dashboard and be able to compare that with what other posts are spending.”
Third is lowering the agencies’ total cost of ownership. “We’ll be looking at different business areas and seeing where State and USAID can realize some cost savings,” he said, including “how we deliver services.” When the company first implemented Momentum, staff members traveled around the world for training. Now much of the training is done, together with the agencies, via e-learning. Posts that don’t have broadband or that have unreliable connectivity get the tutorials on disk.
Ring the New Bell Softly
As an IT company, CGI must stay up-to-date with security and other technological developments, Hurlebaus said. “We need to continue to evolve, to push forward and take advantage of new technology and business processes, but at a pace that’s right for each agency — that’s the challenge.”
One way to help agencies determine the pace is “by bringing the best ideas from all of the agencies we work with to each other agency,” he said.
CGI also brings agency representatives in groups to discuss future requirements. “We’ve found that this kind of collaborative conversation is a more effective way to find out what they need,” he said, “and we want to include what matters to them.”