How to react to sequestration? Focus on performance

Though spared sequestration's wrath so far, MicroTech has redoubled its efforts on performance, business development and profitability, says new CFO Lynn Wasylina.

In the middle of March, MicroTech named two new executives to its leadership team in an effort to work through the challenges of sequestration.

At Deltek’s Clarity event last week, MicroTech’s new chief financial officer, Lynn Wasylina, spoke a bit about how the company is fairing so far.

And so far, the company isn’t feeling the pain of sequestration just yet because “we work for organizations that I saw earlier have not been impacted,” Wasylina said.

However, while sequestration has not yet caused the company any real pain, it has caused MicroTech to think about how they do business every day.

“We’re looking at what we’re spending our business development dollars on, we’re focusing on wins that would be strategic for our business, and we’re focusing on bids that we can win, where we see profitability,” Wasylina said.

Lynn Wasylina

MicroTech CFO Lynn Wasylina.

She was referring to an earlier discussion in which Deltek vice president, research, Kevin Plexico spoke of 2014 versus 2013 in terms of discretionary spending, which outlines a distinct set of winners and losers as far as agencies are concerned.

Wasylina went on to talk about how MicroTech wins business; “it’s one thing to win the bid, but you also have to perform,” she said.

“If you want repeat business with the client, if you want to get on a contract that has a base and option years, then the only way to continue with that client is to perform,” she said.

For MicroTech, performing means putting an extra focus on training, and not just conventional training, such as certifications, but focusing also on more internal training and investing in systems.

“If I can make my people more efficient with the systems and provide them more support and tools that can help them analyze the financial impact of every decision we’re making, then it’s going to make us more efficient and more effective,” Wasylina said.

And on the topic of bidding and incumbency, Wasylina went into small business partnerships, which she said play a huge role.

“We’re seeing a lot of very strong small business partners out there, and we’ve done a lot of work on how to best vet a small business partner, particularly if it’s our incumbent work and we’re going to lose 51 percent of it,” Wasylina said.

As far as picking those partners, MicroTech looks for those small businesses that have demonstrated a strong relationship within the client’s space, and that are known for doing similar types of work, which means that they will have the capability to deliver and manage the project once it’s awarded, Wasylina said.

“We want to continue to build and replicate those types of relationships,” she added, especially since those kinds of relationships are mutually beneficial.

“In a lot of cases, it allows us to get a couple of people in the door at some agencies that we may not have had a strong presence in, and it’s the same for small business,” she said. “It allows them to grow and expand their client base."