Top 100: HP focuses on matching solutions, customers

Hewlett-Packard Co. faced several critical recompetes last year, including the $5 billion Navy NGEN contract. Its success rate has public sector leader Marilyn Crouther feeling confident as the market moves forward.

Last year, Hewlett-Packard Co. faced as a big of a recompete as any company could possibly imagine: the follow-on to the Navy Marine Corps Intranet contract.

Worth $5 billion, the contract now known as the Navy Next Generation Enterprise Network, or NGEN, had an added wrinkle from its predecessor NMCI. This time around, the contract was being competed as a lowest price, technically acceptable contract.

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HP faced off against a team led by Computer Sciences Corp. and Harris Corp and won, and then survived a round a bid protests.

While its scale as an LPTA contract is huge, the contract reflects the current state of the federal market and reinforces a reality that HP has embraced under its public sector leader, Marilyn Crouther.

“In the public sector today with the frequency of recompetes, you really need to manage costs and make that part of your culture and the fabric of how you do business,” said Crouther, SVP and general manager, HP Enterprise Services public sector.

But cost isn’t just about low price for HP, No. 6 on the Top 100 with $4.1 billion in prime contracts. It’s about bringing innovation that solves customer problems.

Whether it is NGEN or other contracts, the business environment today requires that “we work with our clients constantly on how to spend less and be more efficient,” she said.

A big part of that is helping customers shift from a traditional style of consuming IT to a new style that is more consumption based, Crouther said.

“A lot of public sector clients have aging infrastructure that they’d like to move to the cloud, and we are helping them detail out a transformation agenda and develop an IT road map,” she said. “That’s where we can add a lot of value.”

While HP didn’t undergo a major restructuring or reshaping of its business, it has put an emphasis on leading with solutions.

“We’ve aligned our CTOs to our market facing teams,” Crouther said. “It’s not a big change in terms of organization, but it’s a big change in prioritization and focus and how to bring innovation that is effective from a cost perspective.”

In addition to the move to the cloud, HP is also focused on solutions around Health IT, mobility, data analytics and security, she said.

“We have practice areas around all of those, but it isn’t because they are industry buzzwords, but because as we move to a new style of IT, those are the technologies that enable more productive workforce and a better use of funding,” Crouther said.

It’s important to make a focus on innovation and affordability a part of a company’s culture, she said.

Innovation has to come from the ground up. “ A lot of the things we’ve done started as small ideas that people saw in their workplace that would make their life easier and deliver faster to the customer,” she said.

The company has what she called a “service delivery excellence review” to look at new ideas for solutions and processes and leverage them across different clients, Crouther said.

HP has also benefit from greater acceptance of commercial technologies and practices in the government.

“With severe budget constraints, there is more inclination to share lessons learned and leverage best practices, Crouther said.

The focus has to be on delighting the customer, she said, but the challenge is what is required to delight the customer changes.

“You have to make sure their constituency, their end user, is better served, but it changes because there is an expectation of continuous improvement, so you need to be able to respond quickly,” she said.

Crouther points to several successful contract awards in addition to the NGEN win as evidence that the company has the trust of its customers. These include wins such as the Homeland Security Department’s Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation contract for cybersecurity services. The company has won the first task order under the contract for $32.4 million task to supply security product licenses.

HP also won work with the Defense Manpower Data Center and Veterans Affairs. The VA contract is worth $543 million and is for an integrated real time asset location system.

One thing that is significant about both contracts is that they are with existing customers.

“It is important to win all our recompetes so that customers continue to have confidence in use,” Crouther said. “Winning a recompete is the highest compliment.”

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