TOP 100: How SAIC's forward focus captures opportunities today

Science Applications International Corp. is already seeing benefits from hits Ingenuity 2015 strategy as it wins new contracts and customers in the federal market.

Last year was great for Science Applications International Corp., but the company is just as focused on 2025. A refresh to its Ingenuity 2025 strategy that came out last year shows SAIC’s commitment to both its customers and employees.

“I always attribute most, if not all, of our success to our employees. We have an incredible, incredible team of people,” said Nazzic Keene, who was named SAIC’s chief operating officer earlier this month. “The good news for us is it’s not a revolutionary strategy. It really is building on a strategy that has served us well since we spun out [from Leidos in 2013]. It’s just a continued refinement of where we go to market, where we make our strategic decisions and investments, and just really aligned with where our customers are going.”

The refreshed approach focuses on areas such as information technology modernization and troop readiness, allowing “us to narrow in and make sure we’re focused and investing in the right areas for our business,” Keene added.

SAIC had revenue of $4.5 billion in 2017, up from $4.3 billion in 2016. The company sits at No. 11 on the 2017 Washington Technology Top 100 with $2.8 billion in prime contracts.

Signs of the strategy’s success manifest in many ways. One is contract wins. In October 2016, SAIC won a $575 million contract from the U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center to provide program management and technical support on the High Performance Computing Modernization Program. At the start of 2016, the company successfully recompeted a NASA deal to operate the Enterprise Applications Competency Center at the Marshall Space Flight Center. That contract was worth $485 million.

Additionally, about a year ago, U.S. Cyber Command awarded SAIC a prime contract to provide cyber operations support services in a  multiple-award, indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract with a total value of $460 million.

Last month, NASA again chose SAIC for another project: engineering services contract at the Goddard Space Flight Center. The potential $620 million contract is the second iteration of the space agency’s Omnibus Multidiscipline Engineering Services contract.

Other accomplishments from last year that Keene noted include the delivery of 10 Assault Amphibious Vehicle (AAV) prototypes to the Marine Corps as part of a $121.5 million contract the service awarded SAIC in February 2016. This past February, the company released its first Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV) prototype.

“Similar to the focus in AAV and ACV, we do see continued opportunity in our platform modernization, and we did sign a deal last year supporting the MK 48,” she added, referring to the Mark 48 Mod 7 heavyweight torpedo. The Naval Sea Systems Command made that award in November 2016 at a value of more than $383 million, if all options are exercised. “We’re excited to be able to continue to support the forces with the build-out of new technologies.”

That plays into the growth area of troop readiness outlined in Ingenuity 2025. “Troop readiness is one of those areas that is top of mind today and probably will be for years to come,” Keene said. “That really brings in aspects of our solutions and offerings in areas like training and again the platform modernization side.”

Other areas of continuing growth are intelligence and IT modernization, which encompasses emerging technologies such as data analytics and cloud migration. Keene also sees promise in the government’s increasing willingness to use commercial products.

“We do see the federal government looking to buy and acquire proven commercial solutions, and we believe that being a technology integrator positions us well for that maturation when and if it comes,” she said.

Several areas she’s monitoring include the budget, government award delays and slow acquisition cycles.

“As with anybody, we’re paying close attention to the budget and where the budget lines up,” Keene said. “We think we’ve got good alignment between what we’re focused on and where the country will be going.”

The budget could lead to delays and slowdowns, but they can also be tied to issues such as personnel shortages. “That tends to be a challenge that we have to navigate,” she said. “We try to make sure that we have solutions that we can bring to bear, that we can, in key areas, leverage technology to face some of the challenges that face our nation, coupled with a human dynamic.”

Keene is optimistic about 2017. The strategy refresh has generated good morale within the company and aligned the business with customer needs.

“The way that I talk about SAIC sometimes is we have the tremendous benefit of having the legacy and the heritage of a 40-plus-year-old company with the entrepreneurial spirit and drive of a new company, and that combination has served us well and will continue to serve us well,” she said.