Harris IT spinoff takes on new name

After about three months with no permanent identity, the former Harris IT business has now christened itself Peraton. Its CEO Stu Shea takes us further inside the company's new era.

After about three months as a company without a name, the former Harris Corp. IT business has now christened itself as Peraton.

Harris sold the almost $1 billion business in April to Veritas Capital for $690 million.

Stu Shea came on board as CEO in June with the goal of creating a new company. Since then, he’s been making strategic hires as well as well as working on the name of the company.

“I like to tell people that we are a 125-year old start up,” Shea told Washington Technology. Alfred Harris founded Harris Corp. in 1895.

I don’t envy the challenge of creating a new name and brand in today’s market. There is the risk of ridicule and confusion. We’ve all seen names that are hard to decipher.

Not to pick on anyone, but I’m still don’t know how the combination of Computer Sciences Corp. and HPE Enterprise Services became DXC Technologies.

Shea should not have that problem with Peraton because it is relatively easy to explain, he says. It is a melding of the pre-fix "Per," which means thoroughly and imperative. The idea is to reflect the company’s dedication to the mission of its national security customers.

“Our vision for this company is focused on three things – solving customer problems, creating solutions for our customers and managing our customers’ most valuable assets,” Shea said. “We needed a name that reflected that.”

The company has launched a website at www.peraton.com that it will continue to build out. There also is a Facebook page, a LinkedIn profile and Twitter account (@peratoninc).

The name is just the start, of course.

Shea and his management team are putting together a strategy on how best to apply Peraton’s capabilities to opportunities in the federal market. The focus is on space, intelligence, cyber and signal intelligence, homeland security, defense and communications.

While the company isn’t necessarily structured around those market areas, they will dictate how the company is eventually structured, he said.

“You’ll see structural change in the coming months and you’ll see all of these have a major role in that,” he said.

For example, the company has six operating units and nearly all of them have cybersecurity capabilities. “We probably have $100 million in cyber business,” he said. “But you wouldn’t know how deep our capabilities are.”

With cyber spread out, it was never a large enough part of any one manager’s portfolio to get the attention it deserves, he said.

Space also is divided among different operating units. “We probably have $300 million in our space business,” Shea said.

Space, intelligence and cyber are three areas that will be getting the most attention. “Those are emerging domains where we see a lot of opportunity,” he said.

Harris Corp. made several acquisitions, particularly Exelis and CapRock Communications. Parts of those companies found their way into Harris IT but were never truly integrated, so that is a priority for Shea and his management as well.

The opportunity to create something new is what drew Shea to the former Harris business.

“We have a lot of legacy and we have a lot of capabilities to stitch together in new and different ways,” he said.

And now they have a name to try to live up to.

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