Commercial tech disruption just beginning in GovCon market

The signs are clear that the government market is headed toward more commercial technologies, but the disruption is only just beginning.

First, a personal note: It does not matter in the grand scheme of things whether the much-touted “JEDI” acronym stays in or not regarding that Defense Department cloud computing contract.

Or even the other one to watch called “DEOS” for cloud-based email and collaboration tools that are available in the commercial market, not unlike the Microsoft Office 365 or Google environments.

Because names don’t matter. The end game should be very clear by now: the military and DOD community are all going to a commercial cloud environment in some way, shape or form. After all, the intelligence community made the move five years ago when Amazon Web Services won the CIA’s cloud services contract.

As former CSRA CEO Larry Prior said at an August WT breakfast event, Amazon’s win of the CIA cloud contract “absolutely, fundamentally changed the marketplace” and JEDI will also “change the landscape a lot and I can’t predict how yet.”

(End of personal commentary here, now to the actual story)

Several touchpoints came out of the government during 2018 to signal agencies are ready and also being pushed to modernize their technology infrastructures by increasing their reliance on commercially-available tools.

There are, of course, the Defense Department’s pair of big-ticket commercial cloud buys. That thrust extends all across government with various initiatives out of the General Services Administration such as the IT Centers of Excellence and e-commerce platform. So-called “Section 804” acquisitions fall under the umbrella of going faster, specifically for DOD to do more rapid prototyping and buys afterward.

There also is growing prominence of alternative contracting methods such as Other Transaction Authority agreements to get technologies from outside the traditional government market supplier base.

But according to Accenture’s new “State of Federal IT 2018” report, many agencies report still being held back from even the commercial cloud. Fifty-four percent of the 200 federal IT executives surveyed said they run one-fourth or less of their IT infrastructures in a cloud environment.

So what is holding many of them back? Dave McClure, an Accenture Federal Services principal director and former GSA IT executive, said part of the reason is that agency chief information officers are still figuring out which cloud environment and overall solution set suits their needs best.

“I think that shows a little bit of an advancement in the CIO strategies and the government strategies for how they want to go into the cloud,” McClure said. “Those are serious questions that require some thinking through about which cloud environment is best suited, has the right track record (and) has the right kinds of platforms surrounded by applications that make the most sense to hit the ground running.”

Cloud is certainly a large piece of the overall thrust for IT modernization and the push for other technologies such as artificial intelligence, analytics and others.

It is one thing to put in place adoption policies and then adopt those offerings, but accelerating it at the scale of a government agency is another matter.

That “adoption-acceleration curve” as described by Ellen Glover, an ICF executive vice president, translates to a lag between agencies talking about bringing in technologies and then rolling them out for usage.

“I still haven’t seen a huge adoption in using that on what I could call ‘program IT,” or running programs on those kinds of platforms,” Glover said. “I think they’ll make more progress toward that.”

Signs that the curve is moving toward acceleration include purchases of enterprise licenses for certain technologies. Then to “see it for real in a procurement, which is a very late sign,” Glover said.

“By then, you have to have already been demonstrating that you’re faster in that technology and you’re ready to do that, and that’s the dynamic though. So you have to spend a lot of time in talking to them and having conversations to know that they’re far enough along that you’re going to see it in the next RFP, and not have it be a surprise,” she said.

ICF may be one example of a services company that is ready to ride that wave of change and be ahead of it given its almost equal public sector and commercial footprints. But they are far from the only government market player that is thinking through how to do that.

Other government contractors have gone as far to re-wire their businesses in anticipation of a wave of commercial technology adoption by agencies.­­ Boeing and Lockheed Martin have venture capital arms that invest in companies who make technologies perceived as disruptive to the market and to Boeing and Lockheed themselves.

Among the large aerospace-and-defense primes, Raytheon’s government services business has been among the most aggressive in partnering with technology companies not viewed as regular participants in the public sector market.

Dave Wajsgras, president of the Raytheon intelligence, information and services business, said IIS has three options at its disposal to cultivate that ecosystem: partnerships, acquisitions and venture investments like the one it made earlier this year in small satellite company HawkEye 360.

IIS is disrupting itself within a larger blue chip defense company and that process was “clumsy” but necessary to adapt to the changing landscape, Wajsgras said.

“The customer is not just talking about this ‘need for speed,’ they are actually acquiring capabilities that way,” Wajsgras said, citing the 804 reforms and others but also cautioning that they do not work for all acquisitions.

“Even in the traditional processes, they’re doing a pretty good job at taking out a lot of the bureaucracy. So if you don’t disrupt yourselves with bringing these advanced capabilities to the fight, you may or may not be around in a few years from now.”

The federal systems integrator and services provider remains a critical role in helping agencies move to the future regarding their technology environments, according to Tony Bardo of Hughes Network Systems.

Hughes partners with many of the prime carriers on the GSA’s potential 10-year, $50 billion Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions contract that succeeds the Networx vehicle for telecommunications services.

Bardo, assistant vice president of government solutions at Hughes, said EIS can be a prime example of how that SI community can bring their offerings to bear for that next-generation telecom environment.

“There was always this concern that the integrators were saying ‘GSA: you’re not letting us in this business.’ GSA never said that, GSA would always say ‘Here’s the requirement: if you’ve got the infrastructure or way to meet these requirements, we’re not saying anyone can bid or anyone can’t bid.’”

EIS is different than its predecessors given new managed broadband and other technologies and services available today.

Against that backdrop, Bardo said “these systems integrators can be very adept at working with the new tools and partners to put together a solution.”

“Nobody should count them out from providing real value here,” he added.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.