Spinoff takes on business intelligence market
Divestiture creates opportunity for Qlarion to pursue federal opportunities
- By David Hubler
- Aug 02, 2010
Qlarion Inc. is only a few months old, but already it has contracts with federal agencies, government-sponsored enterprises and commercial organizations that support the public sector.
The provider of business intelligence, based in Arlington, Va., was created when CadenceQuest Inc. earlier this year agreed to sell its retail-sector software assets to Accenture and spin off its government solutions unit as an independent company.
The acquisition was completed in June.
“CadenceQuest’s public-sector business has separated out and will operate as a distinct and independent business going forward," Jake Bittner, Qlarion president and chief executive officer, wrote by way of introducing the
new company on its Web site. "This business has been renamed Qlarion, meaning clear and bright,”
“What this means,” Bittner said, “is that our public-sector clients – government agencies, government-sponsored enterprises and commercial organizations that support the public-sector mission – will have our complete focus going forward.”
He added that Qlarion also will “bring additional resources to bear that we believe will deliver even greater results and capabilities to our clients.”
Bittner, a business intelligence expert, joined CadenceQuest in February 2010, to prepare for the divestiture.
He previously spent four years each at MicroStrategy Inc. and Informatica Corp. and most recently worked at SAP BusinessObjects, before taking on his new role.
In an interview, Bittner said he will continue Qlarion’s business plan of targeting only the government sector, specifically the federal health care market, law enforcement and homeland security agencies, and federal financial entities such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
“We want to focus on transparency initiatives because it’s a huge opportunity area for what we do,” he said.
So much so, in fact, that Bittner is in a hiring mode, seeking to add another 10 employees by the end of the year to the current 20 former CadenceQuest employees who stayed with the spinoff company.
Bittner said Qlarion focuses on data management, collecting numerous sources of information and analyzing it to build a system that produces insightful and useful data.
Working with various software providers, Qlarion makes the data available to the client’s individual users, he said.
Qlarion’s largest customer is the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
“We have four or five projects up there,” he said, referring to CMS headquarters in Baltimore.
CadenceQuest and now Qlarion have been working with CMS for almost four years, specifically serving three distinct parts of the health care organization: the Office of Information Services, the Office of External Affairs and Beneficiary Services and the Center for Medicare Management.
The company is supplying program management support, as well as analysis, design, development, testing and operational support for several critical CMS business intelligence applications.
Bittner said the work includes assessing the effectiveness of certain therapies and reimbursement polices and assisting in running call center analytics for the 250,000 queries received each day.
Qlarion also inherited management support work for CMS’ National Data Warehouse as well as some contractual services involving business intelligence solutions for the legislative branch of the federal government.
Bittner declined to be more precise about that work because he hasn’t received permission to talk about it publicly.
Qlarion is a subcontractor to some of the largest government integrators, such as Lockheed Martin Corp. and Computer Sciences Corp., on CMS and Education Department contracts.
A General Services Administration Schedule 70 holder, Qlarion has a blanket purchase agreement with the National Institutes of Health for business intelligence and data management consulting services of up to $500,000 per order. In addition, the company also works with the GSA’s Office of Small Business Utilization, which advocates for small, disadvantaged, service-disabled veteran-owned and women-owned businesses.
As a private company, Qlarion won’t disclose its earnings numbers. Bittner said only that current revenue is in the seven figures and the plan is to surpass the $10 million mark in next two to three years.
Surveying the current federal business intelligence climate, Bittner said he is encouraged by the explosive growth of data applications. “It used to be, 10 years ago, ‘how many users do you have?’ ‘We have 100, 150 users.’ Now, it’s almost always 1,000 users at least, if not tens of thousands.”
He said he believes that growth is due to people becoming more comfortable with technology and the increasing sophistication of the software that disseminates business intelligence data in a usable format.
“The more users you have getting the information, the more value there is to the organization, the more important the project becomes,” Bittner said.
Agencies need to invest in measuring those efforts and the accompanying analytics if they want to find the efficiencies the government is demanding, he added. “We’re seeing a lot of that.”
Bittner said new or expected federal fiscal and environmental regulations should provide even more growth opportunities for Qlarion, citing such agencies as the Internal Revenue Service, Securities and Exchange Commission, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., Environmental Protection Agency, and the Interior and Treasury departments.
“All those folks will become good prospects for us,” he said.
David Hubler is the former print managing editor for GCN and senior editor for Washington Technology. He is freelance writer living in Annandale, Va.