Lockheed Martin prepares for new IT era
Company continually builds IT as market blossoms
- By Richard W. Walker
- May 28, 2010
It has been 16 years since Lockheed Martin Corp. emerged as a leading company in the government information technology sector. From today’s perspective, it’s difficult to imagine how different IT was in 1994. For instance, there were only about 1,000 Internet terminals in the world in 1984. By 1992, there were about 1 million Internet devices. And two years ago, that figure passed 1 billion.
“When you look at [those figures], you know we’re moving into an era where every device can have an IP address,” said Linda Gooden, executive vice president at Lockheed Martin’s Information Systems and Global Services business unit. In this era, "there are nearly a billion search requests every day on Google.”
One figure that is sure to please Lockheed Martin is another No. 1 ranking on the Top 100, with $16.7 billion in federal revenues.
In the government market, Lockheed Martin has witnessed the growth of IT from modest back-office functions to enterprisewide saturation. “Today, IT is very much on the front line,” she said.
In the past year, Lockheed Martin has accomplished objectives on three major IT front lines: supporting warfighters, advancing cybersecurity and serving the public, Gooden said.
For warfighters, the company completed a critical design review for the Airborne, Maritime/Fixed Station Joint Tactical Radio System, an encrypted IP network that will link warfighters across more than 100 platforms. In the cybersecurity area, Lockheed Martin established its NextGen Cyber Innovation and Technology Center, which is designed to let the company and its partners and customers collaborate on cyber research and development. And for the public, Lockheed implemented the Decennial Response Integration System, a data processing system for the 2010 census. To date, DRIS has processed more than 90 million census forms.
Looking ahead, Lockheed Martin officials said they believe the company — armed with a balanced portfolio in aeronautics, electronic systems, information systems, global services, and space systems — is well fortified to weather the major challenges that face contractors, including the rough U.S. and global economies and the high costs of ongoing military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, which tend to constrain government spending in other areas.
“When there are challenges, particularly budget challenges, IT is the perfect enabler to drive efficiencies within the system,” Gooden said. “When I think of not only [Lockheed Martin] but our industry peers, most of our customers are asking us to do more with less and do it more affordably.… Our overarching focus in this environment is to deliver solutions and systems that will enable the vision of a secure, affordable government enterprise."
In addition, Lockheed officials are pursuing growth in the United States and abroad in emerging markets, such as health care IT, logistics and sustainment, energy management and renewable power generation, and cybersecurity.
To keep up with the rapidly accelerating pace of technological transformation in recent years, the company has broadened its approach as a government contractor. “More than ever, we’re investing in supporting the government in a number of enablers that look beyond just the systems and look at the people, processes and technology,” Gooden said. “I think that broader perspective is now built into all of our solutions.”
One prime example is the company’s increasing concentration on the importance of the workforce. “We are very focused on having a talented and capable workforce that is agile and adaptable to the challenges,” Gooden said. “The pace of change has increased at such a rate that adaptability and agility have become very important.”
As mobile devices such as smart phones become ubiquitous and cloud computing and virtualization make inroads into the government IT landscape, Lockheed Martin must have not only a workforce that is nimble enough to support the vision of Government 2.0 but also the processes in place to give agencies what they need — and quickly, Gooden said. “We have to get work under contract as quickly as possible…which means that we have to look at our processes to make sure that we are delivering things in a timely manner.”
Gooden said that the government’s acquisition process has become more commercial over time because vehicles such as indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contracts have helped streamline procurement procedures.
“I think that is very positive because it allows the government to acquire the services it needs in a much timelier fashion than, say, 15 or 16 years ago, when generally it would take a year or 18 months to get under contract,” she said.
Richard W. Walker is a freelance writer based in Maryland.