How CSC drives growth with commercial know-how

As the government’s interest in buying technology as a service grows, companies such as Computer Sciences Corp. are seeing more opportunities to bring their commercial-world experiences to the federal market.

These days, agencies are not as apt to invest in one-of-a-kind systems. Indeed, the gap between when the private sector gets a new technology and when it arrives at a federal agency is shrinking.

“Since that timeline is shortening, we are much more engaged with our commercial teams in taking their offerings and moving them to the federal space,” said David Zolet, president of business development at CSC’s North American Public Sector.

CSC reached the No. 11 spot on the Top 100 with $3.5 billion in prime contracts.

In the past, large systems integrators with both commercial and government business units kept the units very separate, Zolet said.

“There was such a difference between the commercial and the public-sector markets that they really were different companies,” he said. The government had challenges of its own, such as technology systems that only a single department or agency used. In the private sector, an IT system could be used in several areas or with different customers.

“Now there’s much more reuse between the [private and public] organizations than we were seeing in the past,” he said.

He said CSC has undergone a mental shift in how it approaches the government market because of quickly advancing technology and a desire by federal officials to make their agencies more agile and nimble.

Because agencies want to save money and run more efficient systems, they are focused on cloud computing and data-center consolidation. They turn to companies such as CSC that have a strong track record of doing similar work in the commercial sector, Zolet said. They want companies that have learned their lessons and can bring their capabilities to bear quickly.

He added that agencies want contractors that know what their commercial customers are buying and deploying, not just what technologies are available. “That’s a big deal for us in the public space,” Zolet said.

CSC continues to lead the market among data-center operators and also has capabilities in the virtual desktop arena. CSC launched several cloud-based service offerings, including BizCloud, a private cloud that is billed as a service, and CloudLab, a development and test service delivered via a software-as-a-service model, he said.

CSC is evaluating how the market might be influenced by new priorities from government officials. The company will continue to search for opportunities in the cybersecurity, data-center consolidation, identity management and health care fields, Zolet said.

“We’re rethinking how we view the market through this transition,” he said. However, “we’re not changing.”

In 2010, CSC won $600 million in contract awards in the health care market. Given the interest in cloud technology and the drive for more consolidation, cybersecurity solutions are in high demand, Zolet said. The company also won a number of state and local contracts, including one to help California move to the cloud.

CSC continues to play a big role in helping the Homeland Security Department consolidate its data centers. In addition, the Transportation Security Administration awarded CSC a five-year, $489 million IT Infrastructure Program contract. And the U.S. Army Materiel Command issued two contract modifications to the company so it could continue providing IT and logistics services under the command’s Logistics Modernization Program contract.

The company’s theme for this year is not that different from past years. It involves knowing the customer, delivering services and giving the agency confidence in CSC’s work.

“Program performance and execution are paramount,” Zolet said.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

Reader Comments

Wed, Jun 15, 2011 Jack Marsden

Look at CSC stock. It has tanked. The market sees little further added value in data centers, a crude, low-margin business. CSC is a shadow of what it could have been. Fixating on current contracts misses the point.

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