Agility the difference maker in InfoZen's $208M USCIS win

Last week, InfoZen netted a $208 million contract to support the Citizen and Immigration Services’ Office of Information Technology (USCIS OIT) after SAIC, the incumbent, withdrew its protest.

The contract supports the SPEDI program—Support for Platform Engineering and DevOps Integration—which is meant to help USCIS transition away from the “waterfall” methodology of development into Agile development. InfoZen will be providing the agency with IT expertise, strategic vision and tactical implementation.

Looking at the protest, InfoZen knew that it had won the contract fair and square, said Raj Ananthanpillai, InfoZen chairman, president and chief executive officer.

While Ananthanpillai was not able to speak exactly to why SAIC withdrew, he did explain the difference-maker between a company of SAIC’s size and a company of InfoZen’s size: being agile.

“One of the things that we know these big companies are not terribly good at is working in the agile space,” he said, adding that while big companies can hire consultants, there is a distinct difference between that and a company like InfoZen, whose entire organization is set up in a way that utilizes agility to get things done fast.

“The entire company has to be agile,” Ananthanpillai said, “contract management, program management, financial management, the whole nine yards.”

But it helped, he added, that this was not InfoZen’s first rodeo, referencing a November 2014 protest win of a $212 million TSA contract to support the agency’s screening and credentialing system.

Anathanpillai offered up an example; “Let’s say you have a project team that’s agile working on a customer site, and they need some decisions made. That requires someone above the program manager,” he said. “By the time that gets through the chain of command and back, days will go by.

What InfoZen does is go back to its core principles: customer commitment, employee empowerment, innovation and agility, which Anathanpillai said are interrelated. “When you’re agile, you innovate. When you innovate, you empower the employees on the ground.” This is a recipe that will result in customers’ requirements being satisfied naturally, he added.

This strategy goes hand-in-hand with what USCIS OIT CIO Mark Schwartz, known in the federal government as a “change agent,” Anathanpillai said, is trying to accomplish. “He wants to bring in agile methods to actually solve the problem.”

With IT modernization being top of mind across the entire federal government, InfoZen has in front of it a ripe market filled with opportunities, and going forward, Anathanpillai said that his company will continue to chase after similar large contracts.

About the Author

Mark Hoover is a senior staff writer with Washington Technology. You can contact him at, or connect with him on Twitter at @mhooverWT.

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