TOP 100

Top 100: Verizon's new structure enables strategy

Verizon has fit the definition of a company in motion this decade with its acquisitions of AOL and more recently in 2017 the core Internet business of Yahoo that set the stage for an overall restructuring kicked off in the fall of last year.

With an eye toward what many see as the coming “5G era,” Verizon reorganized itself around more of a customer-facing model to replace the prior approach that was centered on products. The new structure sees Verizon operate with three segments: consumer, media and a business group that houses its public sector portfolio.

Its public sector business landed the company at No. 17 on the Washington Technology 2019 Top 100 list with $2.1 billion in prime contract obligations.

How did the old model play out across the telecommunications giant? “Ultimately, multiple touchpoints with the same customers depending on the product tower,” said Mike Maiorana, senior vice president of Verizon’s public sector group.

Then comes the natural follow-up question of how it plays out today and particularly with respect to the organization Maiorana leads.

“We can show up end-to-end with people, products and solutions that understand the specific customer segment and take advantage of the entire Verizon portfolio,” Maiorana said. “We’ve always had dedicated folks in my organization serving the government.”

With the latest change, “we’ve got alignment all the way to the most senior level of the company across all functions,” he added. “We’ll be able to address the customer-specific segment needs and deliver solutions that are aligned to meet the business outcomes of the specific customer set.”

Verizon’s federal business has been on a growth path in the last five years and Maiorana sees what he called “Verizon 2.0” as accelerating that curve, he said.

Among many main items on Verizon’s agenda, perhaps the main priority to keep the federal arm on that growth path is the General Services Administration’s potential 15-year, $50 billion next-generation telecommunications vehicle -- Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions.

Verizon is one of nine carriers on the EIS contract that is the consolidated successor to GSA’s prior big-ticket telco contracts such as Networx and WITS, both of which have runway to 2023 after an extension finalized in December of last year.

Not that the company can sit idly by or is doing so. Verizon secured its EIS authority-to-operate designation in March that formally certifies the company’s back office and business support systems. In practical terms, the ATO lets Verizon and other carriers provide their equipment and related services to agencies under the contract.

But as Maiorana characterized it, EIS is more than simply a telecom vehicle like its predecessors were given the ongoing IT modernization push across so many federal agencies.

“The government has established another pathway for agencies and departments to leverage and procure these capabilities,” Maiorana said, with cloud computing near the top of that list.

“To get significant workload applications into the cloud, you need a dynamic, robust, reliable, secure network to do that.”

Maiorana said the current Networx contract, of which Verizon is the largest holder of, has laid some good groundwork for agencies to acquire some of those new tools through a managed service model.

“With EIS, we now have a long runway to be able to ensure the government has the capabilities they need to deliver the mission of today and certainly well into the future,” he said.

Verizon also has runway to pursue that growth with the ATO designation in tow. Maiorana said the company has ramped up its proposal, capture and engineering teams so they can respond to EIS task order opportunities as they come out.

They have done so as Verizon is seeing more fair opportunitiesand have responded to quite a few of them, Maiorana said. The team is waiting on award decisions by agencies and is also preparing for task orders that are still in the works but still awaiting a solicitation for.

In one instance, Maiorana said the Verizon team worked on one bid over Labor Day weekend last year as that proposal was due shortly thereafter.

“There’s a lot of analysis and assessment that needs to be done. I have empathy for the government people that are involved in these, it’s a tremendous amount of work,”  he said.

Alongside EIS, a second main priority for the Verizon federal business is 5G mobile connectivity to federal agencies for a wide range of applications such as video surveillance, remote communications, disaster recovery and autonomous drone inspections.

Maiorana touted Verizon’s spectrum resources, device offerings, and investments in fiber and other fixed infrastructure as capabilities the company can bring to bear in the future 5G environment.

At the corporate level, Verizon launched four markets for fixed wireless last year. The company rolled out two markets for 5G mobility earlier this year with plans for 20 more to come this year, including Washington, D.C.

“We’re working closely with cities and municipalities across America to densify the infrastructure to be able to have enough nodes to exponentially raise the bandwidth,” Maiorana said.

About the Author

Ross Wilkers is a senior staff writer for Washington Technology. He can be reached at rwilkers@washingtontechnology.com. Follow him on Twitter: @rosswilkers. Also find and connect with him on LinkedIn.

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