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By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

Special Ops focus helps small biz take down bigger players

As you can imagine I often get the pitch from small and mid-size companies that they take on and beat the giants of the industry.

That was the gist of a pitch I got from ARMA Global a couple months ago. The leadership of the Tampa, Fla., company was in town and we met for a briefing.

CEO Todd Schweitzer talked about how with their focus on the U.S. Special Operations Command – USSOCOM – ARMA was battling some of the biggest companies in the market and winning.

As the meeting broke up, he promised he’d be in touch with a big win soon.

I’ve heard that before too and often that’s the last I hear from a company, but not so with ARMA.

One of their biggest wins in their five-year history cleared the bid protest period – none filed – in early January and the company is going to work on a three-year, $110 million contract with USSOCOM  to manage and refresh its data centers.

“This will put us at 900 people globally and we’ll be USSOCOM’s largest IT provider,” Schweitzer said. The company will likely add 270 new employees as it ramps up the contract.

The work is being moved from Hewlett-Packard Co., the incumbent, to ARMA, and the company will provide operations and maintenance, architecture and engineering and data center consolidation services. Another goal is to build the infrastructure so USSOCOM can roll out new information and data services globally, he said.

“Mobility is No. 1,” he said. “They want to be able to get the right information to the right place and right person at the right time.”

The contract was awarded under the SITEC Specialty Services Support contract and ARMA competed against L-3 Communications, General Dynamics IT , SAIC, Dell, Booz Allen Hamilton and DRS Technologies for the datacenter contract.

In fact, the company regularly beats those larger Top 100 companies. According to data from Deltek, ARMA has won 49.9 percent of the task orders awarded under SITEC.

And while Schweitzer and his co-founders James Fugit, president, and Brian Overstreet, chief operating officer, are military veterans, the company doesn’t bid on set-aside contracts, Schweitzer said.

The key to its success, he said, is ARMA’s focus on the Special Operations Command.

“Since 2008, we’ve been focused on USSOCOM and the people and process that support USSOCOM,” he said.

ARMA’s lines of business include professional services, defense and peacekeeping operations and systems integration.

Two years ago, the company began building the infrastructure to support a large business, such as back office and bid and proposal capabilities, but it has kept its structure flat so it can respond quickly to customer demands, another key to its success, he said.

The company delegates as much decision-making authority it can down to its field operations to increase efficiency and response times. “We (the senior management team) also get out on the street and talk to customers,” Schweitzer said.

The result has been good results on its contracts, which translates into good past performance scores when it bids on new work, he said.

The USSOCOM data center contract isn’t an end to itself. The company is gearing up for other competitions.

A recompete of the SITEC Specialty Services contract is expected next year and this spring the request for proposals is expected for the $1.5 billion for the SOCOM Wide Mission Support contract, known as SWMS.

ARMA won’t tread far from USSOCOM as it grows towards its goal of 2,000 employees. “We have good past performance and a good strategy,” Schweitzer said. “We plan to be here.”

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Feb 06, 2014 at 9:25 AM

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