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By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

What PSC's new structure says about today's market

Industry association the Professional Service Council has reorganized its operating model to include two policy councils and three market councils.

The policy councils are the Acquisition and Business Policy Council and the Technology Policy Council. The market councils are the Civilian Agencies Council, the Defense and Intelligence Council and the Council of International Development Companies, which PSC had formed earlier.

The changes include the hiring of David Wennergren as senior vice president of the Technology Policy Council. Alan Chvotkin, executive vice president and counsel, will be the senior staffer directing the Acquisition and Business Policy Council.

PSC President and CEO Stan Soloway said the organization will be hiring senior staff to support the new civilian and defense/intell councils. [Soloway also is a columnist for Washington Technology.]

But PSC actions are more notable for the why than the what, which is why Soloway, Wennergren and Chvotkin pulled together a media briefing to explain the new model.

What they see, and I agree, is that the market place is going through a fundamental shift. A lot of the lines that once separated professional services, from IT services and IT services from technology, etc. are blurring.

There is a convergence going on. The most notable example is cloud computing and the shift to consumption-based buying by the government.

Much of this is driven by budget constraints on the governments part because the dollars aren’t there to make large investments in new infrastructure and new systems. Instead, a consumption model allows them to acquire technology and solutions and pay for it by how much they use instead of by how many hours or services they need or how many PCs, servers and routers are needed.

This is a different business model for both government and industry and one of the goals of PSC’s restructuring is so the organization can help foster changes to policies and procedures that government buyers need and industry needs to participate in this shift.

One thing I found interesting was Soloway’s view that this change isn’t a change to a new steady state; in fact the new steady state is a state of constant change.

PSC needed a structure to keep up with that, but more importantly its members and the government need to be agile and adaptive on a continuous basis.

Another interesting point raised during the briefing is that the convergence going on isn’t just about rapidly changing technology but it’s the rapidly changing application of technology, Soloway said.

A lot of industries now rely on technology to deliver their products and services and how they are delivering. These companies don’t develop technology but access it either through buying it or bringing in a partner and Soloway said how these companies accessing technology is changing.

Cloud computing is the prime example, but there are issues and challenges to be worked out such as how to price for it or how to budget for it? “It is very different model,” he said.

And the changes affect both government contractors and government agencies.

PSC wants to play a role as a central place where industry and government can step back and look at the whole picture, rather than just sectors. The association will be involved in both advocacy work as well as being a thought leader on these issues, Soloway said.

“We needed to expand our capabilities,” he said.

The real takeaway, though, is the changing face of the market, including government, contractors and the boarder commercial world. PSC is adjusting to that as well as trying to get ahead of the curve.

The convergence taking place are for the long term, not two years or three, but 10 and 20.

Whether you are an association or a company trying to do business with the government, the ability to anticipate and change is paramount for success.

The biggest challenge will be how to get the government to change and adapt at the same time and embrace new ways of buying, becoming more agile, and adapting its workforce model.

Soloway and company say that a lot of what needs to be done already exists in government regulations, so the opportunity and challenge is to show them the way.


Posted by Nick Wakeman on Jun 20, 2014 at 9:24 AM

Reader Comments

Fri, Jun 20, 2014 Mel Ostrow

What PSC new structure says about the industry: over time, contractors become more and more like their clients. In this case, lots of new organization, extreme blurring of decision making responsibility, lots of new titles, and lots of little cheeses floating to the top of the cold soup or slurry. Am surprised Stan and crew opted for the mega-structural change approach. Maybe it is member-pleasing, but will vastly slow down and complicate the Council's previously effective way of doing business. Too bad.

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