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By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

Next steps for the new CSRA

CSRA Inc. may have passed one significant milestone this week when it launched as a public company on Monday, but according to CEO Larry Prior, there is still plenty of work ahead.

He’s put in place the senior management team that will report to him. The group pulls together executives from Computer Sciences Corp.’s public sector business as well as some execs from SRA International.

“I stole a line from SRA’s cover values,” Prior said of how he is merging CSC’s public sector and SRA into the new CSRA. “The best idea wins.”

The best idea may win, but there is a person behind it. “We’ve tried to be purposeful that the team reflects the depth of talent of both companies,” he said.

With the senior team in place, the focus has turned to the teams underneath those senior leaders and they are using a similar process. “We want the best ideas to win, and you want the talent to champion those ideas,” Prior said.

The layer below the senior team should be in place by early January, Prior said.

“We are spending a lot of time building the team, and I think both companies are excited about building a new company,” he said.

While Prior was leading CSC’s public sector business before the split, he said now that the split is completed, his mind set has changed.

“I have the ability to think principally about my government customers, and I’m not thinking about my commercial parent,” he said. “You can have a laser focus on your government customers.”

The strategy that CSRA will be focused on centers around bringing what Prior calls next generation IT to the market, and that next generation IT is built around cloud-enabled technologies. CSRA has partnerships with cloud technology providers such as Amazon, Microsoft Azure, Oracle, Salesforce.com and ServiceNow.

Prior said CSRA has two primary challenges in the market. “It looks like the market is about to pivot to growth, so you need to think about the timing of that,” he said.

But the second is the adoption rate by government agencies of next generation IT.

“Agencies are coming to grips with next generation IT, which is cloud-based, at different adoption rates,” he said. “So we have to navigate those cultures and help CIOs make that move to the cloud in a confident way that is successful and saves them money.”

Prior said that he expects the adoption rate to accelerate over the coming year, and he points to Amazon’s CIA contract win from 2013 as a major milestone for next generation IT.

“When Amazon landed at the CIA, the tectonic plates shifted forevermore,” he said.

Since then, other commercial cloud providers have been aggressive in bringing solutions to the government market and forming partnerships with companies such as CSRA.

The role for CSRA in this transition is to bring together its customer knowledge, a passion for enterprise IT and a “realization that it all has to move to a cloud-enabled next generation environment,” Prior said.

As they make the shift, agencies will gain more capabilities such as better analytics of their large data sets, a more mobile workforce, and “you’ll have the confidence that you are protecting the data and the apps,” he said. “That’s the future.”

One way to CSRA is preparing for that future is by shifting its education benefits to emphasize certifications. “We’ve had a bias toward four-year degrees,” he said. “But now we are going to focus on getting our people tech certs that matter.”

These include certifications on ServiceNow, Amazon and others. The idea is to create more solutions architects. “I have a workforce hungry to make that transition,” he said.

The spinoff from CSC and the addition of SRA has created a company with $5.5 billion in annual revenue, and while consolidation is rampant across the government market, don’t look to CSRA to make any more deals anytime soon.

Integration of SRA is a top priority. “Our focus is on performance and going out and competing for RFPs,” he said. “We have a broad set of next generation IT offerings and wonderful commercial partners. We cover virtually all of the government at an agency and department level. I don’t see too much missing right now.”

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Dec 02, 2015 at 9:32 AM

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