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By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

7 things to know about CSRA

Our Insider Power Breakfast with the CEO of CSRA and a couple of his senior staffers offered a great opportunity for insights into this new entity in the market and the trends and opportunities they see ahead.

Joining CEO Larry Prior were Yogesh Khanna, CSRA chief technology officer, and Peter O’Donoghue, vice president of new business solutions and alliances. For those not familiar, CSRA was created when CSC spun out its public sector business and merged SRA into it. The spinout and the merger were closed within days of each other.

Washington Technology declared it the single biggest deal of 2015.

While I can’t offer a verbatim transcript of this morning’s event, here are some of the highlights. I’ll call it "Seven Things to Know About CSRA."

Next Generation IT is their key offering and growth driving going forward. So, what is Next Generation IT? It’s X-as-a-service, it’s the cloud, it’s robust dev-ops, it’s Agile development, it’s open source and it’s transparency with the customer.

Partnering and Alliance. To make Next Gen IT a reality, CSRA has built more partnerships and alliances with technology vendors, companies like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Red Hat, Brocade and others. Traditional IT services partners still play a role but they need to bring domain expertise and/or customer relationships.

Cost and efficiency. This is a driver across the market, but CSRA has taken a unique approach – and one only large businesses can probably pursue – in creating the Integrated Technology Center in Bossier City, La. Right now, it has about 300 employees but expects to grow to 1,500 by fiscal 2018. It is part data center, part service center and part development center. But it has allowed CSRA to tap a less expensive labor market.

Integration of SRA and CSC. It started with gathering the top 100 employees of each company and getting them face to face. SRA has deep change management skills so they led the formal process. An early step was recognizing differences. CSC was very centralized while SRA was not. CSRA has adopted more of the decentralized SRA approach, but has layered on the reporting and oversight of CSC.

Hearing the Customers Voice. This came up several times during the discussion, and while this is the responsibility of everyone in the company, it starts with line managers, who have the most direct contact. But it is more than just listening; it is also about guiding conversations to help customers discover how they can solve their problems.

Business Development. A clear sign of the integration of the two companies is that SRA alumni run the business development organization. George Batsakis is the chief growth officer and runs BD. He was a seven-year veteran of SRA and most recently ran the company’s national security group. The lead BD person for each CSRA group came from SRA. BD also is worth pointing out because the two companies had different mindsets. CSC was good at bidding and winning large deals, but SRA was much better at winning lots of smaller deals. At CSRA, they’ll do both. It sounds like the SRA folks have the mandate to take the larger CSC capabilities to the many smaller customers they have. Prior and company didn’t use this term, but it sounds like an up sell opportunity.

Signs of Success. This was probably the easiest question I asked, but it’s worth noting Prior’s response. Shareholder value and financial results were last on his list of three. Before that, he listed the growing adoption of next generation IT and employees who are passionate about the company and the customer. If those two things happen, the financial returns will follow.

Overall, I think the event was a great success, and hopefully we’ll do more in the future. I can’t close this without a shout out to our two sponsors: KMPG and Stone Key Group, who served as advisors to CSC during the transaction with SRA.

The event was free for WT Insider members and non-members had to pay a fee. If you are interested in becoming an Insider, please click here. Excuse my shameless plug.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Apr 19, 2016 at 11:20 AM


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