CSRA marks first anniversary with focus on the future
When CSRA Inc. celebrated its one-year anniversary on Nov. 30, CEO Larry Prior was at AWS re:Invent in Seattle learning about more ways the company can leverage cloud services.
The company’s chief financial officer, David Keffer, and general counsel, William Haynes, were in New York on business. But there were cakes at the headquarters in Falls Church, Va., and at a major facility in Westfields, Va., to mark the occasion.
All in all, it was low-key anniversary for one of the biggest deals in the federal market -- the simultaneous spin out of Computer Sciences Corp.’s government business and its melding with SRA International.
Sitting in a corner conference room adjacent to his cubicle – yes, the CEO of $5 billion company sits in a cubicle – Prior shared where the company has been and what is ahead.
“Culture really is job No. 1,” Prior said. The company celebrates birthdays, Halloween and this year, it’ll celebrate Fesitivus, the fake holiday from the Seinfeld TV show. It also hosts pot lucks. “We want to celebrate our people,” he said.
But the activities aren’t just about making people feel good. There is a business payoff as well. Prior and his leadership team want people to play well but also to work well together. And in a market increasingly dependent on DevOps and Agile development, the ability to work well together and collaborate is critical.
“It all helps,” he said. “The building of culture is a continual process.”
The building of the CSRA culture has been helped by some contract wins such as a $73 million contract to manage cloud services for Veterans Affairs and a shared services contract with the Commerce Department. There also are growing partnerships with leading commercial vendors of cloud and IT infrastructure solutions such as AWS, Azure, ServiceNow, and Docker.
“We are really seeing the government move more toward software as a service and managed services,” Prior said.
During our conversation, he often described CSRA as a bridge, connecting commercial technology companies and startups with promising solutions to the federal market. I wrote recently about a technology showcase the company hosted for its own employees to introduce them several new companies as potential partners.
The company puts a lot of energy into developing partnerships with companies that aren’t traditionally in the federal space. They are constantly on the hunt for new technologies particularly ones that push forward the concept of next generation IT.
They find these companies multiple ways including their customers and their staff of chief technology officers. But they also rely on their rank-and-file employees.
CSRA has created what they call community of interests around six topics:
- Data analytics
- Digital platforms
- Business process systems
- Business solutions
- Cybersecurity and privacy
Underneath those six are 23 subgroups. More than 600 CSRA employees have joined the groups to share ideas, brainstorm and dive deeper into those topics.
“We wanted to figure out a way to crowd source a new great idea,” Prior said.
It is part of the ethos Prior and his team are trying to foster that the best idea wins, he said.
The company also continues to partner with other traditional systems integrators. Here they looking for best in breed type of companies.
“Look at the investments CACI has made in intelligence and their ‘ever vigilant’ moto,” he said. “We are partnering with them.”
Booz Allen Hamilton is another example because of their top flight capabilities around management consulting, he said.
The company also has close partnerships with HP Enterprise, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman.
Several of these partnerships focus on one major procurement that is on the horizon – the recompete of the National Security Agency’s Groundbreaker contract CSRA first won in 2001 when it was CSC. NSA is taking a different tack this time and has divided the $5 billion contract into several somewhat smaller ones.
CSRA is priming a portion known as Greenway to manage IT systems for NSA along with its partner Northrop Grumman on what is known as the Eagle Alliance team. They’ll be going head to head against General Dynamics.
The company also is on HPE’s team that is competing against AT&T for another portion of the work. The company also is on both the CACI team and the ManTech International team, which are competing with each other for a related global support contract.
Awards aren’t expected until sometime next year.
Prior also sees potential opportunities being driven by the Donald Trump administration, particularly around homeland security, health care and IT modernization.
On the eve of the company’s first anniversary, they received some good news when its largest single shareholder, Providence Equity, sold its stake in the company.
This is significant because Providence was the owner of SRA, and it held about 15 percent of the shares in the company.
The sale, which was completed on Nov. 21 “removed a large overhang for us,” Prior said. Providence was always expect to sell and now that it has, company leaders don’t have to worry about that anymore, he said.
The focus now is on organic growth and continuing to pay down debt, which it has been doing, Prior said.
Posted by Nick Wakeman on Dec 09, 2016 at 10:35 AM