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Nick Wakeman

What Leidos' golden anniversary says about today's market

2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the creation of Leidos and the company has released a video celebrating its creation in 1969 when Robert Beyster founded Science Applications International Corp.

As is well-chronicled, "Old SAIC" became Leidos when it spun out a new business in 2013 and took on that name. That new business is what is now SAIC.

One of my career highlights was getting to meet and interview Beyster a few times. He was a true visionary in addition to being a nice guy.

A 50th anniversary is definitely a significant milestone, but one thing I find interesting is that Leidos isn’t alone.

Let’s put IBM and Booz Allen Hamilton aside for a moment. IBM was founded in 1911 to build tabulating machines. Booz Allen was founded in 1914 as a consulting firm.

The government services industry we know today really got its start in the 1960s.

CACI International was founded in 1962.

ManTech International was founded in 1968.

American Management Systems (now part of CGI Group) was founded in 1970.

Perspecta? Well, take your pick on founding dates inside that company. Is it Hewlett-Packard in 1939? Is it EDS in 1962? Or Lockheed Martin’s Enterprise Integration Group that was found in 1968?

Let’s also put aside the major defense companies. Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, General Dynamics and Boeing all  trace their roots back to being founded during World War I to manufacture airplanes and other weapons systems. They didn’t really start getting into IT until the 1990s.

My point, though, isn’t to offer up a quick history lesson, though it’s always good to have a historical perspective.

Leidos’ anniversary has me thinking of how the market has changed but also how the market has matured.

It’s a theme we’ve visited before with some of John Hillen’s columns and in our Project 38 Podcast interview with Hillen.

Leidos anniversary is a great jumping off point for some of the real strengths of the government market:

Very diverse. Look at our Top 100. You have systems integrators, consultants, value-added resellers, and pure technology companies grabbing positions as leading prime contractors.

Adaptability. Look at Leidos today and compare it to what it was in 2009. Actually, pick any company and do the same exercise. You’ll corporate structures have change, lines of business have changed, and definitely technical capabilities.

Dedication. I think you can go to any of the companies I’ve mentioned above and others I haven’t and they can list off customers and programs they’ve supported for 30 or 40 or even 50 years.

So let’s celebrate Leidos anniversary because it’s a milestone that the whole market can share.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Feb 05, 2019 at 1:47 PM

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