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By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

NCI strikes another exclusive AI deal

NCI Information Systems Inc. has formed yet another exclusive alliance with a commercial provider of an artificial intelligence tool. This time with a company called Holonic Technologies Inc.

Holonic has a software tool that can learn any computer language and modernize it by converting it to another language. This is particularly powerful when you are talking about old, legacy code such as COBOL.

Holonic’s proprietary CodeIntent solution joins other exclusive relationships that NCI has signed with Olive (formerly CrossChx) and Tango as part of NCI’s SHAI portfolio. SHAI is NCI’s acronym for Scaling Humans with Artificial Intelligence. Olive brought tools for improving robotic process automation and Tango brings machine learning capabilities for data analytics and real-time decision making.

CodeIntent automatically parses code and pulls it from its programmatic space into the CodeIntent space. This automated process captures 100 percent of the code for languages it has worked with before. For a langauge that is new to CodeIntent, it automatically parses 80 percent to 90 percent. Continued training of the AI by humans brings it to 100 percent. The process also spots security flaws and logic flaws that creep into old legacy systems over time, said Eric Schorvitz, president and CEO of Holonic, of Atlanta.

The human experts fix those problems and then put those fixes back into the CodeIntent platform to continue to train the AI engine, he said.

The next step is to bring the old language into a modern one whether that is something for the cloud or another language such as JAVA. All of that is done automatically, saving a huge amount of time and resources. “That’s where code modernization shows its true value,” Schorvitz said.

That modernization tool is one that NCI believes will gain traction in the federal space, said Paul Dillahay, NCI president and CEO.

NCI and Holonic have been working together for several months. And after NCI learned more about the technology they hired Holonic to modernize some of its own code for an Air Force customer.

“We used that as validation of the technology and we believe that this is truly disruptive technology for our customers who have an abundance of legacy code,” Dillahay said.

NCI will be the only company that can sell Holonic’s CodeIntent product in the federal market.

“As agencies look to move to the cloud, it takes a lot of time and resources because they have to hire someone to modernize their applications, but some of those applications don’t have documentation,” Dillahay said. “This tool allows you to get the documentation because it generates it.”

NCI saw this first hand when Holonic modernized their code for the Air Force client.

“We modernized the code four times faster than the government client thought we could and we found the cost to be 20 percent to 30 percent less than expected,” Dillahay said. The project also retired a lot of risk for the Air Force.

NCI is seeing an increase in solicitations from agencies looking for code refactoring. “The concept is not new but we believe that with Holonic we are the only one to use machine learning and AI as the method to do it as opposed to just translation,” he said. “We think we can be very disruptive.”

NCI has no plans for more of these exclusive AI-related partnerships. “We think we’ve filled out the portfolio with these three exclusive agreements with technologies that are discriminators for us,” Dillahay said. “But we also partner with other AI firms, just not exclusively.”

The company sees its AI pipeline growing even when the customer isn’t specifically asking for AI solutions.

“About every RFP we respond to we propose AI as part of the solution,” Dillahay said. “It might be a staff augmentation bid or a help desk.”

In the coming weeks, the company will be announcing its largest contract win in its history. “We used some of these AI solutions to reduce the cost of the bid and the number of FTEs required. We then put those savings back into the program in higher level services,” Dillahay said. “We staffed some parts of the program with excess resources that would not have been traditionally bid because we had those savings.”

NCI wouldn’t put in a bid like that without first talking to the customer and educating them about the power of its AI solutions.

“If it was a staff augmentation bid and we surprised them with AI, we’d probably lose,” he said.

Dillahay declined to go into more detail on the large win because they don’t have the customer’s permission to announce it.

“I wish I could tell you the program name but I felt I had to at least acknowledge it,” he said. “Because we are having success.”

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Jun 23, 2019 at 9:57 AM

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