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By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

5 takeaways from the 2019 Top 100

The annual Washington Technology Top 100 rankings are a great barometer for the market and a great way to keep up with the major trends driving opportunities in the government contracting space.

Based on our interviews, research, our Top 100 executive event and our Top 100 webcast, here are five key takeaways from the 2019 Top 100 has taught me.

Change and Stability

We had 11 new companies on the list this year and of those 11, 10 found themselves in the bottom 20 of the top 100. It is hard to unseat a Top 100 company especially when they get into the top 50. Only one company cracked the top 25 this year – Maximus – and they acquired the call center business from General Dynamics that added about $800 million in revenue.

And it doesn’t take long to look at the 2019 rankings and see more changes afoot when you consider that Jacobs Engineering (No. 11) is buying KeyW (No. 92), United Technologies Corp. (No. 27) and Raytheon (No. 5) are merging, and so are Harris Corp. (No. 13) and L3 Technologies (No. 18). Serco Inc. (No. 39) is buying the Navy business of Alion Science and Technologies (No. 31.)

Some big changes are under foot.

Growth, Growth, Growth

The aggregate prime contracts for the Top 100 went up $10 billion from 2018, hitting $115.4 billion. That’s the third year in a row of growth and the biggest increase. From our conversations with executives across the Top 100, we expect 2019 to be another strong year of growth for the market.

What happens beyond 2019 is anyone’s guess. It’ll depend on when a budget deal is passed and what that deal includes. Given that we are headed into an election year in 2020, the expectation is that no one wants to shut the government down or impose drastic cuts to domestic spending. Defense spending continues to enjoy strong bipartisan support.

Transformative Technologies

Government customers have an appetite for change and a desire to adopt new ways of doing business. They want technologies that can improve their security posture as well as bring more efficiency and effectiveness. Government contractors are happy to oblige.

The hot areas are no real surprise – the cloud, mobility, modernization, cybersecurity and data analytics. There also are high expectations that we’ll see more opportunities related to artificial intelligence and machine learning.

It’s All About the Mission

As the agencies look toward new technologies, it creates a great opportunity for contractors to get closer to their customers and understand what their pain points are. That kind of engagement will guide the kind of solutions contractors develop and offer their customers.

Getting close to your customer’s mission also increases your stickiness to that customer. The more you understand about what you customer needs, the more they come to rely on you to carry out their mission.

More Than Ever, It’s a People Industry

At our Washington Technology event last week we had five senior executives from Top 100 companies and they spoke about their strategies and how they are positioning themselves in the market. I was listening for common themes. Perhaps they were all targeting emerging technologies, or a shift to new business models. And there was a lot of that, but the biggest thing they had in common was how critical workforce issues are.

This not just finding enough people to hire but also how your company culture guides your hiring, and how once a person is hired, how do you keep them. Personal and professional development is a top priority for these companies. How the corporation can engender loyalty is critical. The value and power that diversity can bring a company also was discussed.

It was clear that workforce issues are front and center at the very top of the biggest companies in the market. Calling the GovCon market a people business is much more than a cliché.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Jun 26, 2019 at 7:31 AM

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