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By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

What Palantir's latest win says about the competitive landscape

Palantir Technologies has captured an initial one-year, $111 million Army contract to create a single dashboard that will pull together data from human resources, supply chains and other operations.

Accenture, Deloitte, Ernst & Young and Microsoft were the other bidders, according to a report by Bloomberg News. The companies were picked for an Other Transaction Authority vehicle in August 2018 that was used to award this work.

The work is known as the Army Leader Dashboard as well as Vantage, according to the Washington Post.

"With Vantage, the Arm will be able to integrate the data from thousands of systems that currently support the Army to make key decisions and better understand the current and predicted future of the force," a Palantir spokeswoman told Washington Technology.

The win is also interesting  from my perspective for a couple other reasons. Bloomberg reports that it will represent 10 percent of Palantir’s revenue next year. The contract's ceiling value is $440 million over up to four years.

That 10-percent number means Palantir is above $1 billion in annual revenue with much of that from government customers. While looked at as an upstart, Palantir has established itself as a player in the government market over the last 15 years.

Palantir has been all in on the government market, despite its Silicon Valley roots and now it looks like it has built a substantial business.

 “We started Palantir in 2004 to help the warfighter and solve difficult problems,” Doug Philoppone, head of Palantir’s global defense business told Bloomberg in a statement.

A second item of note is the group of companies it apparently beat to win the contract. None of those firms that spring to mind as Palantir competitors.

Palantir is a software company steeped in data analytics. Microsoft isn’t too much of a stretch to consider as a competitor. But you typically think of Microsoft as a cloud provider, infrastructure and office collaboration systems.

Accenture, Deloitte and Ernst & Young commonly compete against each other, because they all are management consulting firms that use technology to enable their solutions. You don’t usually think of them as Palantir competitors.

But Palantir has never been one to shy away from being the unconventional competitor.

Their most high-profile win to date is the right to bid for work on the Army’s Distributed Common Ground System that is used to aggregate and share intelligence. Raytheon was the lead developer for over a decade. When the Army tried to make the recompete another customized software project, Palantir argued the Army should consider a commercial solution. They took the Army to court and won.

Fast forward to today: Palantir and Raytheon, which has since developed its own commercial product, compete for Army DCGS task orders. Who won the first order? Palantir.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Dec 16, 2019 at 6:33 PM


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