In late February, I had the opportunity to sit down with Jason Kattman, procurement operations branch chief at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and host Francis Rose for an episode of Government Matters “Agency in Motion: USDA” (video below). It was a great discussion on outcome-based procurement, including how relaxing requirements on an employee’s location could help bring the best talent and solutions to the government.
Little did I know then that we were about to head into a global pandemic that would abruptly and fundamentally alter how the world works and almost all of our work locations were about to change.
I saw a meme the other day that asked, “Who in your organization has been responsible for bringing about the most innovation in telework and remote technologies in your company: your CIO, your CTO, or COVID-19?” With due credit to all CIOs and CTOs who have quickly pivoted to implement continuity of operations plans for rapid technology adoption, the message rang true: the COVID-19 pandemic has, in a matter of weeks, driven changes that might have otherwise taken years to occur.
The sudden shift has been disruptive in many ways, but it presents a tremendous opportunity for the government to reimagine how it procures goods and services. It also gives companies like SAIC a chance to take a new approach to how we engage with our customers.
Now, more than ever, it’s clear that we need to take a creative, forward-looking approach to getting the right solutions that meet our government customers’ needs, so that they can quickly adapt to the challenges of the moment. This approach has many elements, including a more dispersed workforce, increased access to emerging technologies, and procurements that are less prescriptive and allow greater flexibility for companies to develop and provide solutions. Working together with our customers, we can help them achieve the outcomes they need to serve critical national missions.
SAIC is well-positioned to help build this success. In March, we completed the acquisition of Unisys Federal, providing us with new market access, accelerated investments in research and development, and managed services capability on a larger scale that builds on SAICs existing services, which were already serving nine million users last year. The acquisition further expands our capacity to more than 1,000 technology experts delivering managed services across nine geographically disparate U.S-based service centers, with enhanced remote virtual agent capabilities.
As we pivot to a post-COVID-19 reality, there will be new and unique pressures on the government workforce and national priorities, requiring a creative, flexible, and outcome-based approach to procurement.