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FCW : May 15, 2015
16 May 15, 2015 FCW.COM Cloud to adapt to the new situation firsthand,” he said. And adapt they have. Rossino cited Microsoft in particular for the way the software giant has been “transitioning current customers over to their Azure cloud and the Office 365 offering.... That keeps those customers sticking with them.” Other players in the field have grum- bled about that, he said, because the migrations have come in the guise of renewing software licenses. “That’s defi- nitely a different way of doing stuff,” he added. “It’s just how the market is nowadays.” The evolutions extend beyond pure cloud plays as well. “Cisco is a great example,” Soloway said. “I think they haven’t done it with a lot of publicity, but they were a router and switch com- pany. Now they’re selling capabilities. That is a huge cultural and business- model shift for a company that size. Or look at Verizon, Rossino said. “Ver- izon used to be known as a Baby Bell. They provided telecom services. Now they do cloud everything.... They’ve radically changed their business model in order to accommodate the new technologies.” Other firms have taken different approaches. Large pure-play govern- ment contractors such as Lockheed Martin (which perennially places No. 1 on Washington Technology’s list of top federal IT firms), Northrop Grum- man (the consistent No. 2), CACI, Man- Tech and SRA International have been aggressive in acquiring smaller firms to strengthen their cyber, business intel- ligence, cloud and health IT offerings. For others — such as Engility, Har- ris, PAE and Vencore — acquisitions have been more about improving their economies of scale. The government’s growing receptive- ness to the idea of using commercial technology, meanwhile, has played to the strengths of companies such as Accenture, Computer Sciences Corp., HP, IBM and Unisys, whose govern- ment units can take advantage of the companies’ much larger private-sector businesses. Accenture, HP and IBM, of course, also have robust consulting and services businesses, positioning them to apply commercial practices to govern- ment needs and helping HP and IBM stress IT services over traditional hard- ware and software products. There are other approaches as well, and many companies are embracing more than one. For additional examples, see the illustration on Page 14. “The current incumbents have lots of innovation going on,” Wennergren said. “Boeing is inventing force fields..... IBM continues, I think, to offer innovative work on a scale unrivaled, pretty much, in the technology business.” The list, he said, “goes on and on.” So what, then, are these newcomer firms doing? The entry points for agency business vary, of course, but the com- mon thread is that companies are offer- ing agencies technologies that have caught fire in other sectors, usually in corporate IT. Before Splunk landed its F-35 work, for example, the firm had crunched data for Cars.com and NPR, among many others. But Huddle has capitalized on its government success in Great Britain, while Maximus has done the same with its state and local experience as health IT has grown more important at the federal level. The newcomers are also capitalizing on two critical aspects of cloud comput- ing: scale and standardization. The first has long been a hallmark of federal IT; the second is slowly being embraced. Historically, enterprise IT systems CENTURYLINK AND THE TELECOM TRANSFORMATION One of the more intriguing cloud trends to watch is the evolution of the major telecom- munications players as they continue to embrace cloud technology and a managed services approach to the government market. As a sign of that trend, earlier this year CenturyLink promoted Tim Meehan to senior vice president and general manager of its government business. It’s important to note Meehan’s background in the IT market. He was vice president of sales for the company’s east region and the financial services indus- try, and he ran inside sales for CenturyLink Technology Solutions. Before joining Century- Link, he led various business groups in Ora- cle’s consulting division and was in charge of North American sales for the company’s cloud-hosting unit. AT&T made a similar move in 2013 when Kay Kapoor was picked to lead AT&T Govern- ment Solutions. She had held IT leadership positions at Lockheed Martin and Accenture. Meehan’s background will be critical for his vision of making CenturyLink a leading IT services provider. “It’s bringing that single pane of glass so agencies can look across their networks and understand what is going on,” he said. It is a decidedly enterprise view of IT that CenturyLink and other telecom players are uniquely qualified to bring to the market. That vision is predicated on the telecom compa- nies focusing not on selling trunk lines and telephony but on bringing a mission focus to how they sell their communications infra- structure to government agencies. How CenturyLink, AT&T and Verizon deliver on the mission will vary from agency to agency, so the companies are offering a range of public, private and hybrid cloud solutions, in addition to meeting customers’ on-demand computing, storage, platform and application needs. The shift in strategy also reflects the evolv- ing contract vehicles. The General Services Administration is developing the Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions contract as part of its Network Services 2020 strategy. It is the suc- 0515fcw_014-017.indd 16 4/22/15 1:55 PM
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May 30, 2015