Delivering Commercial, Outcome-Based Solutions Will Speed Mission Success

SAIC brings together innovations from the commercial market with government procurement and compliance savvy to deliver outstanding outcomes

09-21-2020
Heath Starr
IT MODERNIZATION

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.

As part of our integration, we established a new practice area to oversee our commercialization and managed services business, and I’m honored to have been asked to lead that effort. In this role, I’ll be looking to build on the platform of outcome-based procurement activities that we have built working with USDA, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and many others. The new organization will focus on the development and delivery of product and “everything as a service” (XaaS) offerings. By doing so, we can bring the best solutions to government faster and with better results.

To be clear, having “commercialization” in my title doesn’t mean that SAIC is changing our focus. We have always had commercial customers, but as the government evolves its understanding of how to efficiently buy and implement technology and services, we are responding by increasing the volume of our fixed-unit and fixed-price offerings of commercial-grade products and services that have been tailored to the unique missions and requirements of our federal customers.

The integration we bring is critical to this effort. I have seen firsthand what happens when a federal agency attempts to contract with a purely commercial company for services. The shock of federal compliance, documentation, and processes quickly grinds progress to a halt.

By increasing SAIC’s focus on delivery of commercial products and offerings, our federal customers gain the efficiencies, scalability, and on-demand features of the commercial market. And they get them from a proven federal systems integrator that understands how to implement those offerings while complying with federal requirements  yielding the best possible solution for the taxpayer.

As we pivot to a post-COVID-19 reality, there will be new and unique pressures on the government workforce and national priorities. With a creative, flexible, and outcome-based approach to procurement, we can leverage the scope, scale, and expertise of our more than 25,000 employees, along with the capabilities of our vast network of commercial partners, to deliver fast, reliable, predictable, and, most important, successful results to our federal customers.

For more information on SAICs commercial products and services offerings, or to have a discussion about how we have aided our other federal customers in making the change to outcome-based acquisitions, please contact me at heath.a.starr@saic.com.

 

RELATED: Visit SAIC'S COVID-19 Information page at www.saic.com/covid-19-response

 

MORE: Watch Government Matters "Agency in Motion: USDA" with Heath Starr and USDA's Jason Kattman:

Posted by: Heath Starr

Vice President of Commercialization and Managed Services

Heath Starr serves as SAIC's vice president of enterprise commercialization and managed services business, where he leads analyst relations, strategic alliances, product management, sales, go-to-market strategy, management consulting, and a $1 billion managed services business. In 2016 he was recognized as SAICs program manager of the year, and also received the CEO’s Ingenuity Award, the company’s highest honor, awarded annually in recognition of the employee who most embodies the corporate values of creativity, empowerment, integrity, and mission understanding.

Heath is an alumnus of Harvard Business School and holds a master’s degree in public administration and a bachelor’s degree from Kansas State University. He lives in Overland Park, Kansas, with his wife, Kristin, and their two children.

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