SAIC Innovation Factory Is a Solutions Accelerator

Rapid deployment of new technologies using agile and DevSecOps

There is a digital transformation paradox happening in U.S. government. To lower the risk of technology deployments, federal agencies are embracing the fast-paced, fluid, dynamic nature of incremental solution development.

Rather than acquiring big, complex, costly IT solutions that take years to complete, government customers are tapping SAIC’s Innovation Factory to deliver low-cost projects in weeks versus years. Our Innovation Factory teams operate like a startup, using a highly automated, cloud-hosted toolset; agile practices; and DevSecOps production chains to rapidly build, test, and deploy first iterations of solutions quickly and then organically enhance them in sprints with customers.

In the incremental delivery model, the teams work in a highly collaborative style and pivot quickly to add functionality according to customers' needs. We launched the Innovation Factory to give government agencies with limited budgets accelerated time-to-solution and agility focused on:

“Customers know their mission goals. How they achieve them and which technologies they use are where the Innovation Factory comes in,” said Charles Onstott, chief technology officer. “Innovation Factory is an enabler, letting them try out and verify technologies and giving them flexibility to incrementally evolve and improve the solutions as mission needs change.”

More government customers are adopting short, rapid, cost-effective, and collaborative acquisition processes for solution prototyping and building activities. There is also growing demand for close-knit development teams that have been working together so that projects hit the ground running.  

Quick, successive hits

Federal civilian agencies and the Department of Defense are going to the Innovation Factory with their legacy apps to rapid-prototype cloud-based microservices. In single-day, live demonstrations, they can see our Innovation Factory teams modernize the apps and get functional proofs of concepts up and running.

Through one of these coding challenges, an agency can understand how cloud capabilities can improve its mission in a penalty-free environment and without having to make a significant investment.

Innovation Factory fishbowl team
An SAIC Innovation Factory team works collaboratively on developing an app.

Some DoD agencies are using the Innovation Factory for development of analytics and visualization solutions. One is investigating mobile, edge computing solutions for warfighters to ease their cognitive loads while on the battlefield and improve the speed and quality of their decision-making.

“We rapid prototype a proof of concept for a very specific functionality within a few days, and the customer will provide feedback. It is not these big, monolithic apps,” said Andy Henson, who leads advanced analytics and simulation solutions development.

He continued, “We have Skype meetings and use agile communication tools, and they will sit with us at times. Our approach is build and iterate, fast to acquisition, and continuous to the field.”

Repeatable practices and toolset

The Innovation Factory’s expert practitioners of agile development, DevSecOps, and continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipelines plus our software engineering toolset are keys to our rapid application development practices.

A team typically has six to eight members. Front-end user-interface (UI) developers, full-stack developers, cybersecurity experts, and cloud engineers form the core scrum team, who go from project to project. Project-specific subject matter experts, such as data scientists, round out a team.

We plan to continue to train personnel on our toolset and agile/DevSecOps practices to ensure availability of development teams for government projects.

Our Innovation Factory strategically integrates innovative commercial technologies and capabilities from our partner ecosystem to deliver solutions to customers. This ecosystem comprises our Strategic Alliance members, technology partners, startup providers of emerging and innovative technologies, and tech hubs and startup accelerator programs of which we are a part.

"This is the future of software development," said John Coble, solutions director of software acceleration at SAIC. "More and more customers will take advantage of this."

Interested in being part of our Innovation Factory?

Is your company an innovator in machine learning, augmented/virtual reality, analytics, data visualization, cybersecurity, application modernization, DevSecOps, IT transformation, blockchain, or another emerging technology of potential interest to SAIC? We are looking for emerging technology partners and want to learn more about the work you're doing. Simply fill out our quick form.