Ed Meehan joined Accenture in 1990 and was recently promoted to managing director of the firm’s U.S. federal civilian portfolio. He previously directed sales for Accenture’s federal business within the health and public service practice.
Meehan recently spoke with ExecutiveBiz about the career he has built at Accenture, the challenges he faced along the way and the reason why the government space is such an exciting place to be in today.
ExecutiveBiz: When did your new title become effective and how have your responsibilities changed?
Ed Meehan: I am in charge of our business with all of our civilian agencies. We have two other portfolios: defense and intel and public safety. Previous to my current role, I spent several years leading federal sales for Accenture, which is cross portfolio.
I’m very excited about the new position. It reinforces for me that Accenture’s a great place to grow a career, and I’m very excited about the opportunity to be able to leverage all the experiences and solutions from across our federal business to help grow our civilian practice.
ExecutiveBiz: Are there any opportunities or challenges you see in this new position?
Ed Meehan: It’s a real opportunity to take the experiences and solutions that I’ve been working with across our federal business over the last few years, and focus that in our civilian practice. It’s a very exciting time. The stakes have never been higher for agencies. It’s all about bringing the best of Accenture to those clients.
That starts with a relentless focus on outcomes and bringing together Accenture’s federal commercial and global experiences to help change the way our clients meet the needs of their clients. That is really what brought me to the public sector side of Accenture’s business in the first place, and that is what defines success: going forward.
ExecutiveBiz: What strategies have you used to achieve success in your new position and most recent position – and what drew you to the public sector side of Accenture’s business?
Ed Meehan: The public sector excites me because we can help improve the lives of Americans with services that benefit every citizen and contribute to our nation’s economic and social well-being. I really like that and the fact that we can blend commercial and public sector practices, leading to innovation and changing the status quo. We want to change the status quo in a positive way.
ExecutiveBiz: You previously served Accenture’s transportation and financial clients. What are a few memorable experiences or lessons learned you took from that time and how do they apply to your current position?
Ed Meehan: My work with transportation or financial service clients reinforces the importance of reaching across boundaries to bring together exactly the right people for a specific client program.
I was asked to work in Europe on a stock exchange program due to a niche technology background that I developed working for a consumer products company. In that same way, we were able to bring financial services expertise to help students finance their education. In another case, we were able to bring oil and gas supply chain experience to help a defense client with their logistics challenges. Really reaching far and wide to deliver an experienced team as possible drives a powerful result. That’s what I took away from those experiences.
ExecutiveBiz You’ve been with the company since 1990. How has the business changed in that time and where do you expect the company to be 5 years from now? Where does the company expect to grow in that time?
Ed Meehan: I think the biggest difference I reflected on was the diversity of talent and specialization that’s required today. When I joined in 1990, we were essentially all sent to the same training, and today’s world really requires a constant focus on evolving solutions and certainly being able to nimbly staff capabilities and draw upon diverse talent pools. That’s the biggest difference.
The other notable element is what’s really stayed the same over that period of time at Accenture: our culture and DNA around delivery excellence and core values. Despite their remarkable growth over those many years, it feels just as strong today as the day I joined.
ExecutiveBiz: Where do you expect the company to see growth in the coming years?
Ed Meehan: Government agencies are expecting rapid delivery of innovative new capabilities and then growing them to scale as programs and requirements increase and mature. Today, it’s critical that we’re able to draw upon management and technology consulting, critical technology expertise and workforce and managed services capabilities and to be able to do that at scale.
This will allow us to help government agencies end-to-end, from envisioning through design and delivery of new capabilities and ultimately resulting in modernized enterprise operations.
ExecutiveBiz: How is the company adapting its public sector business to account for budgetary constraints and market trends?
Ed Meehan: Because the government expects rapid delivery of these innovative new capabilities and then to be able to grow them and scale them over time, we have to go to market with the end-to-end management technology consulting, technology expertise, workforce managed services, and being able to draw upon those capabilities and do it at scale.
That’s what has helped us in the past and it’s going to help us going forward. It’s that end-to-end set of capabilities, from envisioning the strategy, delivering them and helping support enterprise operations at the back end.
ExecutiveBiz: What challenges do health agencies currently face and how can contractors and organizations like Accenture help?
Ed Meehan: Well, clearly, on a macro level, the healthcare spending is on an unsustainable trajectory. The challenges that the health agencies are facing is to work collectively and collaboratively across federal, state, local and even the commercial markets to transform healthcare service delivery, payment models and accelerate the adoption of electronic health records and health information exchange.
As a leading healthcare consulting firm, we are uniquely positioned to help our health clients or health customers by blending healthcare expertise, innovative technology solutions and bending the healthcare cost curve with our clients.
ExecutiveBiz: How do you plan on working with your team in order to insure success for Accenture and the business as a whole?
Ed Meehan: Accenture has been a great place to grow a career, and I’ve had many different opportunities in different parts of our business over the years. I have, from time to time, certainly played the different roles that make up our civilian portfolio. It’s a chance to put all those pieces together, draw upon the more recent experience supporting federal sales, and being connected into all the different other aspects of Accenture and bringing that in a focused way to civilian agencies.
It’s very much an exciting challenge. We have a very collaborative culture and a very mission-focused culture and a strong commitment to delivery and results. Being able to work together and build upon what we have today, it’s very exciting, and very encouraging that we’ll be able to continue to help our customers as they face some challenges and look to change the status quo.