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Paul Bates: The latest at Verizon Business

Paul Bates: The latest at Verizon Business - top government contractors - best government contracting event

Paul Bates: The latest at Verizon Business - top government contractors - best government contracting eventAs the vice president of Global Enterprise Solutions, Paul Bates oversees an organization of about 1,400 employees who provide professional services to the government.  “We provide a full array of services including everything from engineering to hands and feet on the street “” whatever our customers need,“ says Bates, who also counts customers in the commercial sphere. In the following Q&A, Bates tells us what's new at Verizon Business, the latest trends in cyber security, and what the acquisition landscape looks like over the coming year.

What's new in your business unit that most people wouldn't know?

Paul Bates: Verizon Business is much more than just pipes.  We're providing professional services to extend throughout a customer's network rather than simply offering a private line or a Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) network as we did before.  Today, we also deliver more security services and professional services that are near the network, but not necessarily tied to the network, such as Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) and information assurance.

What hot trends will impact your customers over the next 12 to 18 months?

Paul Bates: I think, across the board, and including cyber security, how customers deal with information assurance, and how they set up SOA plans.  I also think that the contracting vehicles are changing, and we are starting to see consolidated, larger contracts rather than smaller ones.  Additionally, customers are moving away from the traditional level-of-effort (LOE) contracts and toward more performance-oriented contracts.

What do you think your biggest challenge is in business right now?

Paul Bates: Getting the word out on the breadth of Verizon Business' capabilities is a big challenge, as is focusing on doing the right things and having the right pieces in place for customers from a security and reliability standpoint.  These challenges are really also our best opportunities because we're focused on addressing these challenges for our customers and have developed best-in-class solutions to meet our customers' needs “” it's what makes Verizon Business stand out.

Looking at the presidential transition, how might it impact your budget priorities for next year and the year after?

Paul Bates:
My view is that spending in the federal government has balanced out; it's not accelerating like before.  I think a lot of people believe that the principle spending will stay the same but maybe some of the discretionary spending may slow down.

What does the acquisition landscape look like for Verizon in 2009?

Paul Bates: As far as acquisitions go, Verizon seeks acquisitions when needed.  Verizon Business looks for niche players to add value to our business.  We're a very specific professional service organization for the government, and we're always looking for the right ways to expand, however, we also look to make sure the timing is right.

How would you describe your leadership style?


Paul Bates:
I try to build cooperation.  I had an old platoon sergeant once tell me that a good leader has the ability to get a group of people together and do more together than they can do individually.  I think I try to follow that.

What might your business unit look like in two to three years?


Paul Bates:
Well, I think we can be known as the new SI on the block with preeminent professional services covering network security and information assurance globally.

What advice would you give a smaller company wanting to partner or do business with Verizon Business?


Paul Bates:
We actually have a group dedicated to working with small businesses.  We mentor them, bring them along, and hopefully they become big businesses.  My advice to small businesses is to approach Verizon; we are always looking for small business partners that perform particular services, and we can use our marketing and sales arms to support that small business.

What keeps you up at night?

Paul Bates: That's a good question.  Candidly, not a whole lot lately.  I think the biggest thing I worry about would be information assurance and cyber security “” looking for ways to make sure there's the right emphasis throughout the government and commercial industry to keep the pulse on these issues.

In terms of cyber security, which initiatives are you tracking?

Paul Bates: There are a lot of initiatives out there, but they all get down to the core of being able to understand how you move data in and out of your network to trusted peers, how you move data across networks, and how you use data assurance to ensure the data you have is classified and used for its specific purpose and intent.  We have won a major contract with DHS in which we have created a true partnership where we can share best practices and team to ensure our global networks continue to operate under any circumstance.

What is your favorite business book?

Paul Bates:
Anything about globalization.  I enjoyed The World is Flat and Collapse.

On the business side is there anything else that you think our readers would find of interest?

Paul Bates: The most interesting thing that we are doing right now is taking the best security and network operation practices that we developed in-house over the years on the commercial side and leveraging these best practices for our government customers.   We are taking the Security Operations Centers (SOC) and Network Operations Center (NOC) models that we've developed internally and adapting them to use on customers' sites rather than having them have to come to our SOCs and NOCs.    One final new technology that I feel is revolutionizing structured wiring is GPON.  GPON is significantly cheaper than CatV, uses 69-80 percent less power, and takes up 1/15 of the space.  You can't get much greener than that.  My prediction is that GPON will completely replace traditional LAN architectures within the next 12-18.

What is something that most people don't know about you personally?

Paul Bates: That I love to sing.  I often sing in the shower, but I also catch myself singing at work “” I guess people around me might know that I like to sing, but I wouldn't say it's common knowledge.

Interview with Paul Bates was conducted by JD Kathuria

Read more interviews here: https://blog.executivebiz.com/category/interviews/

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