Andy McCann of EDS: How to cultivate ties with your customer base

Andy McCann of EDS: How to cultivate ties with your customer base - top government contractors - best government contracting event

Andy McCann of EDS: How to cultivate ties with your customer base - top government contractors - best government contracting eventAs Vice President and Geographic Sales Leader for EDS, an HP company's U.S. Public Sector business, Andy McCann is responsible for growth within the company. “I lead our sales organization and work to ensure that we bring the best value propositions to our federal, state and local government clients and prospects in the areas of applications development, IT outsourcing, and business process outsourcing,” says McCAnn. Here, he shares his thoughts on growth and the importance of cultivating ties with your existing customer base.

You're a Washington, D.C. native and have been with the company since 1988. What keeps you grounded with EDS?

Andy McCann: The Washington area is a great place to live and raise a family.  I've been fortunate to have worked with so many great people throughout my entire career at EDS, which has made a huge positive difference during my years with the company. Also, the diverse business mix that EDS serves across global industries has given me a broad base of experience that has proven to be both valuable and personally rewarding.
What differentiates EDS in its go-to-market strategy?

Andy McCann:  First and foremost, our business is aligned by market segments to directly address our clients' needs. We are organized around homeland security and intelligence, defense, federal government healthcare, civilian federal government, and state and local government. Our approach includes always understanding our government clients' missions and the challenges they face in achieving those missions. Then we bring in the right solutions and deliver the best technology services that will help them meet their objectives.

EDS serves government and commercial clients around the world. Because of that we're able to leverage best practices from both the public and private sectors for our U.S. government clients. And because government really is an industry of industries, it makes for a very strong value proposition to be able to leverage our experience in other industries like transportation, manufacturing, energy, and the financial sector, to support our government clients who are facing similar issues.

Another important differentiator for us is that our clients have access to us and we to them. This means that EDS has strategically bid on and was awarded a significant number of contract vehicles over the past three year. This has afforded us access to every agency and department in the Federal Government that could benefit from our services. And lastly, EDS takes pride in our high quality of service and excellence. Our clients can depend on our company to deliver best-in-class, citizen serving IT solutions.

With the election on everyone's mind, how are you helping your team prepare for a change in administration? Any best practices being put into place?

Andy McCann: Clearly, there will be some changes in spending priorities and we are planning accordingly. What I've stressed to our Sales team is that they need to stay close to their clients, even though personnel may be changing, to understand their mission. It's important to keep strong relationships with any given agency to fully understand what changes may occur in their business priorities and information technology needs.

As vice president and segment leader for EDS global healthcare you were instrumental in helping EDS bring on board $1 billion in new business. What key daily behaviors helped to bring about this result?

Andy McCann: Most of my 20-year career with EDS has been in sales or sales leadership capacities, so my focus tends to be about helping our clients and growing our business. Growing the business is not something you put on your calendar. You have to focus on it every day.  It's about the client, that relationship, and doing what's right for them and maintaining a commitment to that.

What is your most memorable management or leadership experience?

Andy McCann: As far as a management experience, it was being responsible for a large, long-term account of 20-plus years. This account had a reputation for being a flagship account and had done some very innovative things over many years. But the team needed an influx of new energy and ideas. So, I dug deep across the EDS organization for additional resources and new talent to make sure that we continued to deliver outstanding service to this client.  As a result, when the contract was up for re-bid, the client selected EDS again and we became more of a trusted ally than a technology vendor.

What motto or philosophy helps you be a better leader?

Andy McCann: To listen. I listen to our clients and employees and try to manage our business keeping these perspectives in mind.

Can you recommend any books that may help people in their executive roles to manage their teams better?

Andy McCann: One I like is, You're in Charge, Now What? by Thomas Neff and James Citrin. Also, Thomas Friedman's new one, Hot, Flat and Crowded, is pretty good.

Are there any tech tools that help you stay organized?

Andy McCann: I don't go anywhere without my BlackBerry.

Any movies to recommend with thought provoking lessons on leadership?

Andy McCann: Braveheart and 12 Angry Men.

Lastly, what's next for you?

Andy McCann: One of the things I've always been excited about in being a part of EDS is that we don't ever quit “” I love that aspect of our culture. It enables us to do the right things for our clients and to tackle the biggest challenges. I believe we're more valuable to our clients the greater the challenge is, and even more so now that we're a part of HP.  As you may know, EDS was acquired by Hewlett-Packard in August. We now have an even broader portfolio of products, services and solutions to help governments at all levels address their most critical business and technology needs.

Interview with Andy McCann was conducted by JD Kathuria

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