Haywood Talcove of LexisNexis on the Future of Government Contracting

Haywood TalcoveExecutiveBiz recently spoke with Haywood Talcove, CEO of LexisNexis Special Services Inc, about rapidly emerging opportunities in government contracting.  He told us how fighting waste, fraud, and abuse in healthcare, and how knowledge-based authentication can help secure sensitive data networks against infiltration.  We also spoke about the end of “large, programmatic opportunities that took 10 years to execute” and why government contracting is going to be more competitive in the next decade.  Here are some notable quotes:

  • “Right now, our greatest challenge is hiring people…That is our single largest challenge in keeping up with our growth.”
  • “I think the days of those large, programmatic opportunities that took 10 years to execute are behind us. I think government contracting is going to become more competitive.”
  • “In this era of healthcare, where there are opportunities to gain efficiencies by reducing fraud, waste and abuse and doing some other things around credentialing, we really feel like an opportunity exists for our company to move into that adjacent market.”

“…this whole knowledge based authentication space is just beginning to emerge. As people are beginning to use the Internet as a regular tool of commerce we need to make sure that we have trusted relationships. We need to make sure that the person signing in as Woody Talcove is really Woody Talcove.” -Haywood Talcove


ExecutiveBiz: What are LexisNexis’ core competencies?

Haywood Talcove: I think we do four things incredibly well. The first is that we are a very powerful investigative tool for law enforcement, we help police at the federal, state and local level solve crimes. The second thing is that we protect the country against terrorists. Using our database and our algorithms and our sophisticated technology we have the ability to prevent them from entering the country and also making sure that they don’t put any of our citizens at risk. The third thing is that we find fraud waste and abuse or we limit the fraud waste ability to do harm to our nation’s economy by trying to create fake identities, by  trying to do things that are inappropriate and allow them to capture monies that don’t belong to them. I think the last thing is that we help children. We help and work with local, state and federal law enforcement make sure that sexual predators are correctly registered. We work with child protective services to make sure that children are placed in correct homes and if there are problems, we work with them to make sure that they are taken care of.

ExecutiveBiz: How will LexisNexis keep growing in this tough economy?

Haywood Talcove: By continuing to add value and understanding our customers in those areas. I think people are just beginning to understand the value of how public records can be applied to solve problems. In addition, this whole knowledge based authentication space is just beginning to emerge. As people are beginning to use the Internet as a regular tool of commerce we need to make sure that we have trusted relationships. We need to make sure that the person signing in as Woody Talcove is really Woody Talcove. We are using some of our technology we think we can really help bolster the knowledge and the authentication is done at a much higher level of trust and I think that is how we are going to grow in the market space.

ExecutiveBiz: Do you face any special cybersecurity challenges in your line of work?

Haywood Talcove: We do on a regular basis because of the information that we have, we are constantly challenged by external parties who are trying to gain access to it and we have an incredibly robust bar none world-class system that protects that information.  In addition we have some products and technologies that we sell to certain customers that help identify their cybersecurity challenges. That is how we are working on that.

ExecutiveBiz: Does LexisNexis have any plans to expand their cloud-based offerings?

Haywood Talcove: In fact that really is just what LexisNexis is, just a big cloud computing application. And because of the underlying technology that we house that links and correlates that information, we are discussing making that available to some of our customers by managed service and also by directly purchasing technology that we use that houses the underlying public records databases.

ExecutiveBiz: What is LexisNexis going to look like 3 years from now?

Haywood Talcove: We will be serving more customers in more markets. The one thing that is certain is this market is developing and emerging. The public records really make a difference in how government agencies can do their jobs more effectively. If you look at all our core competency areas and you look at the information that we have and how it can help, we are going to grow. And the other thing that we are going to be is a knowledge-based authentication space. It is really clear that that market is beginning to emerge and organizations like the open ID forum are really beginning to gain traction and LexisNexis, just because of what we can do, is really going to be a key player in that space.

ExecutiveBiz: What new and emerging markets are you looking at expanding into?

Haywood Talcove: There are two. The first obviously is the knowledge-based authentication, which I have mentioned to you a couple times, and the second is healthcare. In this era of healthcare, where there are opportunities to gain efficiencies by reducing fraud, waste and abuse and doing some other things around credentialing, we really feel like an opportunity exists for our company to move into that adjacent market.

ExecutiveBiz: What is your greatest challenge in business today?

Haywood Talcove: Right now, our greatest challenge is hiring people, currently we have 17 head counts that are open, and we are looking for employees to join us and to share our passion and our mission. That is our single largest challenge in keeping up with our growth.

ExecutiveBiz: How to you recruit and obtain the top talent in the industry, building off that question?

Haywood Talcove: Part of it has to do with our culture. We have a culture that is based on employee empowerment, knowing our customer, world-class technology, and customers that are excited about us. People want to work for companies that do good and have a culture that really makes a difference and I think that is one of the things that we do. We offer very competitive pay packages. The last thing that is if you speak to any of our employees, they would tell you that what we do matters. It really does matter to society, it really does matter to the customers that we serve, it makes a huge difference. Employees that believe in our mission, that have a sense of urgency, that want to take risk, that want to be proactive and appreciate the positive things we do, they find this to be a wonderful place. Our attrition is at less than 4%.

ExecutiveBiz: We are coming up on a new decade here, in 2010, what do you think government contracting is going to look like 10 years from now?

Haywood Talcove: I think it is going to get faster and more agile, and simpler. I think the days of those large, programmatic opportunities that took 10 years to execute are behind us. I think government contracting is going to become more competitive, as the market has turned in the commercial space, more companies have paid attention to this sector, and I also think that it is going to be where the innovation occurs. The government is such a huge consumer of products and the contracting process is going to allow companies, like LexisNexis, and others, to really derive valuable solutions that really make a difference.

ExecutiveBiz: What is something people don’t know about you or be surprised to learn about you?

Haywood Talcove: I am a huge, huge, huge New England Patriots fan.

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