It’s the dawn of a new decade. This means time for making predictions and setting new goals. We had to opportunity to sit down with Timothy Keenan, President of High Performance Technologies, Inc., to speak to him about what he believes to be the future of government contracting. Watch the video below to hear his prediction for government contracting in 2020.
ExecutiveBiz: What sectors are going to be hit hardest by insourcing? Why?
Timothy Keenan: We need to figure out how to make major programs more successful. There are two sides to a program that have a direct effect on its ultimate success: the acquisition side and the technical side. We believe that the government will be insourcing on the nontechnical side of the program“”for the acquisition, financial, and similar elements to a program“”and that they will do this because they can get two birds with one stone. First, they will be able to take back some of the quasi grey areas of government functions, and then they can also started addressing the issues of OCI“”or organizational conflicts of interest.
ExecutiveBiz: Deconflicting is going to produce winners and losers. Who is going to be the winners and who is going to be the losers?
Timothy Keenan: I think we need to figure out whether OCI issues will be handled at the agency level or at the project level. If they're handled at the agency level, whole organizations will have to decide to be either out of or in a particular business. That is going to take an awful lot of learning away from the government, which won't have access to that knowledge. This creates losers on both sides, but mostly the government customer loses in that it won't have access to those companies anymore.
ExecutiveBiz: What are some of your company's top goals for the next twelve to eighteen months?
Timothy Keenan: I always break my goals into quarters, and I break them into three categories: processes, people, and customers. For our processes, we are trying to build an integrated service model. Toward this goal, we were just awarded the Medallion for Performance Excellence by the U.S. Senate Productivity and Quality Award for Virginia. We are also well on our way toward a CMMI Level 4 assessment. As for the people component, since we are a 100% services company, our people“”the services and expertise that they provide“”are really our product. We are converting many of our people programs to coaching and training models“”teaching our managers to be more coaches than they are supervisors, if you will. For our customers, we want to sustain where we are. We have a 97% customer satisfaction rating. I don't believe a higher number in that category is sustainable, so we want to make sure that that 97% stays firm.
ExecutiveBiz: Where do you hope the stimulus dollars are going to go?
Timothy Kennan: I hope the stimulus dollars go to a place that is sustainable. Our biggest fear is that they will go into programs. I've had this conversation with my top customers, and a lot of them are turning down the money down because they can't sustain these programs past the stimulus dollars. They get this short-term influx, but then they'll have no way to pay after the influx stops, so they don't want to start initiatives and then have them stopped. If the money does go into projects, I hope they'll have some kind of follow-up to sustain them. Otherwise, we are just wasting our money.
ExecutiveBiz: How is your company going to meet your fourth-quarter growth targets?
Timothy Keenan: If you asked me that six quarters ago, I would have told you. But since you asked me, at the end of the third quarter, if I'm going to meet my fourth-quarter goals, I'm kind of insulted! I must be a bad executive! Seriously, though, we outlined our plans six quarters ago, and we have already met our fourth-quarter goals. When you lay out your plans six quarters from now, that's when you see what kind of programs you are going to be looking at and how you'll meet your goals.
ExecutiveBiz: As the new decade dawns how will government contracting look ten years from now?
Timothy Keenan: I think it will look slightly different“”maybe the same model with a little bit of tuning. We always have room for improvement, and in our case, we haven't finished the discussion on what is inherently governmental. Everybody wants to call it gray only because it is in that “too hard to define“ box. We really need to get it out of the “too hard“ mode because that is just basic laziness on both of our parts“”the government's and ours. We need to decide what things are inherently governmental and need to be dealt with by the government, and what things are open for contracting. So we need to finish the conversation. By the way, in thirty years, this discussion has been on the plate every single year. But I think that we can now make some progress because the country seems ready and eager now to address these issues.
ExecutiveBiz: What emerging markets will you be pursuing in 2010 and the years ahead?
Timothy Keenan: We do a lot of science and technology work, or R&D work, and we will be pursuing computational biology“”a new market in computational forensics where high-end computer power is used for breakthrough advances in law enforcement and Intelligence. We will also be involved in cloud computing. As an architecture-based company, we've been pursing cloud computing for some time now, and we'll continue to do so. Another big technology will be visualization. We've been inside tech visualization for years, with very large model sets. Now, we are taking that down to the level of data visualization.
ExecutiveBiz: Which applications and strategies will lead IT spending in the next decade?
Timothy Keenan: I hear a lot of talk about cloud computing and a lot of talk about cyber security. These are nothing more than technological initiatives. So as far as the strategy is concerned, I think we as a firm need to be in an introspective place where we define what it is that we're good at. We need to provide value to our customers. But other than that, I think I'll keep our company's strategies a little private right now.