Melissa Carson, vice president and general manager with Iron Mountain Government Solutions, recently spoke with ExecutiveBiz regarding the impacts of emerging technologies that are driving business and digital modernization efforts for the company and its customers.
In addition, Carson also discussed Iron Mountain’s recent growth initiatives and strategic goals for 2022 as well as new markets the company is looking to expand, the improvements in 5G capabilities, cybersecurity and other critical tech aspects to the federal sector and more during the latest Executive Spotlight interview.
“The biggest improvement I’ve seen around innovation for the government is the willingness for federal agencies to purchase solutions coupled with a low-code implementation approach…This has provided Iron Mountain the opportunity to show federal agencies they need to recognize that commercial industries have struggled with the same data challenges.”
You can read the full Executive Spotlight interview with Melissa Carson below:
ExecutiveBiz: With the influence of emerging technologies impacting every aspect of business, how has your company been able to drive digital transformation efforts to stay ahead of innovation in the federal landscape for yourself and your customers?
“Paper documents are on a ride to extinction! Therefore Iron Mountain has shifted its capabilities to be in direct alignment with where the market is headed, digital government. While it may take longer for government agencies to arrive at a digital destination, Iron Mountain is prepared to offer a strong commercial footprint bringing lessons learned combined with best practices and technological capabilities.
Data is a strategic asset. It is everywhere, and it continues to increase in volume. The challenge for government agencies now is to find, connect, share and derive value from that data into information.
It is exciting to bring that type of value to all customers. Iron Mountain is able to use its content service platform, Insight, to deliver cloud-based information management and governance as-a-service capabilities.
Insight allows federal agencies to focus on cost-effective and efficient workflows to unlock all the data, unstructured and structured, available to them. More importantly, agencies are able to provide desperately needed federated searches and data governance.
Most importantly, we are looking to enhance the citizens and employee experience. We are now able to assist in making agencies more productive, with digital at the core of their business.
I’m still discovering every day different ways Iron Mountain can serve the government and elated I was able to join this renowned brand. We have invested and continue to invest millions of dollars to continue to move forward and advance digital transformation capabilities.”
ExecutiveBiz: What can you tell us about the company’s recent growth initiatives and how you’re driving value for your customers through contract awards, acquisitions and other aspects across the federal sector?
“I joined the Iron Mountain Government Solutions team in late 2020 and focused on delivering the right technology, to the right customers, at the right time. By our third quarter, we had the largest single award in Intelligent Document Processing in company history.
Across the industry, we know agencies are overwhelmed with unstructured data stored across multiple platforms. A large amount of data is required to serve citizens, veterans and warfighters, and that data has been locked away. It is our goal to assist agencies in unlocking that data to enhance the overall citizen’s experience.
Unique to Iron Mountain, and it goes back to our heritage, is the ability to rapidly convert data from analog formats into digital and usable data. With the M-19-21 OMB Electronic Management Mandate fast approaching, agencies need our expertise to drive compliant intelligent document processing utilizing high-speed data capture to manage massive amounts of volume that is going to be required to adhere to the mandate.
Combined with our Insight platform, agencies finally have access to their historic data readily available. This allows citizens, Veterans and warfighters the ability to retrieve personal data automatically, such as increasing the swiftness of Veterans claim processing, the availability of saving bonds information and more.
The challenge this year is the impact of the Continuing Resolution because most of our initiatives are considered new, which requires new funding.
We have witnessed continued delays in expected procurements in this area, which adds more pressure onto federal agencies to meet the deadline. It is going to be very interesting to watch. There isn’t a lot of time for agencies to jump start these initiatives to be 100% electronic and servicing their stakeholders end to end digitally.”
ExecutiveBiz: In recent years, what are some of the biggest improvements you’ve seen in the way we talk and think about innovation across the federal sector since the risks of cybersecurity, AI/ML, 5G and other emerging technologies?
“The biggest improvement I’ve seen around innovation for the government is the willingness for federal agencies to purchase solutions coupled with a low-code implementation approach instead of trying to build it themselves or rewrite 80 percent of it.
This has provided Iron Mountain the opportunity to show federal agencies they need to recognize that commercial industries have struggled with many of the same data challenges. A key example is the financial industry being extremely regulated with many hurdles to jump over.
Intelligent document processing with AI/ML plus low-code content platforms can help standardize their processes to address their challenges faster, with greater quality and proficiency.
We have also noticed by lowering data capture and legacy tool maintenance costs for agencies they are able to invest in the areas they need to improve most, such as business process reforms. This assists in gaining value of digitally driven information. Now they will be able to cut budgets and can decrease the time it takes to bring satisfaction to their employees and constituents.
I am thrilled that government agencies are recognizing that Iron Mountain is able to partner with them to harness these innovations. Now with 5G, there is the ability to utilize robotics and drones within that large supply chain and logistics operations.
I think about all the supply chain warehouses or even warehouses full of records they must manage. With 5G eliminating latency, we can now bring ‘electronic eyes’ to something like imaging inventory and automatically capturing data for classification and governance.”
ExecutiveBiz: What are your strategic goals for the coming year? What do you hope to accomplish and any new markets that you’re keeping an eye on in the federal sector?
“The obvious first thing on our agenda is from a financial aspect. We have a goal to double our revenue over the course of the year. We are working on that by providing the necessary solutions to assist these agencies with their digital transformation journey, and the focus on the citizen experience. Our heritage and expertise will help government agencies accomplish their goals.
The other core goal is to focus on continuing to cultivate a winning culture with true equity and inclusion, as that is the foundation of Iron Mountain’s culture.
We cannot achieve any significant growth target without a culture that is agile and centered around customer obsession, employee engagement and empowerment. I firmly believe that everyone has an idea of how to better serve our customers in this sector and harness that to compete and continue to be innovative.
With our recent acquisition of ITRenew, Iron Mountain is now in the secure recycling and disposal of IT assets. This is a compliment to our large logistics footprint. We have seen some recent data breaches splashed all over the front page and it shows that legacy IT assets are a huge security threat.
It is also important to embrace the green lifecycle and recycle the components used to build and maintain IT hardware assets.. If a component cannot be recycled, then it is our job to ensure its secure destruction. We will maintain custody, keep track of the asset, and provide the proper certifications to agencies upon completion.
Iron Mountain has also moved into a more green way of doing business. The company strives to be our customers’ most trusted partner for protecting and unlocking the value of what matters to most to them in innovative and socially responsible ways.”