In the latest Executive Spotlight interview, Paul Ingholt, partner at Guidehouse, recently spoke with ExecutiveBiz regarding the company’s acquisition of Dovel and how the move integrates into the greater growth strategies for Guidehouse.
In addition, Ingholt discussed the recent partnerships that have helped the company’s scale and strength in the federal market as well as the challenges of driving growth in such a competitive sector during his recent Executive Spotlight with ExecutiveBiz.
“Guidehouse’s whole strategic focus provides an extraordinary experience for our people at the core. At the center of everything we do is the personal experience for our people. While the whole industry has experienced hurdles over the last two years, we see a new environment emerging.”
You can read the full interview with Paul Ingholt below:
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?
Paul Ingholt: “Guidehouse has a number of corporate growth initiatives that all revolve around our commitment to help our clients meet their most important challenges with innovative solutions.
That means combining the best strategic consulting practices with technical depth in a wide range of areas and access to leading technologies. We occupy a unique space in the market by combining our public and private sector expertise, most of our direct competitors don’t bring the same balance of experience and ability to help our clients transform their organizations.
Our success has allowed us to invest both internally, through an Advanced Solutions team that delivers expertise across public and private clients, and externally, through strategic acquisitions, like our recent purchase of Dovel, a solutions provider with significant expertise and qualifications in the digital arena, including low code/no code development, cloud adoption, and grants management, as well as a compelling offering around innovation.
Since the November acquisition of Dovel, it’s been a really seamless and successful integration. Once we got into conversations with Dovel’s leadership, we were probably on talking ten or more hours a week because they brought in such a high functioning successful business and we saw such immediate application of their strengths to our clients.
Our perspective was about how we take advantage of those capabilities and client relationships that they brought to the table. Dovel continues to widen our aperture in terms of the business that we wanted to pursue and the ways that we could help our clients.
A lot of their portfolio is impressive, especially in grants management, including a program that they created in partnership with a federal agency, that is now a very successful application that is available across the federal government at a competitive cost. It’s also applicable to a very broad range of requirements.
In our national security sector, we do a lot of grants management work with FEMA at DHS. In the broader Guidehouse, we also do an enormous amount of grants work in Healthcare as well as in our state and local government. That is a capability with an immediate impact.
They also have some real depth and insight around cloud migration, building apps and working with low and no code systems. We’ve learned more about them as we’ve worked together and we found a really passionate team of people with their eyes on innovation.
There are a lot of things that all the segments across Guidehouse do really well that have driven our growth. While we have always had a collaborative culture, we are building more channels across the firm to share solutions and capabilities and really take advantage of our scale. One of those channels is strategic capture and marketing, which our corporate growth office is driving.
Two and a half years ago, I think I had a handful of conversations with our corporate growth team, but now we’re talking on a weekly basis and there’s open communication around what’s coming down the pipeline as well as our investments and how to drive our company forward.
Our investment in our capabilities around growth are significantly greater. It’s a clear reflection of this bigger appetite that we have at Guidehouse both corporately and in each of our business segments.”
ExecutiveBiz: Following the success of your recent quarterly results, what were the key factors that led to that company-wide performance and how will you continue to work to capitalize on that success moving forward?
Paul Ingholt: “Overall, I think our recent growth reflects Guidehouse filling its place in the market and getting traction where our approach and skills really make a difference. In some cases, it’s the fruit of many years of building up relationships and performance.
In other cases, it is us stepping into new areas where we hadn’t previously competed. The absolute common thread is delivering a higher level of quality and the real driver is more clients realizing the incredible impact we can make for them.
One of the real hallmarks at Guidehouse is the level of partner time and focus on interacting with client issues and that engagement is repaid in consistently outstanding client feedback and client demand for us to address their other complex problems.
The consulting business across our market is all about talent; if you’re not able to inspire talent to join and stay with you, you can’t meet your client’s needs and you certainly can’t grow. As a high-end consultancy that continues strong growth, we can offer more opportunities and a faster progression to our people.
We have to invest in the training and certifications as well as professional development. Our folks are on a faster trajectory for professional growth. I think that’s important, especially in the national security segment.
Guidehouse’s whole strategic focus provides an extraordinary experience for our people at the core. At the center of everything we do is the personal experience for our people. While the whole industry has experienced hurdles over the last two years, we see a new environment emerging.
Our clients have learned the value of focusing on results and impact, as opposed to physical presence; that really plays to our strengths and allows us to give people the flexibility and options that they now expect.
As people continue to work from home and recalibrate their expectations regarding how they want their work environment to be. I think that we will come out of this entire situation better just because it’s such a strong focus of ours and it will ultimately benefit us all once we adjust.”
ExecutiveBiz: How have recent partnerships been able to assist your company expand its position in the federal marketplace, drive innovation and new capabilities and ultimately help complete your company’s mission?
Paul Ingholt: “One of the real benefits of the scale that we have rapidly achieved is what we can offer to our teaming partners and key industry relationships. Through a more concerted effort across our firm, we are enriching our relationships with small businesses by identifying more opportunities to team with and help them succeed.
That can be through teaming or through more formal arrangements like mentor-protégées and joint ventures. This extends to our relationships with mid and large businesses as well. In particular, where we find a strong complement of skills, client focus and values.
And, finally, our scale and the strength of our client relationships has fostered our relationships with major vendors and providers across multiple markets. Another big piece of Guidehouse’s corporate investments in growth is that we’re getting better at managing and approaching our partnerships. We have partnered with Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Workday and Oracle and dozens more.
The strength of your relationship with any of those companies is dependent on bringing scale to them. The better we are at acting as an entire company with them as opposed to individual segments pursuing their business is why we continue to develop those strong relationships and see the benefits.
We are a lot more focused on the strategy behind our partnerships at the corporate level in order to take advantage of working together. That’s just one of those things you’re always trying to improve, but I think making conscious decisions about the things that you want to handle from the corporate side of Guidehouse allows us to bring scale to those conversations.
It’s a long list of partnerships that we have. I’d be hard pressed to pick out of the group, but one thing that I would note is the context of corporate investments and focus. In the last year, like a lot of companies, we went through a big corporate rebranding exercise and updated all of our marketing materials.
We have a really great marketing team and branding professionals that have really helped us develop our perspective from being more passive in the market to being much more proactive and thoughtful about using all the channels out there to get people talking about Guidehouse and recognizing the great pieces of work we’re doing.
The level of energy that Guidehouse brings to the table has improved dramatically in the last couple years. It’s just going to get better.”
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?
Paul Ingholt: “There are two real drivers for growth; first, once clients experience the quality and commitment that our teams deliver, they generally want us to apply that same approach to other daunting challenges.
And second, clients increasingly recognize that their most difficult problems have multiple dimensions, it’s never just technology deployment, business process, or data analytics.
It’s the integration of all of those dimensions that makes the client organization work better, empower the workforce and deliver on their missions. We are trying to keep pace with our client’s demands to tackle more problems. At the same time, we’re finding new markets where our approach and capabilities will succeed.
There are a lot of markets, where Guidehouse has a really strong presence. Obviously, the focus is based on continuing to build on our positions. But I think more importantly, it’s about taking advantage and really stepping into new markets, which is the theme for my team for the year.
We’re really looking at specific areas where we can meet new clients and develop new capabilities. Guidehouse has a strong enough basis, in the areas that we already have built at really good scale and maintained good client relationships.
The challenge now is to challenge ourselves into new areas to continue expanding our footprint. That’s my metric to always bring new areas down the pipeline that we can go after as opposed to trying to get incremental growth out of a lot of our existing clients.”