Steve Tolbert, executive vice president of business systems at CACI International, recently spoke with GovCon Wire regarding the company’s position in the federal market to assist our government agencies in implementing the latest technology and modernizing their business systems.
In addition, Tolbert discussed the changes that government agencies are making to improve their acquisition approaches as well as the acceleration of the federal market’s demands to stay ahead of the technological curve during the latest Executive Spotlight interview.
“The work we do is far-reaching – for example, nearly all the Defense Department’s annual budget requests leverage systems that CACI supports, we process nearly half a trillion dollars annually in payments to government contractors, and we’re building the largest PeopleSoft Human Capital Management system in the world for the U.S. Army.”
You can read the full Executive Spotlight interview with Steve Tolbert below:
GovCon Wire: What is CACI’s role as it relates to implementing and modernizing business systems for the federal government?
Steve Tolbert: “CACI provides solutions to U.S. Government agencies for a range of important enterprise business functions such as Human Capital Management, Financial Management, Budget Management, and Acquisition Solutions.
We provide these Business System solutions through an array of full life-cycle services from design, development, and deployment through sustainment and retirement. We also leverage our leading-edge capabilities in such areas as Agile/DevSecOps, data analytics, intelligent automation, cloud, and ERP at scale. With these solutions, we are helping to accelerate digital transformation across the government.
The work we do is far-reaching – for example, nearly all the Defense Department’s annual budget requests leverage systems that CACI supports, we process nearly half a trillion dollars annually in payments to government contractors, and we’re building the largest PeopleSoft Human Capital Management system in the world for the U.S. Army.
Finally, we do this work at scale across all government sectors including Defense, Intelligence, and Federal Civilian agencies. The outcome of our work for the agencies we support includes accelerated decision support, successive clean financial audits, the ability to respond faster to a changing government workforce, more secure systems and data, and higher overall productivity.”
GovCon Wire: What changes are you seeing in this market and how has CACI addressed the fast-changing demand? Are you seeing an uptick or acceleration due to the pandemic or geopolitical issues?
Steve Tolbert: “Driven by the confluence of an unprecedented number of national and global issues in the last 24 months, we’re seeing significant growth in the need for rapid transformation of government IT capabilities with more modern, flexible, secure, and scalable architectures.
It’s specifically the extent of the business transformation and associated functionality needed to support the increasing expectations of our customers, and the urgency with which it needs to happen. We’ve reached an inflection point where continued reliance on legacy ‘systems of systems’ is jeopardizing the government’s ability to govern, protect, and serve our country.
The issues I’m referring to here include fast-moving and potentially existential threats such as the global pandemic, geopolitical unrest, climate change, and social and political unrest, to name a few.
The impacts of these issues on our industry are far-reaching – fast-changing requirements and policies, heightened cybersecurity threats, demand for faster decision support across exponentially increasing data stores, rapid scaling of processing power, greater competition for funding, and higher expectations for audibility, and more. This has real implications for the work we do and CACI is responding.
Our solutions are increasingly adaptable, meaning we build solutions that are more flexible, modular, and composable, allowing our clients to adapt much faster to changing circumstances and needs.
As an example, where relevant, we use our advanced Agile and DevSecOps methodologies to allow tailoring and configuration of solutions that can adapt more quickly to changing needs during and even after deployment.
We partner closely with our clients to evaluate and optimize in near real-time the trade-offs between needed changes and the resulting schedule, technical, and cost risks, which provides our clients with deployed solutions that more closely match current business needs.
We also see the need for solutions that can scale quickly as demand rises and falls more quickly (for example, pandemic demand fluctuations on CDC business systems for data collection and analysis). We do this through increased virtualization (think: hyper scalable cloud architectures) and AI that can predict and adjust processing resources automatically to accommodate changes in demand.
Government agencies are having to react to constantly changing cyber threats – solutions must implement “adaptable security”, wherein it is simply expected that threats will evolve faster and across a larger and more varied surface area – systems must be able to autonomously identify, disrupt, and recover from cyber threats in near-real-time. We use approaches such as DevSecOps, Zero Trust, and others to make solution defenses more intelligent and resilient.
The user base for government systems has become dramatically more diverse, with different levels of technical proficiency and different expectations for system interaction. Our solutions must be more intuitive, more intelligent, and more configurable to meet this changing demand.
We are also adding more intelligence to the solutions we provide, whereby more tasks are automated, and more systems are self-reacting to changes in such variables as cloud resource demand, cyberthreats, end-user needs, and business processes. Solutions are increasingly self-adapting, self-protecting, and self-healing.
In a nutshell, we are having to innovate continuously to respond to more changes in less time.”
GovCon Wire: How is technology shifting the landscape of business systems in the federal market? Are government agencies changing their acquisition approaches to reflect these shifts?
Steve Tolbert: “As I’ve described, the business demands on our government clients are changing rapidly, and as a result, so are the underlying technologies and acquisition approaches they’re relying on. In response to these and other changes, CACI is advancing our capabilities using important technologies.
For example, CACI’s Agile Solution Factory (ASF) optimizes Agile software development, delivering the benefits of Agile at an enterprise scale. The results of CACI’s ASF on large government programs include increased end-user satisfaction through higher quality and more secure software deployed in shorter release cycles – and with more transparency.
CACI also provides some of the most advanced cloud migration and optimization capabilities in the industry. We leverage industry-leading Agile methods to rapidly design and deploy modular cloud solutions that reduce complexity, cost, and risk while ensuring security and interoperability.
We protect cloud-hosted infrastructure, safeguard critical data, identify and mitigate emerging threats, and deliver innovative IaaS, DevSecOps, machine learning, and big data solutions that really transform government IT environments.
In addition, CACI delivers advanced analytics capabilities, applying artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) expertise and technology to accelerate productivity and decision making.
Our capabilities rapidly analyze and translate data into decisions that maximize workforce efficiency, automatically respond, and utilize human-in-the-loop technologies to improve adaptable AI models for business systems. We improve the quality and speed of decisions.
We’re also leveraging advances with low code, no code environments like Salesforce, ServiceNow, Appian, and more to streamline business processes in less time and in a way that can be tailored by end-users. We not only see changes in the cost of ownership, we find that this approach is also empowering for end-users who need some flexibility without requiring more costly development.
Acquisition changes we’re seeing in some agencies include more risk-sharing with contractors (for example, more use of Firm Fixed Price and other outcome-based models), some level of contract consolidation to reduce contract oversight and integration demands, and increased emphasis on the partnership between developers and operators of systems to drive better software faster.
This shift to outcome-based models allows contractors like CACI to bring more of these technologies to bear in support of their customers’ missions.”