Executive Spotlight: George Franz, Managing Director & Cybersecurity Lead for Defense at Accenture Federal Services

George Franz, managing director and cybersecurity lead for defense at Accenture Federal Services (AFS), recently spoke with GovCon Wire regarding how the integration of the Novetta acquisition from 2021 has benefited its portfolio and driven value for the company’s customers.

In addition, George Franz touched on ensuring the long term success for the employees at AFS, which includes addressing the recruitment and talent management challenges of the federal sector as well as how the influence of emerging technologies continues to drive digital transformation efforts for AFS in 2022 during the latest Executive Spotlight interview.

The key drivers of innovation are technology and people. They’re both equally important in the work it takes to keep up with rapid advancements in emerging technologies. We can’t afford to miss the opportunities we have to develop new ways of thinking about innovation. The secret is that innovation happens on the thought side and the development of your people.”

You can read the full interview with George Franz below:

GovCon Wire: 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?

George Franz: “Obviously, the challenge can be daunting. My role with Accenture Federal Services (AFS) is focused primarily on operations and strategy for cybersecurity with the Department of Defense (DoD). With regard to our digital transformation efforts with DoD, AFS has really taken a practical, outcomes-based approach to innovation.

That requires a good blending of people, processes, and technology. AFS’ responsibility is to provide the best possible support for DoD while the department works to meet the significant national defense priorities at hand. With the latest national defense strategy, AFS is looking to support integrated deterrence and bring those capabilities across the entire federal government.

There’s great synergy between AFS and DoD as we support all aspects of campaigning from developing strategies and policies to delivering cutting-edge tools on the operator edge of the fight. AFS enables our clients to gain a real advantage against the full range of competitors and potential threats.

Another aspect of our mission is that AFS helps to build the advantages that accelerate the development of getting these technologies to people more quickly, which include agile and DevSecOps capabilities.

We continue to make huge investments in the great people who build those capabilities. There are a lot of requirements coming down the pipeline through recent executive orders as well as emerging technologies like zero-trust architecture and quantum computing capabilities.

Our approach is to take on that whole spectrum of culture, which includes the people, processes, and technologies to deliver and reach practice outcomes. Innovation is accelerating. There’s a lot of technology coming quickly, but you need to bring that into the mission space in a way that provides successful outcomes for the client.

There is so much innovative technology coming so you must have the people who can actually help to implement those with your mission partners. Technology by itself isn’t the answer. It’s a combination of technology and your people. The real driver of technology is the ability to produce strategies to solve problems and have the people who can execute the mission.”

GovCon Wire: How does your company ensure long-term success for your workforce to drive value for your employees as you continue to face the uphill challenge to recruit and retain the best talent in the federal marketplace?

George Franz: “As a veteran, I truly appreciate the need for a diverse, disciplined, and creative workforce across all technologies, especially in the cyber mission space. At Accenture Federal Services, that’s a very important part of our overall human capital management work. Our focus is to support the national defense strategy as well as recruitment initiatives for veterans.

This gives our veterans the opportunity to continue to serve the nation in a different role. That is how I’ve personally felt getting to continue to serve in support of our national defense as an Accenture Federal Services’ leader. It’s a critical part of building that industry as well as being available to identify the relationships in government and military to help our veterans join our organization.

Accenture Federal Services really looks at the talent pool of veterans at all levels, including the experienced senior veterans like myself or the junior folks who are transitioning, as well. The aspects at the core and strength of our DoD and military community include great technical skills and an appreciation of new technologies and their processes.

We’ve found that the veterans who join AFS have a strong thirst for ongoing learning and a deep mission understanding, which helps our team and the entire company in everything we do. There are a number of things that we use to upscale our veterans, train and transition them and their spouses onto big platforms like Salesforce and ServiceNow.

AFS has found that veterans who have gone through our programs have not only pivoted to new careers and opportunities if their career takes them elsewhere, but they’ve become trainers to share the information for others.

That fits perfectly with the AFS culture. We’re driven by serving our clients and helping to complete their missions. We’ve found that veterans bring a giving environment to work in and they deserve to continue serving in defense of our nation.”

GovCon Wire: What can you tell us about the integration of Novetta since the acquisition last year and how it’s benefited your portfolio and driven value for your customers?

George Franz: “We’re really excited about the acquisition of Novetta. AFS has integrated a great team with a strong set of capabilities that enhances the Accenture Federal Services’ portfolio capabilities, especially in the cyber mission space in support of the national defense strategy.

Novetta, which is now our National Security portfolio, has brought a full spectrum of cyber tools and capabilities. It’s enabled us to better support the DoD mission and to provide support, engagement, and operationally focused tools.

That collection of capabilities will add great value for our customers. We also recently established a new national security center that will complement our defense sector.

This has all given AFS the opportunity to enhance our use of disruptive technologies, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. They’ve got super cybersecurity and full spectrum capabilities that allow us to transform how we approach the defense and law enforcement missions.

We’re providing enhanced capabilities for our clients, which gives them better access to their data to meet mission requirements across the full spectrum to support the National Security Strategy and Defense strategy.

I’m obsessed with the notion of bringing together the technology, but more importantly, the people and processes along at the same pace so everyone is on the same page with the same level of innovative thought to realize the full potential of what those technologies can bring to the mission.

All too often, we all can focus too much on the technology or the newest tool, or whatever the latest thing is in our sector. That’s important, but we also need to always have advanced, cutting-edge tools. You need the best trained and most skilled people. On top of all that, you must have the processes and implementation plans no matter what the next technology will be.

That’s how Accenture Federal Services gets the best out of these technologies to use them better than any of our adversaries. We can’t outspend them. However, we can outsmart and outthink them to gain the advantage we need to support our national defense missions.”

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