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Rob Silverman Shares Insights Into Booz Allen’s Recent Acquisitions and Going-Forward Strategy

Mergers and acquisitions across the government contracting landscape are back on the upswing after a relatively slow year for deals. In an Executive Spotlight interview with Executive Mosaic, Booz Allen Hamilton Executive Vice President Rob Silverman gave us a glimpse into the company’s recent acquisitions and shared insights for M&A moving forward. 

Silverman serves as the primary integration officer for new corporate acquisitions at Booz Allen, and he’s a 2021 Wash100 Award winner. Read below for Silverman’s perspectives on how acquisitions continue as a key ingredient of Booz Allen’s strategy. 

What are Booz Allen’s core values? How do you think these values translate into continued success and growth in the GovCon market?

Fundamentally, any successful company is about their purpose and values. It describes not just what they do, but why they do it and how they do it, and that goes for Booz Allen certainly. Our purpose is to empower people to change the world, and that purpose is supported by values of passionate service, champion’s heart, collective ingenuity, ferocious integrity and unflinching courage. We firmly believe that you need a purpose that bold to do the kind of work that we do. We are remarkably privileged to serve the clients that we do — just amazing clients with missions of national importance that affect each and every one of us as citizens. Again, if you don’t have that kind of bold purpose, if you don’t have that set of values, I don’t see how you could succeed. It’s being bold, but it’s also bringing integrity and passion to the mission. How we do those things, coupled with what we do and for whom we do it is really something special.

As a leader of Booz Allen’s post-M&A integration, what can you tell me about Booz Allen’s recent M&A efforts?

I would categorize our pursuits and what we’re looking for in four ways. First, does the asset that we’re considering allow us to broaden and/or deepen our service to those missions that matter to our clients? How can we more fulsomely serve those clients? Secondly, is the company’s type of work on-strategy for the firm? Namely, does the company offer capabilities in digital, cloud, cyber or artificial intelligence and are they aligned to missions that we want to serve? Thirdly, do the company and their people align with our purpose and values? And that’s really a gating metric. If that’s not the case, it’s just not going to work. Fourth and finally, would the asset enable us to make one plus one equal more than two? In other words, is it financially accretive at the top and bottom lines? 

Two of our most recent acquisitions for which I’ve had the privilege to serve as Booz Allen’s integration lead were Liberty IT Solutions and EverWatch Solutions. Both companies met those four criteria — additive to client work, strategic, well aligned with purpose and values and financially accretive — which made them a strong fit for us.

Liberty IT Solutions had this amazing reputation for serving clients primarily at the Department of Veterans Affairs, and they were an eminent name in the low-code, no-code space, especially with Salesforce. The kind of work they have done with our veterans, and that they continue to do with Booz Allen, is just amazing. Their clients in VA’s benefits and IT space are just really incredible. Acquiring them was on-strategy for us to not only broaden our stack of services to the VA and adjacent clients, but also to more deeply immerse into the low-code, no-code space. We were already strong, and Liberty enabled us to be even stronger. We share purpose and values and, now together, we continue to grow and thrive. 

With EverWatch, we’re still not even a year into that integration. And an important part of our M&A strategy is that while it’s great to be successful in the short term, we really aim to be successful in the mid to longer terms. These are deepened relationships, not transactional ones that evaporate the moment you acquire. With Everwatch, we can clearly see how the acquisition enables our long-term business strategy and already see early returns across the intelligence community. 

The acquisition was very much on-strategy. EverWatch brings technical software development and artificial intelligence capabilities, and when combined with Booz Allen from a functional and capability perspective, it’s spot on. And Everwatch is definitely spot on with how we want to serve clients in the defense and national security space. And again, we found we have a match for our purpose and values. 

We recently did an employee engagement survey for our EverWatch colleagues, and it was amazing how the data were so similar to what we see from Booz Allen. One interesting thing we learned is how important clients are to each and every person at EverWatch. That’s their highest calling, and it’s Booz Allen’s highest calling as well. So that confirmed our initial impression that the relationship would be great. The early returns are solid, and even more importantly, as part of Booz Allen’s strategy, we see EverWatch as a key enabler to strategic business goals going forward.

Given the M&A efforts we just discussed, where are you seeing the most exciting new opportunities for expansion in Booz Allen’s portfolio? What new capabilities or markets are you eyeing?

With this privilege of serving clients across the breadth of the federal government community, there are a lot of missions that we’re engaged with and a lot of missions we see that we can serve anew or better. Our expansion efforts are in three dimensions. One is for those clients across that space — be it in civil, in defense or in national security. We have looked and continue to look across all of those markets and all of those critical missions. 

There’s a capability component to it also. As we’ve evolved from being historically focused on general management consulting to more advanced technical capabilities in digital, cloud, engineering, cyber and AI, we continue to look across all of those technical disciplines with an eye toward how do we deploy those into those missions, not just simply a capability play. Then, as our leadership has said on our earnings calls, we continue really to focus on small to medium sized tuck-ins that serve those missions and bring those technical disciplines to the table.

What can we expect to see from Booz Allen going into 2024 from an M&A perspective?

We’re certainly looking for those small to medium sized tuck-ins, and we’re still right on track with our investment thesis of how we want to grow inorganically. There are macroeconomic factors that affect this, but I’d say that our strategy continues to be selective but aggressive. We are very purposefully picky, for all those criteria that I described to you before. But when we see what we want, we go after it with gusto. So I would expect more of what you’ve seen over the last few years from us.

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