For tech executives primed to make the most out of their budgets — and their existing staff — the start of the new year means ruthless prioritization when it comes to project execution.
CIOs are beginning 2022 with more resources, as Gartner expects IT spend to rise 3.6% in 2022, the biggest jump in a decade. Organizations expect the increase in spending to improve the way they operate, given technology’s central role to most businesses.
External pressure on IT projects is also mounting. The risks of potential cyberattacks is a top executive concern, as well as disruption from more technologically advanced competitors.
In the tug of war over pressing projects, how can executives decide what to address first? Here’s how 5 IT executives are prioritizing projects in 2022:
(The comments below have been lightly edited for length and clarity.)
Sampath Narayanan, CIO at Everside Health
“It is critical to involve business stakeholders in the prioritization process.”
Gone are the days when you plan your IT initiatives for the next three years. In our dynamic world, a CIO must continuously watch for market trends, the competitive landscape, and their clients’ voice and be nimble in order to plan and execute on a quarterly basis.
For example, mid-last year, we saw the lack of an intuitive patient mobile app in the market as an opportunity, and created Everside Everywhere, a digital experience platform for our patients, in five months. Since then, we’ve seen 79% of our engaged patients use the app to receive care beyond the walls of our health centers.
It is critical to involve business stakeholders in the prioritization process — both for business alignment and transparency in the roadmap. Importantly, we set aside 20% of our capacity for unplanned critical projects. This sets up both our technology teams and business stakeholders for success on what to expect over the next quarter.
Anu Khare, SVP and CIO at Oshkosh Corporation
“We use the VSP framework to prioritize business projects that use digital technologies.”
At Oshkosh IT, we use the VSP framework to prioritize business projects that use digital technologies. Three elements of our framework are:
Measurable business value.
Strategic alignment to business strategy.
Passionate business sponsor engagement.
A team consisting of finance, IT and business uses this framework to prioritize projects. This prioritization approach has helped us to scale up business value and scale down time to deliver value.
Recently, our supply chain and IT team prioritized — using the VSP framework — an AI project that predicts components shortages for manufacturing. The team developed and implemented a predictive model that leverages machine learning algorithms to predict part shortages. This model improved our ability to predict what parts will arrive at our warehouse on time.
Miles Ward, CTO at SADA Systems
“Our top priority is to keep our customers safe by keeping our employees safe.”
Our team is made of technologists, so doing IT here is quite hard — think being a doctor for a doctor, or a lawyer for a lawyer.
However, prioritization is easy: Our top priority is to keep our customers safe by keeping our employees safe. This, like a few other of the tasks our IT team handles, aren’t subject to prioritization, they’re simply mission critical.
For items below this tier, we’re focused on speed: What can we do to help our staff help customers faster? Reducing friction is absolutely imperative in a world as dynamic and nonstop as ours, so we need to take bold steps to simplify at every step. Simplifications that affect more employees can affect more customers, so we stack rank for scale of impact.
Jason Conyard, VMware CIO
“Organizations that are prepared to adapt quickly, recognize the need to build adaptable foundations.”
Technology leaders need to be focused on transformation. We should be prioritizing efforts that truly move our businesses and organizations forward — and not with small steps but rather with giant, quantum changes.
As the pandemic has demonstrated, fortune favors the prepared. Organizations that are prepared to adapt quickly, recognize the need to build adaptable foundations and that think big and take bold action will win the day.
Technology leaders must also be business leaders and prioritize the things that build the future.
Aranya Ghatak, VP and CIO at Vectrus
”Managing cyber risk has to be high on the priority list, as do reliable IT systems with high uptime.”
Making key investments in new areas of innovation has to be a priority in order to create a sustainable competitive advantage. If a project isn’t going to grow a business, why would you prioritize it? Growth coupled with worker productivity enhancement are key considerations on prioritizing projects.
I lead a global technology team that supports worker productivity of 10,000 of our members operating in diverse, far-flung locations, while keeping the organization’s digital assets secure.
Managing cyber risk has to be high on the priority list, as do reliable IT systems with high uptime, which enable digital worker productivity. Enabling our best technology and business simplification to improve operations allows for a better experience for all.
Recent contract wins and acquisitions helped Vectrus make a big comeback from the COVID-19 pandemic in the second quarter with surging revenue and profits, the Colorado Springs-based defense contractor said Tuesday.
Revenue during the April-to-June quarter jumped more than 40% from a year ago to nearly $471 million. Profits soared more than 14 times during the same period from $1.11 million, or 9 cents a share, to $15.9 million, or $1.35 a share. A major adjustment to a defense contract in Europe and delays in starting contracts triggered by the pandemic slashed the company’s second-quarter earnings last year.
“Our business continues to advance on all fronts to deliver solid results in the second quarter,” Vectrus CEO Chuck Prow said Tuesday on a conference call with investors and stock analysts.
Much of the growth came from a $242 million Navy contract Vectrus won during the quarter to provide supplies and services worldwide to support humanitarian and disaster relief, military exercises and operations in the Middle East. The company also received a work order to support a major military exercise just completed in Asia. The contract wins helped to boost the company’s contract backlog by $400 million from the previous quarter to $4.9 billion.
The rest of the revenue gain resulted from two acquisitions Vectrus completed late last year. Vectrus bought HHB Systems, a Virginia-based defense contractor specializing in systems engineering and technical assistance, and Zenetex, another Virginia defense contractor that specializes in providing management and technology services for federal and defense industry clients.
Revenue for the first half of the year was up 31.6% from the same period last year to $904.8 million, while earnings nearly tripled from $9.78 million, or 83 cents a share, to nearly $28 million, or $2.37 a share.
Based on the first-half gains, Vectrus boosted its annual revenue and earnings forecast. The company boosted its revenue forecast by $65 million to between $1.75 billion and $1.78 billion and its profit forecast by 21 cents to between $3.78 and $4.18 a share. Vectrus earned $3.14 a share last year on revenue of nearly $1.4 billion.
As a solutions architect at Vectrus, every day is different for Kelly Voci.
“I work with our engineering, marketing and business development teams to deliver engineering technologies and energy solutions to our customers,” she explains. “I leverage our engineering team’s expertise and customer interactions to understand customer requirements and price solutions, and to grow our business with existing and new customers.”
She also works with Vectrus’ communications department to provide a voice to the engineering team and to showcase its capabilities. Headquartered in Colorado Springs, CO, Vectrus provides facility and base operations, supply chain and logistics services, information technology (IT) mission support, and engineering and digital integration services primarily to U.S. government customers around the world. With Vectrus since July 2018, Voci recalls how, during the interview process, the people she met with were open and honest about the position in which she would be working.
“I knew, if the Vectrus team was transparent in where we shined, as well as where we could improve before I even joined, the insight the team would share once I became a Vectrus employee would be indicative of how we perform and collaborate as a team,” she notes. “I’ve always striven to work in an atmosphere that treated its people like family, no matter how big or small the company. I’m fortunate to say that, nearly three years later, I still feel like we look out for one another and, of course, our customer.
Voci says there are two things that come to mind in regard to what makes Vectrus a great place to work. The first is how it values its people, which was keenly apparent during the pandemic.
“Our leadership and teammates treat people like people. The work-life balance during COVID-19 isn’t always easy, but it’s easier with a team that understands how real life works. Vectrus values taking care of its employees and our families. For most of us, this is why we work,” she says, “to support our families. Vectrus gets this.”
“Skill sets can be learned, but the willingness to buy into the culture and work with the people around you, that’s something that should match when you start a job,” she says.
Second is Vectrus’ willingness as a company to talk about things that matter to people. The company utilizes “courageous communication,” where employees can be open and honest, in a respectful and kind manner.
“Vectrus invests a lot of time and energy to make sure we’re treating our people correctly,” says Voci.
“When you deliver the mission with the technical know-how and kindness, you’ll feel the energy that people bring to our customers and each other.” The best career advice that Voci ever received was that prior to accepting a job, make sure the culture is a good fit for you.
To excel in your career, she adds, understand your strengths, and how you can use them to add value to the team. Also understand what you don’t know, then be hungry to learn to fill in the gaps and ask questions. Finally, leverage the experience of your teammates and learn from them.
“One reason the Vectrus engineering team works so well is the team is diverse. People bring different perspectives to our solutions. We lean on people’s experience in the field, on interactions with our customers to understand the inner workings of their requirements, and we have internal brainstorming to discuss our choices and strengthen our solutions. During all of these steps, we learn along the way. Be prepared to learn, and never stop.”
Find career opportunities with Vectrus at careers.vectrus.com and connect with them on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
Innovating government from within so services and processes can be more efficient requires more than emerging technologies and IT modernization strategies. It requires compliance, reporting and regulations that don’t often make the headlines, but nonetheless make it all possible. With every proposal, contract award or technology, GovCon in-house lawyers make sure the deals are secure, the technology is legal and everything involved falls within government requirements.
General counsels oversee the full lifecycle of legal matters, from contracts and compliance to navigating all elements of government reporting requirements and regulations. As you’ll read, this can include intellectual property and data rights, industrial security and foreign ownership laws, export controls and more. For WashingtonExec’s Top 15 General Counsels to Watch in 2021, we identified the general counsels in GovCon enabling companies to provide government customers with what they need securely and legally to keep the nation moving forward.
Kevin Boyle – Senior Vice President, Chief Legal Officer & General Counsel, Vectrus, Inc.
In 2020, Kevin Boyle added key talent to build out the legal and contracts teams in ways that support the execution of Vectrus’ growth strategy and embody its “Vectrus for Everyone” tagline of commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.
Boyle’s team also played a key role in the strategic acquisitions of Zenetex and HHB Systems in December 2020, accelerating Vectrus’ converged infrastructure strategy and enlarging its footprint in the intelligence community.
Like many organizations over the past year, the company experienced uncertainty, illness and loss because of the pandemic, Boyle said.
“Despite these challenges, the Vectrus community and their families pulled together to support each other, often making significant sacrifices, to ensure that our clients’ important missions never missed a beat,” he said. “It’s a privilege and honor to work alongside such amazing, ethical and decent people, and it motivates me to do my best every day.”
This year, Boyle’s team is working to integrate new colleagues, contracts and other assets from Zenetex and HHB. His team is also supporting the transition into full operating capability on several large, recent contract wins, including LOGCAP V, which will place Vectrus employees in every time zone on the planet.
Boyle will also work with colleagues to evolve their business model by using cutting-edge technologies and key partnerships to bring more value-added converged infrastructure solutions to clients. His team will continue to enhance and expand client relationships at the agency level and with key stakeholders throughout the federal government.
Two December acquisitions helped Colorado Springs-based defense contractor Vectrus boost revenue and profits sharply during the first quarter, the company reported Monday.
Vectrus acquired HHB Systems, a Virginia-based defense contractor specializing in systems engineering and technical assistance that employs more than 50 people, and Zenetex, another Virginia defense contractor that specializes in providing management and technology services for federal and defense industry clients, both in December. The two deals added $68.9 million in revenue during the January-to-March quarter, or 84% of its revenue increase during the quarter.
The acquisitions helped fuel a 23.4% jump in revenue to $434 million and a 38.7% surge in profits from $8.67 million, or 74 cents a share, in the first quarter of last year to $12.1 million, or $1.02 a share, in this year’s first quarter. Much of the rest of the gain came as the company phased in work on its largest contracts to provide logistics support to Army units in the Middle East and Asia
“The integration of these acquisitions is well underway and on track with our plan. We remain excited about the talent, combined capabilities, and opportunities for accelerated growth,” Vectrus CEO Chuck Prow said in a news release. “Vectrus reported strong first-quarter results driven by the continued momentum in the execution of our strategy” to combine its expertise in both logistics and information technology.”
The gains prompted Vectrus to raise the low end of its annual forecasts for revenue by $35 million to $1.65 billion and profits by 30 cents a share to $4.55 a share. The top end of the forecasts remains unchanged at $1.72 billion for revenue and $4.85 a share for profits. The company last year reported revenue totaling $1.4 billion and profits of $3.14 a share, both slowed by base access issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Colorado Springs gaming operator Century Casinos cut its losses 97% in the first quarter to $1.4 million, or 5 cents a share, from nearly $46 million, or $1.55 a share, during the same quarter last year, when all of its casinos were forced to close by the COVID-19 pandemic. The improvement came despite its casinos in Canada and Poland closing for much of the quarter.
Century’s co-CEOs Erwin Haitzmann and Peter Hoetzinger said Friday in a news release that they were pleased by the rebound, “driven almost exclusively by our properties in the U.S. because our properties in Canada were closed for the entire quarter and our casinos in Poland were closed for most of the quarter,” costing the company an estimated $6.7 million. “We look forward to the reopening of our casinos in Poland on May 8, our casinos and racetracks reopening in Canada and to a busy summer season in North America as the pandemic subsides.”
Colorado Springs gold producer Fortitude Gold earned profits totaling $2.4 million, or 10 cents a share, on revenue of $20.7 million in the first quarter. That’s a huge improvement from a loss of $1.39 million on revenue of $5.86 million during the first quarter of last year, when the company was part of Gold Resource and just ramping up operations at its Nevada mine.
During its first full quarter as a stand-alone company, Fortitude tripled gold production from a year earlier to 11,536 ounces and boosted silver production more than 40% to 7,133 ounces. The strong financial performance prompted the company to begin paying a 2-cent-a-share dividend last month and boost the dividend to 3 cents a share this month.
Without the one-time cost of stock and incentive bonuses to recruit the staff needed to operate as a separate company, Fortitude’s profits would have been “substantially higher,” CEO Jason Reid said in a news release.