Brubaker back in the results business

Procentrix aims to maximize agency processes, systems

While a staff member for then-Sen. William Cohen (R-Maine), Paul Brubaker helped craft the law that made results a paramount focus for agencies. Now, 10 years later, he has set his sights on helping those agencies use their commercial technology to optimize the management of their programs and processes.

To accomplish that goal, he started a company.

Procentrix is not a value-added reseller or a traditional consulting firm seeking to sell new information technology systems to the government, said Brubaker, who left government integrator SI International earlier this year after almost three years as the company’s chief marketing officer.

His plan is twofold. The company will offer functional consulting services, providing clients with a mix of subject expertise in government regulations and best practices and standards. Procentrix will also offer technical consulting services and support for commercial technologies but has no plans to sell software.

“We have created a framework — the underlying plumbing, if you will — to enable agencies to better manage their processes,” said Brubaker, Procentrix’s chief executive officer. “We will maximize existing systems, most of which are Microsoft.”

The Clinger-Cohen Act, which became law in 1996, called for IT management processes that the software of the day was unable to support, said Brubaker, who helped write the law as a Senate staffer.

That technology now exists in the commercial software that agencies and organizations already own, he said. They are familiar with their Microsoft platform, he added, but not always aware of its full capability.

Brubaker said he believes agency projects fail when managers are unable to execute them on a regular, repeatable basis.

“We want to maximize investments that have already been made in the technology in the government, use the technology agencies already own,” said Mike Hughes, president of Procentrix. The two-pronged assistance Procentrix offers, he added, will increase performance efficiencies and create repeatable processes.

Procentrix was involved in the testing of Microsoft’s next-generation operating system, Vista, so it will be able to help agencies transition to the Microsoft Office 2007 platform, Hughes said.

Mike Sade, a procurement officer at the Commerce Department, said there is a general government need for better software tools to track and measure processes and performance, especially after the 2002 Office of Management and Budget mandate that federal agencies use earned value management (EVM) systems to measure their major IT service and acquisition contracts.

“There aren’t many good tools out there,” Sade said.

Dave Powner, director of IT management for the Government Accountability Office, said EVM is a Bush administration priority. “The focus now is to get better data not only at the project level but also at the agency level to ensure that we’re getting the return that we need on our $65 billion IT investment,” he said.

Brubaker said clients will be able to start with small, relatively inexpensive Procentrix contracts and see performance results usually within two to four months.

“We’re taking an incremental approach because once you achieve results with one process, you’re more likely and more comfortable with adding additional processes onto the framework,” he said.

Brubaker said OMB’s prediction that about 25 percent of the government’s IT supervisory staff will retire in the next year or two and the need to replace them is an excellent opportunity for the company to find clients.

Procentrix has signed its first federal client, but Brubaker declined to name the agency. He is trying to get the word out about the firm now. Expansion will come later, he said.

Phases of a fix

Paul Brubaker, founder and chief executive officer of consulting company Procentrix, said the business will work with clients in four areas: executive oversight and governance, portfolio management, project management, and tools and technology.

The tools and technology area includes:

  • Phase one — Identify tools, install solution accelerators and test solutions.

  • Phase two — Customize and integrate solution accelerators, and deploy analytical tools and management score cards.

  • Phase three — Scale hardware, perform load testing and train solutions administrators.

  • Phase four — Update technology using the latest tools available and address integration issues that result from the new line of business applications.

— David Hubler

About the Author

David Hubler is the former print managing editor for GCN and senior editor for Washington Technology. He is freelance writer living in Annandale, Va.

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