David Moskovitz: Collaborator-in-chief

Accenture Federal Services' chief executive believes his teams must “earn the right to innovate with our client.”

David Moskovitz (Photo: Zaid Hamid)

The quick take on Accenture Federal Services could be that 2016 was a year focused on cyber and cloud security. The firm closed its acquisition of Defense Point Security and put all the pieces in place for Endgame and iDefense Security Intelligence Services — deals that closed early in 2017. Former CIA CTO Ira “Gus” Hunt was brought in to lead AFS’ cybersecurity practice, while former National Security Agency executive Harold “Hal” Smith came aboard to run the intelligence practice.

According to Chief Executive David Moskovitz, however, it’s not that simple.

Cybersecurity is certainly an emphasis for AFS, he told FCW, but he sees it as one part of the firm’s mission to bring innovation to the largest and most complex issues facing government.

The central premise for Accenture, Moskovitz said, is that “you absolutely have to deliver...every day,” which then earns the company “the right to innovate with our client.”

Cyber is ripe for innovation, he added, as traditional defenses are replaced with more proactive, risk-based and artificial intelligence-powered solutions. Although Accenture has always had the “basic hygiene” capabilities, Moskovitz said the latest acquisitions and hires are “designed to bring that kind of leapfrog capability” and collaborate with AFS’ other experts to tackle government customers’ biggest challenges.

“One of the things that makes us special is our ability to blend deep industry and domain expertise with the technology,” he said.

For Moskovitz, that culture of collaboration is the firm’s not-so-secret weapon, and nurturing it is a big part of his job. “We spend a lot of time looking at the...culture and aspirations of the people,” he said, and ensuring that employees of all stripes are being welcomed and supported. “We’re just better, stronger, more innovative — and we’re attracting the very best people if we have that diverse and open and inclusive culture.”

On the acquisition side, Moskovitz said, “it’s looking for companies that really do want to innovate — [getting] very involved early on, meeting with the leaders of potential companies and making sure that they fit.”

The culture is also a selling point, he added. “We don’t hire people for contract, we hire people for career. That’s quite distinct in the federal marketplace, and it’s very attractive to companies that are coming to be part of our family.... The companies that we acquire and the people coming in see this as a very powerful platform to impact what goes on in the country and to make government more effective.”

That’s also what motivates Moskovitz himself. He spent more than a decade in the public sector before joining Accenture in 1994, and “I’ve always been passionate about how you make government operate better.”

So although long-term strategy and business fundamentals are always on the agenda, he said, “my best day is when I’m rolling up my sleeves with a proposal team or a delivery team, focusing on one of the most challenging issues government is facing.”

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