Forging stronger government and integrator ties
Tech refresh veterans say clear goals and frequent communication are the keys to success for leasing or performance-based contracts between integrators and agencies.
"Be very clear and concrete when defining goals, objectives and requirements," said Trey Smith, executive vice president for federal business for integrator Science Applications International Corp.
Other must-haves include strong program management within the agency and a close working relationship between program managers and integrator executives. "Lastly, communicate, communicate, communicate," Smith said.
A program manager and the integrator's project leader may work out a revised implementation schedule based on a delay that neither party anticipated. "But if the reasons for the change haven't been communicated up the line, the integrator may have a good relationship with the program manager, but be persona non grata with the [agency's] operating unit," he said.
Communication must flow downstream, too, said Valerie Perlowitz, president and chief executive officer of Reliable Integration Services Inc. "The education and training approach works much better than cramming something new down peoples' throats," she said. "The No. 1 mistake we see is lack of communication down to the end user. Otherwise, they won't understand how complex it is to change. All they want is a new computer on their desktops."
Alan Joch is a freelance writer based in New Hampshire.