2017 Industry Eagle Winner

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.”

About the Author

Troy K. Schneider is the Editor-in-Chief of both FCW and GCN, two of the oldest and most influential publications in public-sector IT. Both publications (originally known as Federal Computer Week and Government Computer News, respectively) are owned by GovExec. Mr. Schneider also serves GovExec's General Manager for Government Technology Brands.

Mr. Schneider previously served as New America Foundation’s Director of Media & Technology, and before that was Managing Director for Electronic Publishing at the Atlantic Media Company, where he oversaw the online operations of The Atlantic Monthly, National Journal, The Hotline and The Almanac of American Politics, among other publications. The founding editor of NationalJournal.com, Mr. Schneider also helped launch the political site PoliticsNow.com in the mid-1990s, and worked on the earliest online efforts of the Los Angeles Times and Newsday. He began his career in print journalism, and has written for a wide range of publications, including The New York Times, WashingtonPost.com, Slate, Politico, Governing, and many of the other titles listed above.

Mr. Schneider is a graduate of Indiana University, where his emphases were journalism, business and religious studies.

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