Q&A with IBM’s Andy Maner on his new Position, Federal IT, & Governing to Win

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Andy Maner, IBM Global Business Services

Andy Maner is the Managing Partner of IBM Global Business Services, and the Department of Homeland Security’s former Chief Financial Officer (CFO). He was appointed to that position in January 2004 by then President George W. Bush, and held it until 2006.

Maner joined the Bush administration as a member of the White House Press Office, and would later accompany the former President and his wife to Texas as the Director of Press and Political Affairs. After his role at DHS, Maner went on to become CEO of National Interest Security Company from 2007 to May 2010. Maner received his B.A. from Purdue University and his MBA from the J.L. Kellogg School of Management.

Maner spoke with WashingtonExec about his new Managing Partner role at IBM, how he believes the government will fare in 2013 and beyond, what technology will impact the federal IT space the most, and more.

WashingtonExec:  What is your new position?

Andy Maner: I am the Managing Partner of IBM’s federal services business. I lead IBM’s federal services activities, providing the best of what IBM has to offer, and enabling success for our federal customers. I can’t imagine a more exciting time to be an IBM’er – this is a company with a deep legacy of innovation and partnership with the federal government – from the punchcards used to setup Social Security to putting a man on the moon – IBM has played a critical part. This is also a challenging time for our federal clients, and I strongly believe that IBM’s innovation and services solutions can play a key part in helping federal agencies smartly reduce costs while improving mission effectiveness.

I will oversee our federal service market development initiatives and personnel, and will focus on providing relevant and compelling solutions to federal mission areas. I work with a great IBM team, including Chuck Prow, Global Public Sector Managing Partner; Anne Altman, IBM General Manager of U.S. Federal; Randy Hendricks, Managing Partner, GBS Public Sector; Luanne Pavco, Managing Partner, Public Sector Services; Mark Gruzin, U.S. Federal Software Sales Leader; and Sandra Krawchuk; U.S. Federal System Sales Leader.

We are focused on giving our clients a great experience, which means the best people, the right innovation and solutions, and a brand that clients can depend on. IBM has the breadth and depth to provide a full range of services and solutions, and we work hard to ensure we have the agility and responsiveness to provide customers with the capabilities and client experience they need. IBM is about providing innovative, differentiated and proven capabilities which simply don’t exist elsewhere. This includes providing leading software, hardware, and consulting services, and having the depth and experience for integrating these multi-layered offerings into a complete and robust solution. IBM’s federal capabilities include data center consolidation, cloud computing, enterprise resource planning implementation, predictive analytics, enterprise content management, business process re-engineering, data warehousing, dynamic infrastructure development, and smarter planet technologies.

WashingtonExec: What was your biggest takeaway from the book, Governing to Win?

Andy Maner: There is a section of the book which discusses moving toward an ‘Enterprise USA’ approach in government. It discusses concepts such as the creation of value-oriented operating models within government operations, using technology to enhance government decision making, re-defining our government supply chain management, and using business analytics strategically.

This section provides to me the most powerful message in the book; we have to treat the U.S. government as a whole – just like we would treat our own companies and agencies, as a single enterprise as opposed to disparate pieces.
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“We’ve got to embrace that way of thinking, as a broad ‘Enterprise USA’ approach. As we continue to work through the new era of budget austerity, it is critical we all continue to adopt in this manner.”

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WashingtonExec:  You mentioned that you have been working in government basically half of your career.  Do you think we are about to see tough times ahead?

Andy Maner: Our market will always continue to evolve and move up and down. However, whether a government agency or federal contractor, we all need to focus on solutions and outcomes. With a smarter, faster government as a goal, we at IBM feel we have a compelling set of solutions, technical expertise, and a proven track record of delivery to assist our clients with achieving better outcomes.

We must provide mission oriented solutions which specifically address and solve the problem our customer is facing. This is what I believe and this is what our people strive for. Companies who stray from this tenet or companies who don’t evolve to meet the new realities in which they operate will struggle.

WashingtonExec:  Between big data, mobility and cloud, what technology do you think is going to make the largest impact in the federal IT space?

Andy Maner: Big data, mobility and cloud, are all related to the ability to manage, harness and utilize information to make better decisions, to improve operations, and to improve outcomes. Agencies will most certainly desire all these critical solutions that you mention and more importantly, they will want them integrated together.  In 2006, IBM started its next ’Grand Challenge’ to create a system that is designed to apply advanced data management and analytics to natural language to produce relevant information in fractions of a second. The result was IBM’s Watson, a revolutionary system which will help expand human knowledge through its ability to bridge information technology and human interactions in real time.

In 2011, IBM’s Watson was vetted against some of the all time leading Jeopardy players, with the result being a resounding success for Watson.  IBM developed Watson to ensure we all embrace the ‘art of the possible’ in data analytics and information. We continue to invest significantly in Research and Development in order to provide meaningful and immediately impactful solutions to our clients. IBM has worked hard to go beyond simply marketing to these challenges, we have created  meaningful solutions, acquiring and developing robust software and hardware, honing our past performance, and mostly importantly, developing  personnel and resources who have the technical expertise to deliver everything in an enterprise approach.
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“Big data, analytics, mobility and cloud computing, infrastructure integration–these are all important areas for our federal customers, and provide an exciting way to transform their environments. The ability to put these pieces together, execute and deliver in line with customer priorities and expectations is the exciting part for our practitioners.”

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WashingtonExec:  How has the government contracting community changed since you first entered the business?

Andy Maner: I think we are in the most profound shift in government contracting in recent history.  There is a new way of operating – rapid procurements, more efficient procurements, and increase in award protests. There has been much change, and yes there are new things companies are doing to retain their business. At the end of the day, however, it’s critical to provide mission oriented solutions that generate positive outcomes for our clients.  They can’t wait and neither can we.

 

 

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