ACG National Capital recently presented Corporate Growth Awards to the region’s most transformational deals, top executives, and fastest-growing companies. These award winners exemplify why the National Capital Region remains one of the fastest growing in the country, and one of the best places to do business.
Three of the Corporate Growth Awards each year are presented to transformational or otherwise impactful deals. These “Deal of the Year” awards recognize transactions that catapult a company to new heights, introduce exciting new capabilities to their portfolio, or prepare them to compete and win business in the future based on trends that they’ve predicted or anticipated in their marketplace.
ICF, the winner of the Corporate Growth Award for Deal of the Year (Over $250M), was recognized for its acquisition of the Incentive Technology Group (ITG), a consulting and technology services company that provides strategic planning, management, marketing, and analytics services to the federal government and businesses worldwide.
This impactful acquisition gave ICF new capabilities and access in which to sell next-generation technologies to government agencies at a time when digital transformation is a top priority across state, local, and federal governments. Today’s government agencies and private enterprises are investing heavily in modernizing their IT infrastructures and embracing advanced technologies that can make them more effective and efficient. And ICF’s acquisition of ITG solidifies them as one of the leading industry partners to help them make transition from legacy IT to today’s advanced technologies.
To learn more about ICF, the new capabilities and solutions gained through the acquisition of ITG, and what’s next for the company in 2022, we sat down with Amira Hossain, the company’s Senior Vice President of Corporate Development. Here is what she had to say:
Corporate Growth, Capital Style (CGCS): Can you tell our readers a bit about ICF? What services and solutions does the company offer? What industries and markets does it serve?
Amira Hossain: ICF is a global consulting services company with approximately 7,500 full- and part-time employees, but we are not your typical consultants. At ICF, business analysts and policy specialists work together with digital strategists, data scientists, and creatives. We combine unmatched industry expertise with cutting-edge engagement capabilities to help organizations solve their most complex challenges.
We provide professional services and technology-based solutions to government and commercial clients, including management, marketing, technology, and policy consulting and implementation services. ICF works across core service areas including climate, energy efficiency, disaster management, public health, and critical social issues. And we offer our services to clients that operate primarily in four key markets: energy, environment, and infrastructure; health, education, and social programs; safety and security; and consumer and financial.
CGCS: Digital transformation has been a hot topic across the government. What are some of the trends and challenges driving today’s government agencies to embrace digital transformation initiatives? Have recent events expedited or accelerated the government’s modernization initiatives?
Amira Hossain: With nearly $100B spent annually on technology and a presidential federal IT modernization vision laid out, agencies are facing intense pressure to rethink their technology approach. Today’s CIOs need to deliver technologies that help meet broader missions. Meeting user expectations, keeping sensitive data and systems secure, and ensuring responsive, multi-channel access to services are their new mandates. And while we are certainly seeing agencies fully embrace this new direction, many still struggle with how to make it a reality.
“The need to keep our foot on the gas of federal digital transformation has been seen very vividly during the COVID-19 pandemic.” – Amira Hossain
To achieve the necessary kind of transformation – at scale – agencies are moving off outdated legacy platforms and into agile environments, with cloud computing and hyper-automation at the core. These platforms can get agencies further faster and give them the flexibility they need to experiment, pilot, and adjust with less risk. And at less cost.
The need to keep our foot on the gas of federal digital transformation has been seen very vividly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, our public health infrastructure has been neglected for quite a while and we are really seeing the consequences now. We can’t share important information quickly or securely enough between agencies or with citizens. And agencies are having a hard time making decisions without immediate access to the most up-to-date information. IT modernization and stronger public health surveillance systems continues to be a big part of addressing these gaps.
CGCS: ICF recently won an ACG Corporate Growth Award for its acquisition of ITG. Can you tell us a bit about ITG? Why was the company a good fit for ICF? Why was it in strategy to bring ITG into the fold?
Amira Hossain: ITG was one of the leading and fastest growing providers of cloud-based platform services to the U.S. federal government. They had incredible success driving transformational solutions through the adoption of next generation technologies for federal government agencies, many of which are long-standing clients of ICF, including HHS, DHS, DOS, GSA, and others.
The firm was named ServiceNow’s 2019 U.S. Federal Partner of the Year, the second largest ServiceNow partner in the public sector, and has the largest Appian federal practice in North America. With a 100% client retention rate, ITG represented the best-of-the-best in digital transformation and federal IT modernization.
“…we’re now recognized as a leader in federal health IT, recognized for our deep domain expertise in public health and expanded IT modernization capabilities.” – Amira Hossain
Our acquisition of ITG in early 2020 significantly expanded our IT modernization services. We combined ICF’s domain expertise, robust business development platform, and contract vehicles with ITG’s best-in-class qualifications, performance track record, deep technology partnerships and leading platform expertise.
Together, we bring highly complementary capabilities and are uniquely positioned to architect and implement technology platforms that drive the strategic transformation agencies need to meet new mandates. For example, we’re now recognized as a leader in federal health IT, recognized for our deep domain expertise in public health and expanded IT modernization capabilities.
ITG was also an excellent cultural fit, which was a key determinant in their decision to join ICF.
CGCS: Were there any best practices or lessons learned identified during the integration of ITG that you can share with our readers? Did any unique or interesting challenges – or previously unanticipated benefits – arise during the integration process?
Amira Hossain: The ITG integration was uniquely different from other acquisitions and integrations for ICF due to a deeply developed and tightly executed new M&A Integration framework and governance. The integration team and leadership followed a new enterprise process that also involved actively working with the ITG’s leadership team to appropriately integrate and realize synergy goals.
The ITG transaction closed at the end of January 2020. The integration work was quickly forced to transition to a virtual environment due to the global pandemic. The vast majority of the integration lift occurred during this period of uncertainty. The team went above and beyond to ensure the execution of the newly established integration process, while developing new relationships and continuing client engagements.
“ICF combines deep domain expertise with technology and engagement capabilities that are in high demand in the public sector.” – Amira Hossain
The integration teams conducted several surveys of ITG employees through the transition period which indicated that 85 percent felt positive about the acquisition and 80 percent felt empowered to develop their career ambitions at ICF. With cultural fit serving as the guiding principle for the integration, all key talent was retained through the transition.
Going forward, ITG will continue to be a core component of ICF’s strategy for providing digital transformation excellence to federal agencies – serving as a springboard for continued investments in capabilities and growth in the drive towards federal digitization.
CGCS: Aside from growth via acquisitions, it would appear that ICF is experiencing tremendous organic growth. It seems like a new government contract is being announced every week. To what do you attribute this recent influx of contract awards? Why are government organizations like the State of California, SSA, and National Cancer Institute turning to ICF?
Amira Hossain: ICF combines deep domain expertise with technology and engagement capabilities that are in high demand in the public sector. We have extensive experience and strong capabilities in many of the administration’s key priority areas, such as: IT modernization, public health, disaster management, climate, energy, environment, and infrastructure.
ICF also has successful, longstanding relationships with a number of federal, state, local, and territorial government clients in need of our services in these areas: HHS, HUD, DOS, GSA, DOE, NASA, and many more.
“We will continue to adapt, evolve, and look for opportunities to bring in new capabilities and solutions…” – Amira Hossain
At ICF, we work on many of the most important issues facing today’s society, from decarbonization and managing coastal flooding, to disease prevention and early childhood education, to helping hard-hit industries like retailing, hospitality and aviation reengage with their customers. We are seeing growth and momentum right now partly because of the tremendous health, social, and environmental challenges that have changed everyone. These are all areas where we have extensive experience and expertise.
CGCS: What’s next for ICF? What opportunities is the company pursuing for 2021/22? What government trends or strategic deals will perpetuate the company’s continued growth in the coming years?
In the first half of 2021, 60 percent of ICF’s service revenue represented work in our key growth areas—IT modernization, public health, disaster management, energy efficiency and utility consulting, environment and infrastructure consulting, and climate and resiliency—areas where we expect continued growth over the next several years.
We will continue to adapt, evolve, and look for opportunities to bring in new capabilities and solutions and expand into new regions so we can help our clients adapt to shifting conditions, think differently, make informed decisions, and have more meaningful impact.