As the calendar turns over from 2021 to 2022, one of the main priorities across state, local and federal government agencies will remain the same – digital transformation. At a time when agencies across all levels of government are being asked to do more with less, technology is providing a solution – making each government employee more efficient and effective, eliminating low-value and redundant tasks, and making it possible for employees to stay laser-focused on their mission and servicing constituents.
But it’s not just about helping the government employees. Digital transformation initiatives and new technologies are improving constituent services and making the constituent experience better for citizens, as well.
But how can resource-strapped agencies take this digital jump and do so in a way that best aligns with their mission and requirements?
Here to assist the government in their modernization efforts are consultants like Gunnison Consulting Group, which prides itself on “making the impossible possible” for its government partners.
To learn more about the current IT modernization needs and challenges federal agencies are facing, how Gunnison delivers the systems and solutions that remedy these challenges, and discuss lessons learned from the company’s recent acquisition of G2SF – which won them a Deal Team of the Year award at this year’s ACG Corporate Growth Awards – we sat down with Gunnison’s CEO, Gil Dussek.
Here is what he had to say:
Corporate Growth, Capital Style (CGCS): Can you tell our readers a bit about the Gunnison Consulting Group? What services and solutions does the company offer? What industries and markets does it serve?
Gil Dussek: For more than 26 years, Gunnison has partnered with our federal clients to successfully address some of the government’s most mission-critical challenges. We deliver cutting-edge data analytics, software development, IT service management (ITSM), and cybersecurity solutions.
We solve complex problems that help agencies reduce risk, facilitate transformation and modernization, and achieve mobile operations, delivering improved efficiency and effectiveness. Our clients achieve greater visibility to mission operations through the proactive monitoring, tracking, and reporting we provide, and we are a trusted partner in preventing unauthorized access to our customers’ digital infrastructures.
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?
Gil Dussek: We’ve often conveyed to our teams that through working shoulder-to-shoulder with our customers, we can shift the mindset from “doing more with less” to “doing more, without more and faster,” which compels us to find creative ways to drive value creation with a similar amount of funding and in quicker increments.
This isn’t solely focused on the desired approach to satisfy a requirement whether through a managed or shared service, but also pushing for more of a success-based buying behavior from our customers which appropriately shares the risk between the government and contractors while decreasing time to initial operating capability.
CGCS: Why are trusted private sector partners like Gunnison Consulting Group essential for government agencies looking to embrace new and innovative technologies? Why are their in-house capabilities, development teams, and IT departments incapable of executing and implementing these programs on their own?
Gil Dussek: We’ve always believed that the odds of success for private sector partners – like Gunnison – to deliver increasingly complex solutions working in a vacuum are slim to none, and the same is true for government agencies as well. No matter how well intentioned either party might be. There is a co-dependency that cannot be broken and only has been proven stronger in recent years.
From the industry perspective, we’ve been able to benefit from years of delivering solutions to longstanding government clients, applying lessons learned with each subsequent implementation.
Furthermore, through partnering with key public sector technology vendors, both industry and government have been the beneficiary of proven commercial solutions and approaches wherever they can be successfully applied in the government services arena.
CGCS: Gunnison Consulting Group was recently named a winner for the 2021 ACG National Capital Corporate Growth Awards for Deal Team of the Year (Private Company). In the past year, Gunnison has made some strategic deals, including the acquisition of G2SF. Why was this acquisition in strategy for the company? What did the addition of G2SF bring to the table?
Gil Dussek: G2SF was a distinguished enterprise solutions provider, combining subject matter expertise in ITSM, mobility, security, and engineering. They had a strong, full, and open backlog and robust pipeline with several key new business opportunities, longstanding relationships with original equipment manufacturers (OEM) and system integrators, profitable and cashflow positive, and debt free since inception.
By joining forces, their addition would expand and differentiate Gunnison’s core capabilities in engineering, cybersecurity and mobility computing services. They also strengthen Gunnison’s federal market position with the addition of new defense and civilian customers, such as the U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Transportation Command, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, U.S. House of Representatives, and National Science Foundation. The acquisition also enables greater economies of scale, bringing enhanced technology and added operational capabilities that will benefit the entire Gunnison portfolio.
CGCS: Were there any best practices or lessons learned identified during the integration of G2SF that you can share with our readers? Did any unique or interesting challenges – or previously unanticipated benefits – arise during the integration process?
Gil Dussek: With a mid-November close, we targeted completing 95 percent of the integration before the end of the year, leaving only about 45 days before the end of the calendar year. And that included the larger lifts of aligning the accounting for both organizations, and handling open enrollment for health benefits.
There was certainly a learning curve for both Gunnison and G2SF as the majority of both integration teams had not been through a prior integration effort, and certainly not over Zoom given we were still in the middle of the pandemic. Fortunately, the size of this tuck-in acquisition was favorable towards a fast integration, a shared desire by G2SF.
One of the major lessons learned included the fact that constant communication is paramount – not only between those involved in integration, but with all of Gunnison, both existing employees and the newly acquired entity. In doing so, we were able to counter uncertainty, anxiety, and the proverbial question from most employees, “What does this mean for me?”
We learned that it wasn’t sufficient to message once, but multiple times and through multiple channels, so we leveraged all hands meetings, division meetings, weekly integration newsletters, SharePoint FAQs, and everything else we had to our advantage.
For better or for worse, integration is the first opportunity that the acquired team has to observe how leadership operates, and a similar logic applies as to how you treat new employees during onboarding. First impressions matter!
And finally, “progress, not perfection” is a message that was constantly shared throughout the team. As much as you may try, there is no such thing as a flawless integration effort, however you will be judged to what extent issues are identified, owned up to, communicated, and quickly corrected.
Overall, feedback was net-positive from the G2SF team shared through a pulse survey during the integration process and we’re off to the races.
CGCS: What’s next for Gunnison Consulting Group? What opportunities is the company pursuing for 2022? What government trends or strategic deals will perpetuate the company’s continued growth in the coming years?
Gil Dussek: Gunnison will continue fine-tuning and delivering its differentiated offerings to additional federal agencies while securing positions on unrestricted, best-in-class contract vehicles to facilitate the transition to a thriving mid-market company, with a broader set of mission-enabling capabilities.
Further, as Gunnison looks to position itself as a technology differentiator and leader, investments, including acquisitions in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and cybersecurity, will become crucial to the company’s strategic evolution. In doing so, Gunnison will continue to lean forward and enable its customers and employees to achieve more than they thought they ever could.