FedHealthIT President Susan Sharer sat down with Kamal Narang, Vice President and General Manager for GDIT’s Federal Health Sector, to discuss aligning with the customer mission, the importance of innovation within Federal contracts and a different perspective on small and large business collaboration.

Aligning with the Mission

Accurately discerning the customer mission is critical in being a true partner and providing the right kind of support in the right way and at the right time. Not only does it ensure more meaning and satisfaction among those on the team directly driving the work, but it ensures that you are driving in the right direction and creating value everyday.

When Kamal came to the United States from India in 1996, he worked as a systems analyst at NIH, and he has maintained a strong connection to NIH ever since. As a member of the board of The Children’s Inn at NIH, Kamal actively participates in monthly dinners and activities that support families staying at the Inn. GDIT has supported the innovative research being done at NIH for more than 20 years.

Aligning with the specific mission helps deliver effective and appropriate results and creates trust with customers. Across Federal health, it is key to align the mission to all of our work, including supporting critical infrastructure for bioinformatics research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and public health initiatives at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); driving cloud infrastructure; and initiatives to prevent fraud, waste and abuse at The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Systems (CMS); and providing critical support for Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Centers across the country.

Our technical teams, medical practitioners, researchers and analysts share an enthusiasm for the mission matched only by the Federal employees that set the tone for everything we do.

Innovation in Federal Contracts

Innovation should be evolutionary, not revolutionary. I like the idea of creating time and space for innovation within Federal contracts and allocating real dollars towards that effort. With shrinking budgets, higher regulations and the demand to do more, that must be a core part of the equation. If there was a way to embed innovation into specific task areas to force innovation as part of a deliverable, Government would be able to request the function of innovation until the culture of innovation is the norm.

At GDIT, we believe innovation is part of our DNA and one of our core attributes of flawless delivery. For example, on our cloud contract at CMS, we run an innovation challenge every year that drives not just proof of concept ideas but delivers tangible results with proven scalability potential. These go a long way with customers in changing the dialogue and bringing vision to life, while constantly innovating.

CMS and Cloud

GDIT has been working with CMS on cloud adoption for the past five years and has migrated over 80 applications to the cloud, many in collaboration with our strategic partners. CMS currently is one of the largest cloud users in the Federal space. Last year, we moved healthcare.gov to the cloud, and it created over $100 million in annual savings and increased reliability, performance and provided automatic scalability. We’re also building cloud infrastructure for the Agency to allow for more effective disaster recovery. This is just one of many key components that you don’t always need at enterprise scale, but when you do need it, you need it to work.

CMS has evolved into one of the most innovative, forward leaning agencies using the cloud, and we have been privileged to work with them on this effort. We’ve worked with CMS on many of these technologies through proof of concepts, pilots and production implementations.

Redefining Small and Large Business Collaboration

GDIT is a big proponent of small business. Whether it is mentorship or teaming, we know there are things large business cannot do on its own and things small business can gain from large. The challenge comes in the way contracts are structured where the need for a small or large partnership should be driven by value or the mission but instead is driven by type of business and as a result the mission gets lost in the process.

For instance, there may be a great incubator tech company that has exactly what we need to move a project forward, but if it doesn’t meet the contractually specified type of business, we may need to look elsewhere. Government needs to find a way and be willing to disrupt that to allow companies to look to alliances that are focused on value and the mission and driving innovation, rather than on pre-set constructs.

About Kamal Narang

Kamal Narang serves as Vice President and General Manager of the Federal Health Sector at General Dynamics Information Technology, managing a P&L and a staff of over 3,000 professionals. In this role, he oversees the strategic direction, growth, planning, and performance of teams responsible for delivering mission-critical IT services and solutions to the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration, the Defense Health Agency, the Social Security Administration and other agencies within the Department of Health and Human Services. Kamal brings more than 20 years of experience in the Federal Health IT Industry, holding various senior leadership roles within GDIT.

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