CeCe DeCamp, senior partner and client group leader for Homeland Security, Justice, Foreign Affairs, and Intelligence Agencies with IBM Consulting, recently took part in the latest Executive Spotlight interview with ExecutiveBiz to discuss the key factors that have contributed to IBM’s winning culture and the challenges involved with growing the company during the pandemic.
In addition, DeCamp also discussed the expansion of its multi cloud platform technology and the value it brings to IBM’s customers as well as the necessary steps to bring federal legacy system capabilities to the cloud, cybersecurity implementation in supply chain management and more.
“Today federal agencies need the ability to understand and choose the best solution in support of their mission and have the flexibility to straddle on premises and off premises, private and public clouds, or edge environments. That flexibility allows IT modernization decisions to be made over time while helping optimize the limited budgets year over year.”
You can read the full Executive Spotlight interview with CeCe DeCamp below:
ExecutiveBiz: What are the key factors that have contributed to IBM’s winning culture and how would you describe your approach to the challenges of maintaining and growing your company culture during the pandemic and telework shift in the federal sector?
CeCe DeCamp: “IBM’s mission begins and ends with our clients. Our historical focus on the client reflects something more aspirational, it intersects with our business interests, guides our decisions, and motivates us to make a difference. This focus is at the heart of what drives our team every day and represents what it means to work with government clients and the public sector.
The pandemic caused us to open our minds around motivation and performance while experimenting with new approaches as we worked to create a hybrid work environment built on flexibility and enabled by technology.
It’s clear that the most enduring workplaces coming out of the pandemic are centering on flexibility, automation and technology transformation. Bottom line – working from home doesn’t have to dilute an organization’s culture.”
ExecutiveBiz: When it comes to IBM’s hybrid / multi cloud platform technology and approach, why does it offer as much as twice the value to your customers than a single platform, single cloud vendor approach?
CeCe DeCamp: “IBM was one of the first technology companies to identify the need for a hybrid/multi-cloud approach to IT modernization – and our approach begins and ends with the client. Each federal agency is built for a specific mission and purpose, and our approach aligns with each. The trick then is to think about how an application or software solution serves the mission.
You have to start here because the needs of each agency are going to be different depending on the type of data that you’re working with and the solution you’re trying to find. We’ve always seen IT modernization and technology transformation through this lens.
Government agencies have also shifted their belief from establishing one cloud platform as the answer, i.e., its Cloud First initiative in 2011, to the more recent Cloud Smart initiative. This is a demonstration of the government’s evolution from a rip and replace to a more hybrid/multi-cloud mentality as the answer to their IT modernization needs.
Today federal agencies need the ability to understand and choose the best solution in support of their mission and have the flexibility to straddle on premises and off premises, private and public clouds, or edge environments. That flexibility allows IT modernization decisions to be made over time while helping optimize the limited budgets year over year.
The Technology Modernization Fund has been a fantastic infusion for the government, but the fact is we’re still dealing with very limited resources to get these initiatives moving. It’s important to have the right hybrid/multi-cloud approach to ensure agencies are getting the performance they need, executed seamlessly across multiple clouds (and on premises if appropriate), to keep mission critical operations functioning.
A 2019 statistic from the IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV) states that though 90 percent of companies globally were “on the cloud” by 2019, only about 20 percent of their workloads have moved to a cloud environment. I think this speaks to the fact that whether industry or government, there’s so much more work to be done. This is why our hybrid/multi-cloud approach matters – it has optimization as its centerpiece.”
ExecutiveBiz: With cyber threats influencing how the federal government thinks about IT systems modernization, data and application migration, what are some of the necessary steps to ensure a successful and secure process from legacy systems to the cloud?
CeCe DeCamp: “First, it’s important that cybersecurity isn’t left until the end of an agency’s IT modernization journey. Waiting until the end can add time and make the transition a lot more complex. It is far more effective and efficient to prioritize cybersecurity at the beginning of an IT modernization process.
Second, it’s important to approach security (and IT modernization for that matter) holistically by having visibility across the entire enterprise to understand the data, classification, and flow, as opposed to only focusing on a system or group of systems.
Understanding where the data resides and is flowing today, and where it should reside and flow in the modernized and migrated environment, while also utilizing ongoing security checkpoints throughout that journey, also prioritizes flexibility – which enables agencies to adjust their approach as needed based on the dynamic nature of threats and vulnerabilities.
ExecutiveBiz: And speaking of cybersecurity, is IBM working with its federal government customers to incorporate cybersecurity into their supply chain risk management strategies? What does this look like?
CeCe DeCamp: “We work with our federal customers in a number of areas to increase the security of the supply chain. We have programs ranging from semiconductor manufacturing and logistics to global health commodities delivery. Everything associated with those types of supply chains are critical.
We’ve also had to prioritize supply chain risk management at IBM and have had many of the same challenges that other folks have had during the pandemic. Thankfully we’ve been very successful at keeping things moving as well as keeping our supply chain secure. We are bringing this type of understanding and experience to our government clients.”
ExecutiveBiz: What can you tell us about the future for IBM as you and your team continue to work with federal government agencies to address the issues we’ve discussed moving into 2022 and beyond? What do you foresee as the most significant challenges that you’d like to tackle in the next year?
CeCe DeCamp: “Today’s federal IT landscape is more dynamic than ever. The challenge of optimizing the limited amount of funds that are available to government agencies as they work to modernize and secure their IT systems is not going away. In this context, the future is now.
Federal government agencies will continue to need a flexible path for cloud and data migration that securely integrates legacy systems and data.
As an organization that serves its clients and focuses on their needs first, we’re also working to remain flexible and adaptable as a workforce and partner with the government.
We’re seeing a lot of changes in how we do business and improve our effectiveness together and have the right formula and focus for success now and into the future.”