AT&T fights downturn with investments

AT&T uses its investment strategy to fight off the downturn in government budgets, strengthening its networks and capturing contracts that helped it land the No. 17 spot on the 2013 Top 100.

Despite government cuts to contracting, AT&T is focused on investment, putting $19.7 billion into its networks in 2012 alone and $98 billion since 2008.

“When budgets are down, technology comes to be the media by which you can still deliver your mission,” said Kay Kapoor, president of AT&T Government Solutions. “If anything, we’re investing more in our technology now.”

The investment has paid off. The company won $1.6 billion in prime contracts in 2012 to land the No. 17 spot on this year’s Top 100.

Although Kapoor only joined AT&T in February, several contracts stand out for her from 2012. The first is the Trusted Handheld Platform contract, awarded in December by the Marine Corps. It asks AT&T to deliver 450 prototype smart phones that allow Marines to send and receive secure voice, video and data using Androids, a commercial technology.

“This is also the start of a larger trend in government utilizing commercial mobile technology to help agencies perform their missions securely,” she said.

In May 2012, AT&T was named a prime vendor on the Tactical Communications Equipment and Services (TacCom) contract. Administered by the Homeland Security Department, the multiple-award, indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract with an overall value of $3 billion lets DHS buy a variety of tactical communications products, infrastructure, and services to support public safety communications for first responders.

Two months earlier, AT&T Government Solutions won a spot on the Omnibus Network Enterprise contract, also a multiple-award, IDIQ deal with a potential value of $476 million.

Kapoor also said the division’s continued progress on the Managed Trusted Internet Protocol Service, AT&T’s cloud-based approach to cybersecurity used by 23 agencies. “This solution offers a security portal that sits between an agency’s public-facing website and the public Internet, continuously monitoring for suspicious or malicious activity,” she said.

Other areas of growth include cloud technology, network cybersecurity and secure mobility, in line with the growing dependence on mobile devices.

“We see the benefit of our mobile network across many areas, including traditional mobility transport, mobility applications and mobile device management. As the government goes more and more mobile, we see ourselves working with them to come up with creative solutions to transform government with digital government and digital citizen solutions.”

Kapoor’s optimism permeates even the challenges her division faces, with sequestration topping the list as the company experiences delays in decisions on its proposals.

“I don’t think we’ll escape some of the flow down in programmatic cuts,” she said. “But it was also something that was not unexpected; we prepared for that.”

Kapoor has no plans to scale back or lose personnel. In fact, the company is investing more, namely $80 million in three AT&T Foundry innovation centers. They’re designed to let AT&T and technology providers help customers quickly resolve mission challenges through technology.

“Sequestration or no sequestration, we still will deliver and have to deliver value solutions that are cost effective, that are innovative, that are next generation, that are solutions we would have never thought about six years ago,” Kapoor said. “Six years ago, nobody knew anything about an app and now everybody talks about apps, so what is it we are going to deliver six years later? We are gearing up for that today.”

Less than six months into the job, the former Lockheed Martin and Accenture executive said the coming year holds plenty of promise.

“I am bullish about the portfolio of offerings we bring, and I am also very proud to lead the 4,000 people that I lead at AT&T Federal who come to work every single day thinking about their customers’ problems and their customers’ mission,” Kapoor said.

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