Inside Amentum's approach to technology

The headquarters campus of Amentum in Germantown, Maryland.

The headquarters campus of Amentum in Germantown, Maryland. Courtesy of Amentum.

Technology is always front-of-mind for the global government services company, which carries out that piece of its strategy in part through collaborations with other companies and continuous internal dialogue.

Every business is involved in technology one way or another, whether they are the ones creating the end products or using the tools as part of a larger bundled solution.

In the government market, that generally means one camp of companies is contractually responsible for providing core technology and IT assets to their agency customers. The second group performs all sorts of services work that can (and should) be made easier and more efficient through those technology tools.

One big question for Amentum that shapes the current iteration of its strategy goes like this: how can the company help funnel technology into a government program in a way that improves quality and safety?

Much of the work to answer that question and its many follow-up questions starts within a technology council that includes both senior company leadership and technologists, CEO John Heller said in an interview.

Jill Bruning chairs that council as part of her role as president of Amentum's engineering, science and technology group.

Determining what technologies Amentum should focus its attention on and from whom in the industry to source those tools are among the council's big-picture mandates of their admittedly "very animated" meetings, Heller told me.

"The focus of this council is to look at our technology partnerships and organize it around our solution areas, so we are proactively organizing and understanding what are the external technology capabilities in each of these solution areas," Heller said.

Council members then debate and make determinations on which technology area to put more effort toward, whether the current partnerships Amentum has are working out well, or sometimes whether the company should look elsewhere.

Heller said the council acts as a way of "bringing our technologists together and letting them know across the business of the partnerships we have, so they're aware and can reach across the organization more efficiently."

In essence, Amentum's approach is to look at technology as underlying the larger solution offering. One example that Heller cited is in a contract to perform tele-maintenance services in Eastern Europe in support of Ukraine's defense against Russia.

The Ukrainian military is using large numbers of U.S. military equipment, which requires a regular cycle of up-keep and refreshments so those systems can go back into the field. Amentum's goal is to enable remote support in an effective way, which requires work to architect and engineer those capabilities and solutions.

Heller said that means infusing technology that allows for the sharing of system specifications and other key indicators in real time with mechanics on the ground, plus visualize that information so everyone involved can follow what other team members are doing.

But for how Amentum views itself, none of what the company can do with technology happens unless without having some focus across its business areas. Those are engineering and modernization work regarding platforms; infrastructure modernization; environment and energy; and data, intelligence and analytics.

"The marketplace is too broad that in the technology availability across so many different areas, if you try to do everything, you will be an expert at nothing," Heller said.

(A future episode of WT 360 will have my full conversation with Heller who shares more on the technology leg of Amentum's strategy, the rollout of that strategy over the past 12 months, and his perspective on the elevation of energy and environmental priorities across the U.S. government)