Rick Herrmann, director of Intel’s U.S. Public Sector region, recently spoke with ExecutiveBiz regarding the top priorities for data security in the federal sector as well as the semiconductor industry’s impact on our national security and supply chains, the benefits of Intel’s key partnerships and the crucial areas of tech development such as AI/ML, 5G and others during the publication’s latest Executive Spotlight interview.
“At the end of the day, human intellect is what actually makes the difference. All the technology available is great, but it will still take a human intellect to leverage the capabilities and utilize the technology to apply it to your mission and what you’re working to achieve.”
You can read the full Executive Spotlight with Rick Herrmann below:
ExecutiveBiz: We previously discussed competitive intelligence practices and challenges last year. Following the tech shift that we’ve undergone with our digital transformation efforts, how do feel about the changes to our top priorities of how we look at data security and data governance to adapt to our telework capabilities as well as our national security challenges?
“First and foremost, we all have to applaud the efforts of the entire federal IT community. The CIOs and their staff have shown incredible resiliency, fortitude, and innovation against significant challenges.
The pandemic was a watershed moment in terms of policies that have been constraining our sector’s CIOs for quite some time. For instance, the new ways that we can work with the best talent regardless of location is a game-changer for this community.
Even two years ago, location and proximity may have been a deal-breaker in terms of recruiting new talent – that’s just no longer the case. We’ve learned how to work, trust in a variety of new and exciting ways and I think we have all learned greater empathy and deepened personal relationships with our employees and stakeholders.
We’re also seeing a lot of policy changes such as the Secure Technology Act or CHIPS and other major initiatives that will ultimately benefit us all and shape the future direction of our community.
While policy is one factor at this moment, the current pace of innovation we find ourselves in today is unlike anything most of us have experienced in our careers and the protection of our data and information ecosystem has to be front and center.
Whether it’s cloud, artificial intelligence and machine learning or cybersecurity – the landscape is changing quickly and evolving from protecting the edge and infrastructure to protecting the data and zero trust.
From Intel’s perspective, we will continue to evolve in terms of our own capabilities to mix and match unique IP and core technologies and then partner across our ecosystem to drive innovation and enable our customers to meet their mission.
As a technologist and innovator, one good trend is the constant evolution from a least price technically acceptable solution mindset – to the best value that enhances mission results and outcomes.
US competitors are acquiring and deploying the best technologies. So, we need to be constantly thinking about our policies, the rate of technological and social change, how we do procurement, applying high standards and best practices, and ensuring we have the best human capital.
A big part of human capital is rooted in our educational system and how we prepare the next generation for these challenges and ensuring that we create an environment within the public sector that people want to come into the federal sector to address these major challenges.”
Supply Chain Management
ExecutiveBiz: With your heavy experience in the public sector, healthcare, high-performance computing, public safety and other areas, what can you tell us about the influence and impact of the semiconductor industry as a part of the development of our national security, supply chain management and greater innovation strategies?
“The share of U.S.-manufactured silicon has fallen from 37 percent to 12 percent since 1990. While we remain an innovative powerhouse as a nation, the importance of having a more resilient supply chain as we move forward is critical.
Intel, in particular, is making significant investments in this area. Last week, our CEO announced our more than $20 billion investment in Arizona. We are going to continue to invest significantly in domestic manufacturing.
Our federal government has always acted as a catalyst for new technologies and addressing new horizons and national challenges that emerge. The semiconductor industry is absolutely one of the most critical industries in the United States in terms of our competitiveness and for the US innovation ecosystem.
It’s so important for the U.S. to continue to be a leader not only in design but also in maintaining our manufacturing in the semiconductor industry. If you look at some of the data available, every dollar we spend in highly advanced manufacturing returns three dollars back into our economy and produces five jobs downstream. So, these are smart investments for the Country and policies being considered like the CHIPS Act are critical to national competitiveness.
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ExecutiveBiz: What can you tell us about some of the recent partnerships that Intel Federal has announced, including Deloitte, Centene Corporation and others to drive innovation?
“For Intel, getting to a great customer solution involves engaging deeply with our partner ecosystem – the Federal system integrators, defense contractors, cloud service provider, OEMs, or software partner. When we think about partnerships in this sector, Intel’s value is to bring leading-edge technology, innovative programs, and deep subject experts – we want to connect our partner’s capabilities and our technologies – and ultimately solve a particular problem to drive a mission or outcome for a customer.
We were thrilled to be named the Innovation Partner of the Year by Leidos. We announced a deep Deloitte partnership in the past few weeks which was initiated through our work on major Federal programs. We’re very proud of our partnerships across our ecosystem, its fundamental to how we go to market and serve the Federal community.
No silicon vendor can just show up and deliver a piece of silicon and solve a problem. We need to do that in deep partnership with partners in our ecosystem. To provide value in an area like electronic health records or machine learning and emerging AI use cases – we engage deeply to optimize a solution for our silicon and work ultimately with those that deploy that solution.
As an example: it would be extremely difficult to address a cybersecurity issue or AI use case without the deep relationships we have at the software level to differentiate a solution and meet the customer’s mission.
All of our partnerships are rooted in deep engineering work and built for driving innovation to solve the missions of our customers. If we can align the technology available with our partners to deliver value to our customers, that’s what we get up in the morning to think about over breakfast.
Federal Workforce Readiness
ExecutiveBiz: With the hype around AI/ML, 5G, cybersecurity, and a few other areas of emerging technology taking up most of the headlines, what do you believe is a crucial area of innovation and tech development that deserves a lot more attention in the federal sector today?
“There are a lot of exciting things over the horizon. Quantum computing and advanced networks as well as 5G capabilities are all big areas of expansion. I think we’re all quite focused on the new innovative technologies and what’s possible, but we also need to prepare our workforce.
You can deploy the best technology available, but if you haven’t spent the time to properly build your capacity and the skill set of your workforce, then you ultimately are going to be behind the curve. We all need to be capable of learning more quickly and adapting at much greater levels of resilience, which is a skill that we’re all going to be working on over the next decade or more.
For preparing the next generation in the classroom or through hybrid technology, we’re entering into a world where you can access the best curriculum or talk to the best experts anywhere. As a result, we could be moving to a place where specific certifications and badges are even more critical than a four-year or a master’s level degree.
At the end of the day, human intellect is what actually makes the difference. All the technology available is great, but it will still take a human intellect to leverage the capabilities and utilize the technology to apply it to your mission and what you’re working to achieve.”