Clay Goldwein, senior vice president and business unit leader for CGI Federal, recently spoke with ExecutiveBiz for his latest Executive Spotlight interview. During the discussion, Goldwein discussed CGI’s recent company reorganization, the recent acquisition of ARRAY and current growth strategies as well as the company’s digital transformation efforts and more.
“CGI has also done a lot of work in diversity, equity and inclusion, which has been a major point of emphasis for me over the past two years. We’re created a program to highlight the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion for our members and allies to recognize the ongoing challenges and create opportunities to have relevant discussions as we move forward.”
You can read the full Executive Spotlight with Clay Goldwein below:
ExecutiveBiz: Congrats on the new position within CGI and the company’s reorganization of its business practices. What can you tell us about your new role with the company and the work you’ll be doing to oversee your DHS and DOJ customers and support the agencies’ missions?
Clay Goldwein: “With this realignment of the company, CGI Federal has been reorganized into six business units, including our National Security and Justice BU, which I now lead. The new structure aligns our talent pool to our federal customers’ needs.
The National Security and Justice BU support customers such as the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Justice (DOJ), as well customers in the legislative and judicial branches.
Much of the work we do for our federal customers in those sectors include IT modernization projects like DevSecOps, cloud, developing a significant cybersecurity presence, financial asset management and acquisition management and a wide range of other initiatives. The needs of our federal customers vary from branch to branch, agency to agency, and Department to Department, each with their own set of unique challenges.
With the budget for this upcoming fiscal year still unresolved, many agencies are still working to identify exactly what they’ll be able to accomplish this year and what their core priorities need to be to complete their missions. That’s a good approach for us to ensure that we’re providing the proper support to help the government continue to drive our capabilities and help with their missions.”
ExecutiveBiz: In terms of CGI’s growth strategies and the recent acquisition of ARRAY, how will the recent acquisition and “Build and Buy” strategy help the company expand its services into the public sector market? What are your growth expectations for government business moving forward?
Clay Goldwein: “CGI is an acquisitive company. We’re always looking for new ways to help grow the business through organic means and through mergers and acquisitions. ARRAY is the latest CGI Federal merger, on top of the recent mergers with TeraThink in 2020 and Sunflower Systems in 2019.
ARRAY brings a strong presence in the Department of Defense, in particular, with the Air Force and U.S. Army. Both service branches have some very inspiring capabilities in cybersecurity and DevSecOps. I really see the merger helping bring additional capabilities to our customers that we have in and outside the federal market. The merger also provides CGI the opportunity to work with those customers through our new colleagues and will enable us to provide the customers some of the capabilities native to the legacy CGI portion of the organization.
The merger also provides an opportunity for ARRAY talent to move between the different sectors of our organization to find the right opportunities to expand and grow their careers, and vice versa. Through the merger, there are more opportunities for CGI employees to work in new sector areas, and offers an even longer list of opportunities for professionals from ARRAY. This talent flow allows for employees to explore and build their careers in the right direction.”
ExecutiveBiz: In your opinion, what are the most significant challenges facing leaders in the federal sector? How is CGI focusing its efforts to ensure that federal agencies and others are staying ahead of the curve in such a hyper-competitive landscape?
Clay Goldwein: “It’s been a challenging few years, as we go back to March 2020 when the pandemic became a significant factor. There have been a number of elements impacting people in various ways since then, including physical and mental health along with other challenges. CGI has been very responsive to those challenges and has evolved in its support along with the changes taking place in the current climate.
CGI has also done a lot of work in diversity, equity and inclusion, which has been a major point of emphasis for me over the past two years. We’ve created a program to highlight the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion for our members and allies to recognize the ongoing challenges and create opportunities to have relevant discussions as we move forward.
Another significant area of importance is mentoring. We have a number of mentoring and career advocate programs in place within CGI. I feel strongly about internal mentoring and not just in a way to teach the next generation of our workforce.
We’re also embarking on a reverse mentoring program where experienced professionals like myself can gain guidance and perspective from the workers who are much earlier in their career. This program encourages experienced professionals to understand and see things in a different way that might not be apparent to someone who grew up in a different era.
There’s a lot to learn from our younger professionals so we’re focused on creating a dialogue across the entire organization so everyone has the opportunity to benefit.”
ExecutiveBiz: As a leader in the IT modernization and digital transformation efforts across the federal government, what are the most significant changes and improvements that we need to make immediately in terms of cybersecurity, cloud capabilities and other areas such as data?
Clay Goldwein: “I think there are some overlaps. The oldest systems need transformation to leverage new capabilities such as cloud computing. Those older systems also have cybersecurity vulnerabilities that make them more susceptible and are challenging to maintain in their current state. They’re also limited in their data sharing capabilities, limiting what system users can and can’t do in some ways.
Digital transformation is something that every agency and service branch is working on. The key is really to focus on the areas of development that can give you the best ROI.
The good news is that agile technologies and DevSecOps offer agencies flexibility where they don’t have to wait until the end of the project to see the final results. Digital transformation can be done in pieces and one has the option to build a foundation first. After that, they can amend or transform over time and retire some pieces of the old system as you go. This mitigates risk over time, and it’s not being done all at once.
Technology evolves at a faster and faster rate so it’s difficult for any organization to keep up, especially at such a large and vast organization like the federal government, which requires extra rules in terms of the acquisition process and other regulatory provisions. These extra steps can slow the process down.
One of the most pressing changes that are needed is a more flexible and agile acquisition process to allow the government to have access to a changing set of technological options. Over the life of a contract, even three years in, the original objectives or expectations for the work may have drastically changed to such a degree that those goals are no longer in the best interest of the federal government.
While the government is trying to get there and be more flexible, it has become a point of emphasis for them and we support them in their mission. It will put all of us, as citizens, in the best position to move forward and provide meaningful value.”