July 1

Executive Spotlight: Portia Crowe, Chief Data Strategist for Defense and Applied Intelligence at Accenture Federal Services


Portia Crowe, chief data strategist for Defense and Applied Intelligence at Accenture Federal Services (AFS), recently spoke with ExecutiveBiz regarding the most critical capabilities that are being developed to ensure U.S. warfighters receive the proper training in the latest technology.

In addition, Portia Crowe also discussed the influence that emerging technologies are having on staying ahead of the curve of innovation for Accenture Federal Services as well as how the company is addressing the uphill challenge to recruit and retain the best talent in the federal market during the latest Executive Spotlight interview.

“It’s an exciting time because we have the ability and talent to be on the cutting edge of innovation and technology with a focus on data to create value and opportunities. We’re able to look across our diverse commercial and federal client portfolio and share lessons learned on designs and implementation of new capabilities for Accenture Federal Services and our clients.”

You can read the full interview with Portia Crowe below:

ExecutiveBiz: What do you believe are the most significant capabilities that are being developed for the Army, Navy, and other branches of the military to ensure our warfighters have received proper training with the latest emerging technologies and have the tools they need to protect themselves and our nation’s interests?

Portia Crowe: “No Service fights alone. So, as we look across the Department of Defense and support of Joint Warfighting Concepts, we adhere to the key principles of optimal data sharing, interoperability, and cybersecurity in everything we do, as well as what can be reused across Services.

Significant capabilities include edge processing, resilient communications, software-defined everything, serverless architectures, and AI/ML optimized algorithms. We can achieve information advantage at the speed of relevance by being good stewards, even better partners, and always bringing our A-game to our clients.

Accenture Federal Services is on the cutting edge with all the latest trends and early adoption opportunities. We are on the cutting edge with using the metaverse to reimagine the way we learn, train, and work.

I think the collaboration in the virtual reality space has been essential because we’re getting into an interactive space and learning about human intelligence in a different way than ever before. Our Soldiers can benefit by using these types of technologies because it is what they know, including gaming, use of social media, and no/low training applications.

Obviously, training for all of this is critical as we move forward. For a number of years, we’ve been in an environment where we’re surrounded by constant distractions. But when you’re in the interactive space, you’re actually in the moment and paying attention. It’s a different way to be immersed into a learning environment and tap into our human intelligence.

In the coming years, we will see an even greater explosion of ideas and new technologies to influence our workforce at Accenture Federal Services and serve DoD missions.”

ExecutiveBiz: With the influence of emerging technologies impacting every aspect of business, how has Accenture Federal Services been able to drive digital transformation efforts to stay ahead of innovation in the federal landscape for yourself and your customers?

Portia Crowe: “To truly be successful, we engage with our clients on a deep level so that we can understand their problems and envisioned end-states. We can then define and develop innovative ways to reach mission goals with metrics that matter.

That gives us a different perspective because we aren’t leading with solutions or technology first. We’re leading with a human-centered design approach so that we can deliver the best advanced technologies and applications to our clients.

At Accenture Federal Services, we have a laser focus on data-led transformation that includes data strategy, management, governance, architecture, and the best ways to gain rich insights about organizational data.

By applying good data engineering with technologies that enable cloud, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, and machine learning, you can achieve an integrated approach that will change the way organizations operate.

Part of this is having the culture, talent and mindset to transform normal to get to phenomenal. Given my experience as a chief data officer in the federal government, I believe it is a data movement that is achievable given our client journeys, lessons learned, and successes in digital transformation.

Using artificial intelligence, natural language processing, machine learning, and in some cases effective automation, you gain insights that would be impossible for humans to catch, detect, see, and make sense of, all of which impact the DoD’s mission goals.

It’s human nature to overcompensate and think we have all the data we need to gain decision-driven insights. It’s also possible that we don’t have the data we need at the right place or the right time.”

ExecutiveBiz: How does Accenture Federal Services ensure long term success for your workforce to drive value for your employees as you continue to face the uphill challenge to recruit and retain the best talent in the federal marketplace?

Portia Crowe: “We can’t be successful without talented people to drive digital transformation. Accenture Federal Services always has a sharp focus on the next generation as well as helping the current talent.

Our internal and external training programs help us keep up with quickly changing technologies and new methodologies on how to apply them. We have great metrics that keep us informed for upward progress.

I love that we use innovative methodologies and technologies to attract talent, especially the younger generations coming out of colleges and universities, who are used to digital technologies.

For example, we’ve gone from classroom training to metaverse training that is revolutionizing the way we interact and learn. We deliver for people what we deliver for our clients–innovation and digital transformation– not only for our new joiners but for our clients too.

To think and execute cutting edge transformation, we need people with the right skills. I believe combining fields of study such as data, social, and data science, and also providing opportunities to use these skills on the job, will grow our talent base across all communities.”



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