Marqus Hutchinson, chief technology officer at Intelligent Waves, recently spoke with ExecutiveBiz about the impact of emerging technologies on the company’s growth as well as how recent partnerships are helping its expansion in the federal market and ensuring the long-term success of the workforce in light of the talent recruitment challenges of today during the latest Executive Spotlight interview.
“At Intelligent Waves, veterans make up more than half of our workforce. We put a lot of effort into interacting with and integrating our veteran personnel. We can personally relate to people who have served in the military, from their wants and needs to their desire to successfully transition to the private sector.
It’s because IW’s cultural DNA was founded by and is still led by veterans who’ve witnessed first-hand how tough it could be. That’s why seeing a tremendous number of outstanding leaders enter our sector from the service branches is so rewarding.”
You can read the full interview with Marqus Hutchinson below.
ExecutiveBiz: With the influence of emerging technologies impacting every aspect of business, how has Intelligent Waves been able to drive digital transformation efforts to stay ahead of innovation in the federal landscape for itself and your customers?
Marqus Hutchinson: “At Intelligent Waves, we’ve had the benefit of developing our Phantom and GRAYPATH Solutions as well as forming a strong Next-Generation OEM partner ecosystem to bring life to the federal market,” says Marqus Hutchinson. The ability to focus strategically has been a key component of our efforts to drive digital transformation.
We started scaling and growing as a company to set our mark on what we wanted our company to be. We developed the five technical pillars on which we created domains for our business. One of these pillars is cybersecurity, which affects everything Intelligent Waves does in terms of services by enabling cyber resiliency and the ability to be ready for a potential cyber attack.
That’s what we can bring to the table for our customers. That is what we can offer our customers. Our team can take existing technology and look beyond its current capabilities. Intelligent Waves has technology that we bring to the marketplace that’s relatively new, but we take innovation and take the time to get behind what capabilities already exist in order to take everything to the next level.
Zero-trust is one of the big buzzwords out there, but the question is, how do you know that zero-trust capabilities are working? IW was involved in some of the first zero-trust assessments as part of one of our major contracts. One of our big contracts has IW involved with some of the first assessments of zero-trust.
We concentrate on the accountability and network aspects of most IT systems, as well as the identity credential and access management capabilities that are all interconnected. Now, we have the opportunity to examine this topic in greater detail, and our partnerships will be the most helpful. “
ExecutiveBiz: How have recent partnerships helped Intelligent Waves grow in the federal market, drive innovation, and help clients complete their missions?
Marqus Hutchinson: “We took the time to develop a partner ecosystem that includes solution partners such as Dell EMC, Palo Alto, Signify, Aruba, Dispersive, Cisco, ForcePoint, AWS, C3AI, Microsoft, KLAS, NOMAD, and Horizon3.ai. They came from the SOCOM world and built an automated pen testing capability to allow them to sit on the network and test the infrastructure to point out the weak spots and evolve with the times. This enables you to push the boundaries, especially in terms of innovation. That allows you to push the envelope, especially from an innovation standpoint.
You can always find a product, but that’s just one piece of the puzzle. As solution providers and solution creators, one of our responsibilities is to continue to evolve the product’s market offerings. You bring their solutions and ours together and start building confidence and trust, which is desperately needed in the federal market as we continue to implement cybersecurity. There are a lot of new technologies that can address these challenges, but many of the traditional decision-makers are still uncomfortable with a lot of these new capabilities, so we created a proof of concept.
Concurrently, there’s a significant need to start demonstrating how these aspects work and how these solutions will enable mission success and drive the market forward. For example, LiFi. There is always kryptonite to a solution, and adversaries are always on the hunt to expose them. There are many positives demonstrated over the years for the use of RF base solutions, but could we use LiFi technology that doesn’t have some of the negatives that are known about the use of RF in an operation?
Enabling the collection and distribution of big data has been the core of IW from the beginning. The main question on any organization’s path to digital transformation is what you do with the data. We recently put out a white paper about the Data Dream Team that talks about how bringing the right team in allows you to open up the aperture to maximize automation, AI/ML, and other capabilities while still bringing the security aspects to the table to deliver that data-as-a-service model to all the different entities that want the data and need answers from the data.
ExecutiveBiz: What can you tell us about Intelligent Waves’ recent growth initiatives? What do you hope to accomplish, and are there any new markets you’re keeping an eye on in the federal sector?
Marqus Hutchinson: “At Intelligent Waves, one of the critical things we want to accomplish as we continue to scale is ensure that we have template solutions for each of our five pillars and the domains we want to have as well.
We are a trusted integrator for CSfC. The way Commercial Solutions for Classified Programs has to work is really about government-to-government accreditation. There’s a set amount of hardware and software meant to be used as we build out the partner ecosystem that I also mentioned earlier.
We can create a CSV template for different packages. Whenever someone finally wants to build a mobility type-package, Intelligent Waves will have the set and tested solution ready to go. By that point, we’ve configured and optimized everything for our customers.
Intelligent Waves wants to do that through our data science. If we want data engineering, data curation, or data visualization, who do we go with to develop those key areas? As we develop our data engineering capabilities and understand the market, we can start to engage with our own people and train them on our partners’ solutions that we’ve created.
I’ve been with Intelligent Waves since 2007. One of the biggest things I’ve seen is when we realized that positive word of mouth from our people and training people within was the secret to success because they’re learning and telling people about the new things they are doing as well as the challenges they’re working to address today.
With our people talking up a storm about our company, more people want to join our team. That is a huge advantage for us to promote everything IW is doing from a technology and innovation standpoint. It drives customer and employee engagement. It fuels our entire organization.”
ExecutiveBiz: How does Intelligent Waves ensure long-term success for your workforce to drive value for your employees while you continue to face the uphill challenge of recruiting and keeping the best talent in the federal marketplace?
Marqus Hutchinson: “The truth is that it’s important to acknowledge there is a talent gap right now in our industry. You’re not going to know 100 percent if someone from a technical interview has the drive and the willingness to learn. For Intelligent Waves, our philosophy is that the task is on us. We need to drive our people to always reach the next level. We believe that very strongly.
One of the programs we started within our company is called “Admin to Engineer.” We have had multiple examples where we brought someone into our company that was willing to learn, and we gave them a technical focus area with mentorship from a Brett Favre-like person, and after 12 months, our customers are experiencing Aaron Rodgers supporting them. I love sports, and with football coming up, I had to throw at least one sports analogy out there.