Big Blue and big government: Enhancing security and co-innovation operations improves IBM’s chances in the U.S. public sector

IBM is strengthening public sector resources in the U.S. to capture modernization opportunities

While the public sector accounts for less than 10% of IBM’s revenue, in TBR’s estimates, IBM is expanding resources in the U.S. to ramp up activities. IBM developed its delivery capabilities for the U.S. federal sector by establishing the IBM Center for Government Cybersecurity in June. The center, part of IBM’s offices in downtown Washington, D.C., will have a secure laboratory space for government clients to jointly develop solutions around advanced security threats leveraging IBM technologies and services. The center will provide access to IBM experts and external advisers, such as former government officials, as well as host workshops around topics such as zero-trust frameworks and cloud security. Clients will also have access to the IBM Research labs to collaborate on encryption solutions. ​

In October IBM opened a new IBM Garage location in Huntsville, Ala., a location designed specifically to support the federal government’s digital transformation and modernization. IBM is enhancing its value proposition by offering government-grade cloud environments, cleared local resources trained on IBM Garage principles and methodology, and thought leaders that will provide services in a hybrid model. In a similar move, Accenture Federal Services opened an innovation space at the University of Alabama in Huntsville’s Invention to Innovation Center in June. Such activities indicate a potential war for talent, especially for industry and technology experts skilled at working with public sector clients.​

A partnership with Raytheon, formed in October, expands IBM’s reach in the aerospace, defense and intelligence, and federal government sectors. IBM and Raytheon will jointly develop AI, cryptographic and quantum solutions. Raytheon is one of several federal aerospace and defense (A&D) contractors teaming with IBM Services to launch MARQTS (Marketplace for Advanced, Rapid, Quantifiably-assured, Trusted Semiconductors), a hybrid cloud-based and blockchain-enabled forum to support the secure development of microelectronics for the commercial industry and the DOD. IBM joins A&D and commercial IT companies Boeing, Cadence, Colvin Run Networks, Intrinsix, Lockheed Martin, Marvell Government Solutions, Nimbis Services Inc., Northrop Grumman and PDF Solutions. MARQTS will be available to the U.S. defense sector by 2023. IBM will use a proprietary cloud platform developed to enable secure collaboration for the group, while the platform will reside on an IBM blockchain to enhance security. IBM expects to roll out MARQTS across the DOD by 2023.

According to TBR’s 2Q21 Public Sector IT Services Benchmark, “The appetite for digital modernization by agencies of the U.S. federal government remains strong, as evidenced not only by record revenue and backlog levels reported by many federal technology contractors in 2Q21 but also by the robust level and velocity of proposal submissions tendered by federal IT vendors. Commercial technology adoption is red hot in federal IT, particularly around cloud computing, where TBR observed a significant uptick in efforts by multiple contractors during 2Q21 to shore up collaborations with the leading commercial cloud leaders.”

Senior Analyst John Caucis, who leads TBR’s Public Sector IT Services research, notes, “The federal civilian sector has recovered vigorously from the COVID-19 trough a year ago, thanks to civilian agencies’ ongoing drive to digitize their IT infrastructures. Cyber budgets are also growing, reflecting federal agencies’ strong will to secure their data and IT systems from the ever-growing barrage of cyber threats. AI is increasingly permeating security, intelligence gathering and analysis, the burgeoning space sector, and citizen services, cementing AI as a critical technology to drive mission success and driving AI leaders like Booz Allen Hamilton to accelerate the time to market of new AI technologies.”

The content above draws heavily from TBR’s most recent quarterly analysis of IBM’s services business. Contact the author at elitsa.bakalova@tbri.com for additional insight and information. 

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