© CEOCFO Magazine -
Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor
Steve Alexander, Associate Editor
Bud Wayne, Editorial Executive
Christy Rivers -
Valerie Austin -
President & CEO
Adeptus Solutions, Inc.
Interview conducted by:
Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine, Published – November 11, 2019
CEOCFO: Ms. Robertson, what was the vision when Adeptus Solutions, Inc started, and what is the focus today?
Ms. Robertson: Our vision was to provide a tailored approach to delivering software to the federal government. We provide concierge-
CEOCFO: Why is that approach so unusual?
Ms. Robertson: It is unusual because many small businesses do not have the concierge component built into quality service. Often the contributions that the employees provide are overlooked. But our employees are on the frontline every day, gaining customer insight and understanding their needs. Our approach is customization in a systematic, strategic manner that allows us to deliver quality services and ensure success for our customers. By combining mature processes, people, and great technology, we have a trifecta that sets us apart from other technology service organizations providing service to the federal government.
CEOCFO: Are government agencies looking for better solutions? Do they even realize they can find them?
Ms. Robertson: I think they are. Now, more than ever, federal government agencies realize that the commercial industry has a lot to offer. Previously, the federal government agencies had a push to “build and customize versus buy and customize,” it was archaic. Now government agencies are looking at solutions that have already been proven in the commercial marketplace and customizing it to fit in the federal government sectors. The federal government is looking at modern solutions that allow them to meet their agency goals, solve their issues, and implement the services that meet the needs of their end customers. Therefore, with modern approaches to software delivery emerging and as the security industry continues to transform, we are building better software, customizing solutions, and providing masters in our field that allow better options for the government using an agile, DevOps, adaptive approach.
CEOCFO: Would you walk is through a couple of engagements -
Ms. Robertson: We have been providing services to the Department of Veterans Affairs for over 15 years, specifically within their health IT sector. On a specific operations and maintenance contract, we provided services that sustained the back-
One of the services that we provided was a unique opportunity to help the government monitor the legacy systems that were currently in place. As a result, we produce reports that became useful. These dashboard reports were an added level of service to help our clients visualize the status of their current systems. Our client came to rely heavily on these reports. As the contract came to an end, our client appreciated the services we were providing. Our federal client needed a concierge approach to meeting their agency goals and solving their issues for some legacy applications. Our employees understood the needs of our clients and delivered what they needed in a way that was clear, concise, and effective. Our clients want transparency, great communication, and a product that they can use that fits their needs right now, and we deliver on that!
CEOCFO: How do you decide what projects to bid on? What do you look for in a project? Are there particular areas in technology that you prefer, given a choice?
Ms. Robertson: As long as projects fit within the realm of information technology, data analytics, and program management when we have the right tools, the right people, the right expertise and the right partner, we pursue those projects. We believe that collaboration helps to deliver a stronger solution, a stronger program, and stronger options for the government. We seek areas where we have a track record of proven solutions and where we can add value. This means we have past expertise, or we have the right partners to bid on those projects. We pursue projects that we can partner with the right company to provide a solution or is within the realm of services that we offer.
We offer six different services; end-
CEOCFO: It can be difficult to find the right staff these days. What do you look for in your people?
Ms. Robertson: I think across the board, the pool of applicants in the job market is shrinking. Companies have to look harder and try harder. However, the Washington DC metro employee market is unique. We have an excellent talent pool spurred on by access to great institutions of learning, highly trained individuals, and technology corridors in Southern Maryland and Northern Virginia. We are a national company and have employees nationwide. Our robust hiring and recruiting program allows us to deliver the right employees on a project on time. When we look for employees, we review several factors. Number one, do they fit into the culture of who we are as an organization, how we deliver service, our corporate attitude, and a zest for learning. We offer a competitive salary, great benefits, and incentives to attract the right talent to Adeptus Solutions. We are looking for a team that is “one strong.” This mantra means each employee on the team performs in a manner that is cohesive to the entire team.
We seek applicants that are good fits for the specific team we are hiring them to support. We also review the skill sets that the applicants provide. Sometimes you may have the brightest person, but they may not be a good team member.
CEOCFO: You have a number of certifications, small woman business, minority-
Ms. Robertson: This is a two-
Adeptus Solutions is an 8(a), Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone), Woman-
CEOCFO: What are you surprised that we can do with technology today and what are you surprised that we cannot do yet?
Ms. Robertson: I think artificial intelligence (AI) and automation are a large component of information technology (IT) services. In the early years of software development and testing, the industry subscribed to an arduous manual process to ensure that the software was meeting standards and that it was secure. However, today we have artificial intelligence and software that can do many operational tasks, which frees up time to focus on the agency mission and ensure the success of deployed technology. Robots can review a website to see if the color is correct, read the screen content for the visually impaired, ensure Section 508 compliance, and it is all happening in the background.
There are also software programs that can help with hardware and software performance. These software indicate and pinpoint where there are areas of failure. Many great opportunities are happing in AI and IT security. However, there are limitations to these. We still need people interactions to assure that these AI technologies are usable and functioning correctly from a software quality perspective. As for software security and compliance testing, we are far above where we were just five years ago. Therefore, we continue to look at the direction of the industry, and we are excited to see some of the changes that are occurring in these areas.
CEOCFO: How do you stay on top of all of the changing technology? Every time you blink, it seems there is something new!
Ms. Robertson: That is a good thing! It means there are options. However, as the company’s President and CEO, I cannot stay on top of all the changing technologies without guidance. That is why we send our employees for training! We have money allocated in our company for continued education, and we encourage our employees to attend training and maintain their certifications. We cannot govern our company from a one-
Adeptus Solutions looks at indicators and forecasts of where the federal government has needs, what they are asking for, and what solutions we can provide. We continue to have conversations with the government small business offices, program managers, and other industry partners/leaders to see where the government and technology are moving. I have to stay on top of directional control. We hire the right people and ensure that they are getting training within their specific field, and they bring that knowledge back to our company. Then we can adjust appropriately to meet our client's needs.
CEOCFO: Do you find there is a difference in working with different administrations in the government?
Ms. Robertson: Definitely. Absolutely; there is no question about it.
CEOCFO: When did you recognize that you could not do everything yourself?
Ms. Robertson: When we started Adeptus Solutions, I started with one contract operating out of the spare room in my condo, and I was working on that contract and trying to grow Adeptus Solutions. As other opportunities started to come to Adeptus Solutions, I quickly realized that I was one person that was working a full-
After we started winning more work and getting more contracts, we still wanted to keep our team lean, and we built by bringing in a strategist and help for proposals. We have put a plan in place to scale in key areas as we continue to build the company systematically. As we continue to grow, we realize that we need to be agile and strategically add key support people to our overhead.
CEOCFO: Why choose Adeptus Solutions, Inc?
Ms. Robertson: Adeptus Solutions has a history of high performance and delivery in the federal information technology marketplace. We help our clients solve the hardest problems. Our approach is to enable and deliver customer success, which is straight-
As a small business, we are competing with mid-
Government IT Solutions, Adeptus Solutions, Inc., Modernizing Government Technology, Erica Robertson, Adeptus Solutions, Inc. provides Concierge-
“Adeptus Solutions has a history of high performance and delivery in the federal information technology marketplace. We help our clients solve the hardest problems. Our approach is to enable and deliver customer success, which is straight-