General Dynamics IT ties growth outlook to investments and partnerships

When General Dynamics IT’s leader talks about what the business unit has accomplished in the last year, she focuses on how they attained that goal as much as on what it needs to do next.

Take for instance a $4.5 billion contract that GDIT secured in the spring of 2022 for hybrid cloud computing services to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. GDIT’s pursuits of large awards like that have been years in the making.

“You have to create a foundation and invest in that innovation so you can innovate and part of the foundation is being an agile organization,” GDIT’s president Amy Gilliland said.

GDIT is the information technology and systems integration business unit of General Dynamics, company no. 5 on the 2023 Washington Technology Top 100 with $6 billion in unclassified prime obligations.

In support of its growth outlook, GDIT has invested in a network of innovation laboratories and a newly-stood up consulting organization.

Those labs are part of a new tech strategy GDIT announced in May to focus on a key group of technologies Gilliland calls “accelerators” — include zero trust, automation for IT operations, multi-cloud management, software factories, 5G, and artificial intelligence and machine learning.

The tech strategy builds on a set of partnerships GDIT announced in the fall of 2022 with Amazon Web Services, Cisco, Dell Technologies, Splunk and T-Mobile. But Gilliland said the company has to do more than foster collaboration with others.

“We found that we needed to invest ourselves to mature and build out the solutions and frameworks so that we could bring them to the customer quickly,” she said. “

GDIT has worked to align its operations around these core capabilities, from which Gilliland said the business has formalized a digital consulting practice to operate both internally and externally.

“It is their job to make sure that these investments are being made in the right places and they are aligned with the business,” Gilliland said.

Those teams of consultants collect lessons learned as tech solutions are implemented at agencies, then take their findings to the labs and elsewhere to continue evolving what GDIT does. Every win and every loss is an opportunity to collect insights on how GDIT can improve, Gilliland said.

GDIT sees that approach as helping it secure some important awards in recent months, with a $1.7 billion Army flight school training support contract booked in the spring at the top of the list.

“That’s a decade-plus incumbency so that was a really important win for us,” she said.

GDIT also won a set of recompetes earlier this June at the Environmental Protection Agency, all of which totaled $380 million in ceiling value. Those awards continue work GDIT has been doing at EPA supporting environmental and climate initiatives, Superfund work, and water and wastewater infrastructure.

“We had a nice strong start to 2023,” Gilliland said.