A common question from agencies, partners, and candidates is Why would a transformation and management consulting firm providing data services to government executives be based in Colorado?” We hear that a lot.

In short, the work our clients are doing is not done in Washington DC – it’s done in the programs. And a not well known fact is that a very large amount of those programs – especially Engineering, Earth, Energy, and Land based programs – are actually run out of Colorado. Which now begs the question, “How does one blend a distributed transformation team in Colorado, rather than a more popular area like Washington DC?” Well, it’s mainly because federal employees and agencies seem concentrated in Colorado. This makes the state’s potential for plentiful federal government work very high.

Colorado has over 53,000 Federal Government employees (Denver Post June 2011), not including federal contractors. The concentration of Federal Labs, Military Bases, Land and Science Program management, and multiple Science and operations centers are the main federal organizations. Regarding civilian programs, Denver alone has over 10,000 Federal Employees and contractors running the operations, hosting, and mission functions for these programs, and are in and around the Denver Federal Center. A majority of these agencies are Earth or Land Program focused (See a list of over 100 Agencies and functions.). In the commercial world, Denver also has a large presence in Communications, Satellites, Financial, and Restaurant Headquarters given its central U.S. location.

As an Example…

The Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (DOE EERE) in DC sets the direction and budget for National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). However the NREL program’s R&D National Lab is in Golden, CO. Here they perform Solar, Wind, Biomass, Hydrogen, Geothermal, water power and other renewable studies and preparation for commercialization and technology transfer. Also, United States Geological Survey (USGS) program headquarters are in Reston, but also  around the world. However, a Denver-based hub exists with thousands of employees and contractors. They perform water quality analysis, tracking earthquakes, and making geospatial data.

We have seen two-approaches to transformation in distributed organizations: “Headquarter-Located Survey Models”, and “Collaborative-Blended Location Models”. Between the two, and based on the title of this article, you can probably guess that we are a bigger fan of the latter (we even try to incorporate it as our main approach). You will see why soon enough.

Collaborative Blended Location Approach For Providing Agency And Program Executive Analysis Design And Planning Services

Whether it’s a Major Data Center Consolidation initiative, move to shared services, migrating financials systems to single point solutions, executive driven efficiencies engagement, or moving up the maturity model chain for that program, there are benefits to using a blended model. A blended model can leverage outside consultancies in this area. This helps address – not avoid – these issues much more complete and efficiently.

Xentity’s approach is to engage and involve early and often the programs by working with local presence. That includes both in DC and in the program’s presence, which has typically been Denver to date. Denver is in the “Interior” for the Department of the Interior. DC isn’t the only place with daily political fires or lacking clear communication directions – Programs have lots of fires too. It seems odd to even say this, but the “Potomac Fever” or “Headquarter myopic view” tends to forget that programs are more than a robotic factory (even if they are just that). Local responses to new technology acquisition governance gone awry. Rogue process or technology developments going the wrong way, resulting in server down time or premature application deployment.

This hands-on experience with the programs helps with ground-truthing the recommendations. We do not survey what is happening by asking people questions out of context. Instead, we ask the people while they are in context so the right answer is gotten right away. In the end, we keep the ideas where the problems are. Therefore, the end solution is likely to be more readily implementable, have higher accuracy, and mitigate risks.

How Xentity Executes The Local Presence Blended Model

Xentiy is headquartered in Colorado, but with staff in both Colorado and DC and other client locations in the US. All of our staff are be trained in our Catalog of Services, business transformation methods, and leadership qualities. An added advantage is our cost of living adjustment over DC headquarters is passed on. This happens through our general administration and overhead costs. This, on top of our 8(a) acquisition benefits and Commercial and GSA Schedules, and partner agreements help us ramp-up on new work quickly.

Headquarter Local Consulting – Our “prime partner staff” can support senior executives on-site in responding to political pressures, last-minute calls for action, and advisory and supporting consultation.  In addition, we train our staff or select partners. We particularly want partners well versed in the Corporate context. This includes jargon, lingo, portfolio, players in that agency to help accelerate ramp-up.

Program Local Consulting – Our “Colorado-based staff” bring the actual mission subject matter expertise, analysis, design, and planning skill set where the programs tends to be. They also train and educate themselves on the earth, land, and mission subjects. They work with the programs. And they live in the United States’ interior, next to the federal lands. As such, they experience the wonders and issues of the area around them. This builds something of an internal drive as well. This means our staff will be familiar with such issues as:

  • Metro-based Hosting, engineering, Technical, research, Service or Operation Center efficiencies, status, portfolio current state and key influencers in various agencies, bureaus, and programs.
  • Understand the Laboratory Portfolio of work and challenges for technology transfer and quality, yet efficient science that the Denver Metro based national and regional labs encounter
  • Trust factors and gaps between DC decision makers and Denver-based upper management.

In Conclusion…

Xentity recommends a blended model to help better understand our clients true program portfolio and their value chain of data and resources.  In turn we can have a better understanding of the program. Consequently, we provide risk mitigation between Headquarter (DC) and major Programs and Centers. This blended model engages the Program Middle Management, Labs, and Centers.  And it allows the collaborative development of program solutions, like in any successful business transformation. This results in better risk mitigation, an understanding of the true portfolio alternatives, and building trust between all stakeholders.

At Xentity we do indeed undertake many federal contracts, but we are not based in DC. Instead we’ve successfully blended our team in Denver, the heart of many Federal agencies. And using blending methods we have developed, we have managed to form excellent transformation teams for our government clients.