An Interview with Rob Giannetta, CIO of Peraton, Deltek Customer
Deltek recently had the opportunity to interview Peraton’s CIO, Rob Giannetta, about Peraton’s recent business transformation and work they are doing with NASA. As a trusted partner for some of the nation’s most sensitive and mission critical programs and systems, technology plays an important role in Peraton’s internal and customer facing IT initiatives.
Q: Tell us about the exciting work you are doing with NASA in the “Touching the Sun” project.
Rob Giannetta: NASA’s Parker Solar Probe (PSP) is a project we are working on with NASA to advance our understanding of the Sun and its corona, solar winds and magnetic fields. The data and images the PSP spacecraft collects on its seven-year mission to the far-reaches of the solar system will help scientists better understand solar winds and space weather, so we can protect the satellites and systems we so fundamentally rely on.
Peraton, via its long-term partnership with NASA on its two key space communications programs, provided mission integration and communications services for the Delta IV launch vehicle and the PSP spacecraft which recently launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida as the first-ever mission to “touch” the Sun. About the size of a small car and weighing only 1400 pounds, it will reach speeds of up to 430,000 miles per hour as it zooms through space toward the Sun. With a heat shield that can withstand temperatures of 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit, PSP will fly closer to the Sun’s surface than any other spacecraft in history.
Peraton worked in tandem with NASA on the build, launch plan, and subsequent lifecycle support of the mission. The launch event was meticulously planned and went as anticipated without any issues, a testament to the teams’ expert preparation.
Q: As a technology solutions provider for these types of mission-critical programs and systems, what’s important to you when you are evaluating new technology and looking for new technology partners?
Rob Giannetta: Our customers, including agencies like NASA, rely on us to help them solve their most complex challenges, support their most vital missions, and manage their most valued assets. They depend on us to deliver innovative, secure and scalable solutions to ensure the success of their missions.
When we evaluate technology, it’s important for us to choose best-in-class, proven technology, that will enable us to deliver operational excellence for our customers. Security is critical – and it must be built-in, not bolted on.
The last year has been critical for us in finding the right technology and technology partners, as we have undergone a new, major business transformation. When Veritas acquired Peraton in April 2017, they had recently completed five other business acquisitions. We had a choice at that point – either integrate all of these systems or start with a clean slate and transform it all into something new.
Q: What was the deciding factor in choosing to start with a clean slate and embark on a new business transformation?
Rob Giannetta: Each of these businesses had their own systems, processes and tools; so it was layer upon layer of systems, process and tools that needed to be integrated. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity for us to take something and redo it in a way that would help us leapfrog the competition and position Peraton for the future.
Q: What role did technology play in this digital transformation?
Rob Giannetta: A major goal of our business transformation was to live up to our CEO’s vision for Peraton to be a disruptive force within the national security services market. Technology plays a crucial role in realizing a vision like this. Unless you have the right tools, processes and resources in place to efficiently run your operations, it’s very difficult to be disruptive. And when you are working with agencies like NASA, you need to be disruptive!
A big part of our digital transformation was replacing our legacy systems with new technologies and strategies that would enable us to move radically away from the past and really write our own story about how we’re going to run our business. Now more than ever, IT strategies are fundamental to business strategies. From a vision perspective, we see IT as a strategic partner to the business and technology as the key business driver. It impacts the way we do business, the speed at which we can execute, the value we deliver to our customers and our ability to react to a changing marketplace. The cloud has been a key enabler for us in this digital transformation. It has freed us up to really focus on what the business needs and gives us the speed and scalability we need to be a flexible, agile business.
Q: You ultimately decided to partner with Deltek. Why did you choose Deltek over the competition?
Rob Giannetta: As I stated earlier, our standards are high when we evaluate technology and we are always looking for technology that is best-in-class. From an ERP perspective, that made our decision easy. We chose Deltek because it is proven, battle-tested, built for our industry and has a number of capabilities that make it extremely effective for what we do.
Our business transformation didn’t require just standing up the Deltek solution in six months. It involved migrating a ton of active data from all five businesses. Deltek let us provide end to end, well thought out “frictionless” business processes within one system. Processes that are seamless, easy and very repeatable.
During our work with NASA and their mission to touch the sun, Peraton’s DSN program manager commented on the program by saying: “Other than the actual mission, our goal is for nothing exciting to happen, and that’s the exact result we got – a smooth, problem-free launch.” The same can be said for what we’d like to see with our technology partners – smooth, problem-free launches!
Q: What advice do you have for others embarking on similar business transformations?
Rob Giannetta: Having Peraton leadership involved in the initiative was critical for its success. Transformation involves new ways of thinking, new ways of working and different processes and governance models. To ensure we achieved exactly what we wanted, Peraton executive leadership was deeply involved in the effort on a daily basis.
Change management is an important aspect of business transformation. To ensure success, we wanted to prepare the organization for the changes to come and frequently held town halls and brown bag sessions to communicate with employees throughout the process. We wanted everyone in the organization to know what was happening and to assure them that the future state would be far better than it was today.
About the Author
As Peraton’s Chief Information Officer (CIO), Rob Giannetta is leading Peraton’s digital transformation and the ongoing delivery of IT solutions and services for the company. In addition to driving Peraton’s IT initiatives, Rob is responsible for understanding the challenges their customers face and rapidly deliver innovative, secure and scalable solutions to ensure the success of their missions.
Peraton provides technology solutions for the nation’s most sensitive and mission-critical programs and systems, and is a trusted technology solutions provider for the United States Intelligence Community, Department of Defense, federal agencies and select commercial agencies. The markets it serves include space, defense, intelligence, communications, electronic warfare, cyber/SIGINT, and homeland security. To learn more about Peraton visit www.peraton.com
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