Headquartered in Vienna, VA, ActioNet is a woman-owned IT solutions provider founded in 1998 by founder, CEO and Chairman, Ashley Chen. The company offers cloud-based solutions, DevSecOps program management, IT managed services, cybersecurity, and Agile software engineering services to its customers in the federal government.
ActioNet graduated from the 8(a) Small Business prog ram in 2013, and has since grown beyond most small business size standards. This increase was driven primarily by the company’s work under the seven-year, $1.4 billion IT Support Services (ITSS) contract in which ActioNet provided a range of management and IT support services to 8,000 users at the Department of Energy (DoE). In fact, between 2012 and 2019, the $922 million worth of obligations ActioNet received on the DoE ITSS contract averaged 37% of the company’s total annual federal obligations. The graphic below highlights the impact the single contract had on ActioNet’s overall business.
A change in fortunes
In October 2018, ActioNet’s DoE ITSS recompete – in the form of the larger $2 billion CIO Business Operations Support Services (CBOSS) contract – was awarded to Accenture Federal Services team which also included General Dynamics, Unisys and Red River. In March 2019, GAO denied ActioNet’s protest citing Accenture’s approach as technically superior and ActioNet’s pricing solution as unrealistically low. This loss left a colossal hole in ActioNet’s business, contributing to its lowest yield of federal contract obligations ($174M in 2019) since 2011 ($170M).
Unfortunately for ActioNet, CBOSS has not been its only recent loss. In January 2020, Unisys waged a successful takeaway effort by winning the seven-year, $700 million Enterprise IT Shared Services (EITSS) contract for the U.S. Department of Transportation (DoT). The preceding contract will expire in March 2020, marking another devastating blow to the company’s portfolio.
There is no question ActioNet has felt and will continue to feel the impact of losing these major contracts. In 2017 and 2018, federal contract obligations from the two contracts eclipsed all other contract obligations for ActioNet (the two contracts accounted for 63% of its contract obligations in 2018). The major recompete losses present quite the challenge for the company entering 2020.
Let’s explore some of ActioNet’s key services, offerings, contracts and customers that will play a role in the company’s attempt to fill that hole moving forward.
Core Federal Customers
If you’ve read this far, it shouldn’t be surprising to you that between 2015 and 2019, the DoE was ActioNet’s largest federal customer. Following the loss of DoE CBOSS, ActioNet will almost certainly look to some of its other key customers, notably the U.S. Department of State (DoS) and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)to rebound.
Although DoE ITSS made up a significant portion of its business, ActioNet can tout several other notable contracts from its other major customers that characterize its portfolio.
- U.S. Department of State (DoS), Diplomatic Security (DS), Development, Engineering and Integration Services (DEIS) – Since 2014, ActioNet has received nearly $70 million in obligations providing Agile and hybrid Waterfall/Agile design, development, implementation, and deployment for DoS DS software applications, networks, and websites.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Next Generation IT Services (NGITS) Operations Services BPA – In 2018, ActioNet was awarded the eight-year, $207 million NGITS operations services BPA to provide a range of services to HHS, including management, service desk and deskside support, infrastructure operations, datacenter operations, service management, endpoint engineering, and infrastructure engineering.
- Judicial Conference of the United States, Administrative Office of the United States Courts (AOUSC), Judiciary Multiple Award Services (JMAS) IV – In 2015, ActioNet won this a seat under this $300 million multiple award contract in which ActioNet employs Agile and DevOps methodology across all phases of the application lifecycle for the AOUSC Case Management System Office (CMSO). The AOUSC provides IT support for software development, systems engineering, maintenance, and operations of national information systems for all federal courts.
ActioNet offers an array of branded IT support solutions that align with its core services under ActioNetCloud®. Although we cannot verify the extent to which these solutions are actually employed on government programs, the ActioNetCloud solution suite serves as an example of the company’s efforts to productize its services.
- ActioNetAgile® is the company’s branded Agile Software Development Life Cycle advisory and coaching service for Scrum, SAFe, and Kanban methodologies.
- ActioNetCyber® is the company’s branded approach to providing its customers with continuous cyber operations, adaptive risk management, cyber advisory services, and security engineering.
- ActioNet360® is an end-to-end IT management, engineering and operations framework built on built on a combination of Project Management Institute PMBOK®, ITIL®, CMMI®, and Scaled Agile Framework SAFe® practices.
- ActioNetHosting® is a cloud hosting and migration offering that provides customized Infrastructure, Platform, and Software as a service and a range of cloud infrastructure support services for AWS, Azure, Oracle, VMware, Salesforce, ServiceNow, and Microsoft Dynamics.
- ActioNetDesk® is a managed service desk solution for on-site and cloud-hosted contact center and help desk support. This managed service desk uses ITIL, HDI-based standardized practices and operates out of the ActioNetDesk™ Operations Center in Vienna, VA.
- ActioNetMobility® is an end-to-end mobility management approach that enables its customers to securely access systems, applications, content and data in real-time, from anywhere.
The FedSavvy Strategies Take
- A fundamental shift in their customer mix is necessary to rebound – By 2018, the DoE ITSS contract accounted for nearly half of ActioNet’s total contract obligations for the year, underscoring the risk of overinvestment in a single customer. With current work at HHS, DoT, and DoS, and recent contract wins within DoD, ActioNet will likely benefit from the stability associated with maintaining a healthier balance of its top customers moving forward.
- Defense customers trending upwards…is this a path for a rebound? In 2019, the company won three DoD contracts: providing information technology service support for the U.S. Army Field Support Brigade (ASFB) in the Pacific, transformation and modernization services for the U.S. Army, and providing DevSecOps for a DoD Development, Deployment and Sustainment services contract. These contract wins indicate a strategic investment in ActioNet’s business development with defense customers.
- Attempted differentiation through service-branding – Look for ActioNet to continue to invest in its ActioNetCloud solutions suite as a way to add unique value to its core, less-than-unique IT support services offerings. This represent the kind of corporate investments or branding efforts you might not expect from a company of ActioNet’s size. This is not unusual compared to most GOVCON businesses seeking to separate themselves from each other as not just “body shops.”
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