We thank our veterans with parades, ceremonies and free meals every November as a nation. And then they often dwindle from our thoughts until another celebratory holiday comes around. But the innovation and expertise veterans bring to the workforce and to civilian life impact our communities and our economy every day of the year.
Approximately 200,000 service members transition from active duty to civilian life annually, representing nearly 5.6% of the civilian labor force. The U.S. military abounds with highly educated and skilled experts in fields like Information Technology, Communications and Logistics to name just a few. Many of these qualified individuals bring their military experience and expertise to the civilian labor force in their post-military careers, and some of those careers still directly impact and benefit the military and enterprises alike.
ITI believes that providing world-class IT support means staffing the most highly trained specialists available in the workforce. Many of these professionals are military veterans who have infused their military expertise into ITI’s software development, delivering a complete services package that meets the rigor for performance that government entities require and benefit commercial businesses.
An organization’s turnover rate can measurably impact the bottom line. The loss of institutional knowledge and experience compounds the penalty of the cost of training new employees. U.S. Military and government employees have high turnover rates due to frequent military change of station and the frequency of government employees changing positions or leaving civil service. Some government organizations have rates of 40% or more. While this turnover is largely accepted as necessary, it directly impacts knowledge continuity and attrition in the government sector. Veterans working for government contractors, such as ITI, can bring their knowledge and experience to the table to help offset some of the institutional knowledge loss.
ITI Senior Consultant and Air Force Veteran Lieutenant Colonel Eric Gervais, who served 33 years in the U.S. Air Force, said his military service provided extensive training and experience in aircraft maintenance, information technology, and financial management. All of which translate to workforce needs we see outside of the military.
“The military sees lots of turnover,” Gervais said. “Staying stationed in one place for more than three or four years is rare. Military members are expected to hit the ground running, learn as much as possible while supporting the mission, and then get ready to move on to the next base.”
In his post-military career at ITI, Gervais’ military experience has proved to be extremely valuable. He said military life taught him “a plan without resources is just a dream” and that organizations can’t function without resources or accurate insights into budgetary data. Without these elements, business plans can quickly become an unfunded dream.
“Organizations that invest well in business intelligence solutions are able to save time and money. Automated ‘smart tools’ allow your best resources – your people – to focus on analysis and management by exception instead of getting bogged down in massive collections of data,” Gervais said. “The government and businesses both need current, centralized and collaborated data at their fingertips to make better-informed decisions and to improve efficiency. Our experience has shown that reliance on data from so called ‘systems of record’ is frequently misplaced without using the business intelligence tools needed to detect and help reconcile anomalous data between the many systems.”
Time is a valuable commodity, and as a former Petty Officer and now Senior Systems Analyst, Marcel Brandy knows this. While serving in the Navy, Brandy and his team assisted in integrating e-records and saw firsthand how time-consuming manual data entry can be. When he transitioned to weapons system sustainment, Brandy was exposed to several intricate processes for weapons sustainment. The Weapons System Sustainment (WSS) encompasses all activities needed to keep military equipment functional – no small feat when you take into consideration not only the immense amount of data and research that needs to be done, but also anticipating requirements, training, staff, parts, and timing to keep aircraft mission ready. Once a manual process, it’s now done through advanced software designed to plan, program, budget and execute WSS requirements.
Brandy said the skills and experience he gained while in the military easily translated into civilian work.
“When you have to do things manually, you not only risk the possibility of bad data due to human error; you’re also spending time getting everything in place before you’re able to devote time to the actual project at hand,” Brandy said. “The right business intelligence software ensures data credibility that is accessible across the organization.”
Having served on the front lines as a fighter pilot, Lieutenant Colonel Andy Taylor values giving back to those who now serve on the front lines. “The value we are able to provide is three times more for the people on the front lines,” Taylor said. “Because of my military experience, I can work shoulder to shoulder with our clients seamlessly and help fill the gaps created by turnover.”
Working with a consulting firm that is highly invested in client success has its challenges. When Lieutenant Colonel Dennis Dillon retired after 27 years in the Air Force, he found himself working on a military base as a consultant. With every passing year of increasing success, customer expectations increased as well. “We are a customer of ourselves by directly supporting the military,” Dillon said. “Because of our deep military knowledge, there is a collaboration with ITI and our government clients. In real-time, we can see decisions being made because of our electronic capability to communicate and share pertinent information with teams across the Air Force, other governmental agencies and even across borders with our international partners.”
Government programs can be expensive, as in billions of dollars expensive. With that kind of money on the line, failure to proactively manage a budget could lead to underutilized resources. Even if a budget is executed at 95%, millions of dollars are still not spent. When government organizations and enterprises utilize lagging indicator solutions based on historical data to execute budgets, they risk sacrificing 5% or more of their budget. Unspent dollars in less than fully funded programs are not ‘savings.’ They translate into work not being done and reduced mission capability.
“When you implement a leading indicator solution, you’re executing with a reporting tool that has access to real-time data,” ITI Senior Program Manager and retired Senior Master Sergeant Doreen Harris said. “For many years, a 5% margin of error would not raise alarms because it was felt that some processes simply could not be highly controlled due to their continuous nature, variability and complexity. Today, a 5% margin can have a massive impact on constrained budgets and lead to efficiency shortfalls and reductions in capability. Implementing purpose-built leading indicator solutions virtually eliminates manual errors, saves time and money, and allows for 100% of allocated budgets to be used confidently, efficiently, and effectively.”
Veterans are invaluable contributors to any professional team and bring unique skills and extensive experience to the civilian workforce. Their leadership and management skills combine with their reliability and mission focus to make them key company employees. Since a substantial amount of ITI’s work is with the DoD, veterans deliver critical support to internal and external customers, which helps drive both enterprise and military success.
Gervais said that by nature and experience veterans understand commitment to service.
“The drive to contribute and succeed that is exhibited during military service does not stop when the uniform is traded for civilian clothing,” Gervais said. “Veterans are an essential part of the U.S. workforce and bring a unique level of training, dedication and skills that foster high-performing team members in any field. Veterans like Dennis Dillon, Doreen Harris, Andy Taylor, and Marcel Brandy find purpose and satisfaction in using their military experience to contribute to our company and our customers.”