Executive Spotlight: Bruce Feldman, SVP of Business Development With SAIC

Bruce Feldman, senior vice president of business development with Science Applications International Corp., recently spoke with ExecutiveBiz regarding his strategic goals for the coming year as well as the expansion of the company’s digital engineering work and its efforts to address the unique talent recruitment and retention challenges across the federal sector during the latest Executive Spotlight interview.

You can read the full interview with Bruce Feldman below.

ExecutiveBiz: What are your strategic goals for the coming year? What do you hope to accomplish and any new markets that you’re keeping an eye on in the federal sector?

Bruce Feldman: “From a strategic perspective, my approach is focused on getting governance in place for our campaign planning process. 

As the business development lead for the National Security and Space Sector, I’m responsible for strategy, business development, capture solution, architecture, and a variety of other smaller support functions. 

The first half of this year was dedicated to installing campaigns and a strong governance program to ensure we are getting the maximum return on our investments. SAIC has spent a lot of time on becoming more solutions-oriented as an organization. 

Historically, SAIC has been known for professional services, and now we’re evolving towards a solution delivery and capability delivery model where we combine capabilities and labor. We want to provide differentiated value to customers that goes beyond the labor content.

In the second half of the year, I’m really focused on our overall talent development efforts for the BD workforce. The compensation levels for practitioners, especially at the top of the ladder, have skyrocketed over the last couple of years. 

As a result, we’re now focusing on building up our talent development program to identify high performers from the very beginning of their careers. We’re not just hiring people at the top of the game for the top price. SAIC wants to match our talent development with our business needs. The bottom line is that we really need to grow our own talent.

In order to do that properly, we are developing a robust program for training. The program will help our people realize their maximum potential over time through partnerships, onboarding, evaluation and assessments. That’s really a priority for me. 

The other key area has been improving our business development workforce productivity. If I had to label it, it’s about generating maximum return on our BD investments. We don’t want to dilute our efforts trying to focus on multiple solutions. 

The challenge is working to find the sweet spot where we bring data science, machine learning and artificial intelligence to resolve the latest BD challenges. Those capabilities include forecasting performance and identifying leading indicators of performance, judging outcomes in advance and make informed business decisions. 

Setting the right campaigns, focusing on talent and ensuring we maximize our return on investment has directed my efforts this year. We are looking to continue to upskill our workforce and generate new tools and capabilities to match that change in our organization because we’re selling differently. All of this will be essential to strategic goals over the next six months.”

ExecutiveBiz: As we continue to talk about different emerging technology aspects, what can you tell us about the digital engineering work that SAIC is doing and why it’s been under-realized in our community? 

Bruce Feldman: “Everyone knows about the digital twin concept, where you build a high fidelity model of something that is a physical capability, system or a system of systems with software, hardware and firmware. 

That’s a great way for customers to explore new capabilities, especially with cutting-edge complex systems. But how do you get models to speak to each other so things can integrate operationally? The digital thread capability is our core solution for that issue moving forward. 

The ‘digital thread’ is really the infrastructure that enables you to move data between digital twin models made by different people in different places with different tool sets, in order to see how changing one component of a system affects the rest.

That’s a potential opportunity of great interest to SAIC. We see ourselves as the data architect, especially in the key areas of all domain command and control and space ground systems. Those two aspects in particular are where the digital thread becomes glue that holds all these capabilities together from a modeling and acquisition point of view, as well as in real-life operations.

On paper, a digital twin is a great way to save money and accelerate the delivery of new capabilities, but it is the digital thread that enables the federal government to take ownership of the technical baseline, to connect digital twin models and real capabilities. We understand how data needs to move and how things need to happen in the system with the necessary capabilities.

At SAIC, we’re extremely excited about actually putting together a new version of our digital engineering tool suite. We have a free digital validation tool, which provides a great asset to our customers. 

Often, OEMs are concerned about the potential for inadvertent exposure of proprietary data when they deliver a model. Today, SAIC is already enabling OEMs. We are able to provide our clients with their data model from different OEMs without worrying about the risk of proprietary data being compromised or leaking from one OEM to another, which is a significant step.” 

ExecutiveBiz: How does SAIC ensure long-term success for your workforce to drive value for your employees as you continue to face the uphill challenge to recruit and retain the best talent in the federal marketplace? 

Bruce Feldman: “When we talk about core values and empowerment for our people, we talk a lot about analytics. I’m very focused on leveraging our people and our tools to create the best possible outcome. At the same time, we have to look at the attributes of our people and how to empower them to do their best work. In other words, how do we create an environment for them to perform in terms of their day-to-day work? 

As a company, we have core values: passion, innovation, inclusion, integrity and empowerment. I keep those values printed on my personal badge card. For business development practitioners, I can usually tell within a few minutes of talking to someone if they’re truly passionate about the business opportunity that we have in front of us.

At SAIC, we’re looking for people who bring that temperament and passion to deliver for our customers and deliver success into our workforce. Not everyone has the drive to do the hard work necessary to drag the ball across the goal line. It is one of the key attributes we look for in our people because we know that person will do what it takes to deliver the win for SAIC. 

One of the other values I’d like to mention is integrity. Because all of our employees are involved in helping us grow our business, it’s important to ensure that they understand the ethical standards in this industry. 

For today’s landscape, we believe it’s really important for us to know the ethical lines and boundaries to do respectful business. We offer more ethics training than I’ve ever seen, which focuses on upholding our integrity standards and rules. Our training also provides resources for employees to ask questions, especially for areas that are gray. We lay out for our people the “who to go to” for assistance. 

The last central core value that I’ll mention is inclusion. It is important for us to have employees with different ideas and perspectives. SAIC has created an inclusive space to discuss intellectual discourse from different perspectives. 

We want to be able to understand different ways to think about a problem as a team. That’s something we’re working hard to cultivate within our BD teams: a safe space for people to speak their minds. It’s absolutely critical for us to understand the different perspectives we have at our company. 

The bottom line is always about creating the best possible outcome no matter where or who it comes from.”