‘Return on information’
Firm helps government clients get value from their data
- April 27, 2012
In 2007, Jay Nussbaum and the late Bob LaRose co-founded Agilex Technologies Inc. in Chantilly. Their fledgling information technology and systems consulting company started with five employees working in an 80,000-square-foot corporate headquarters with an auditorium and technology demonstration center.
“We put the infrastructure in place for the company we wanted to be, not the company we were,” says Tim Hoechst, Agilex’s chief technology officer. “We bought a building and decked it out with a customer visitor center, a secure facility and all the physical infrastructure we needed so we weren’t distracted by not having that at our disposal.”
Five years later, Agilex has grown into its headquarters, with a rapidly expanding work force of more than 400 employees and annual revenues of more than $100 million.
Taking its name from the words “agility” and “expertise,” Agilex takes pride in the fact that many of its senior-level employees worked for technology companies such as Microsoft, Oracle and Apple. (Agilex, in fact, was Apple’s partner for a government systems integration program.) Some Agilex employees came from systems integrations companies like SAIC, while others were formerly high-ranking technology officials in the federal government.
“The one thing we won’t do is compromise on the fact that we need to have knowledgeable people with expertise that enjoy technology,” says Nussbaum, Agilex’s chief operating officer, who had been a high-ranking executive for Citibank and Oracle.
Engaging these technology experts, giving them profit sharing and providing access to technology and infrastructure have been “the secret ingredients that helped us accelerate our growth,” Hoechst says.
Agilex’s customer base consists almost exclusively of federal agencies. About half of its business is for health-care agencies, 45 percent is devoted to intelligence and Homeland Security, and the balance is focused on civilian departments such as the U.S. Postal Service.
The firm’s services can be summed up as “return on information,” says Nussbaum. “Government customers … have so much data, and they need to learn how to organize the data, manage it and get value from it at the end and that’s where we come in.”
Among its many endeavors, Agilex builds software and information systems, such as a program for GIs to apply for educational benefits. Agilex also helps agencies consolidate and improve their IT infrastructure.
A major component of Agilex’s intelligence and security work is advanced analytics, creating predictive modeling programs and analyzing large volumes of data to determine complex relationships. This process involves crafting programs that can sift through “hundreds of millions of documents and find people of interest and their relationships to things we know are bad.”
Data mobility is an emerging enterprise for Agilex — creating mobile applications for platforms such as iPad, iPhone and Android devices. One Agilex product currently in testing is a ticket-purchasing app for Amtrak that delivers real-time schedules and reservations. “It’s not just about building a cool, novel app,” Hoechst says. “It’s about connecting it to the data.”
Potential growth areas for Agilex include infrastructure clouds (hosting a firm’s IT infrastructure on cloud-based servers) and compute clouds (harnessing the power of hundreds of off-site computers to solve problems involving massive data).
Agilex’s leaders also continue to think as big as their headquarters. They project the company’s revenues will exceed $150 million by the end of this year. By 2020, Agilex plans to be a company of 5,000 employees with $1 billion in annual revenue.
“It’s a lofty goal,” Nussbaum acknowledges.
“All of our goals have been lofty,” agrees Hoechst, “and we have not been shy about setting aggressive goals.”