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Executive Spotlight: Sean DuGuay, Principal of National Security & Defense for Capgemini Government Solutions

11 mins read

Sean DuGuay, principal of National Security & Defense for Capgemini Government Solutions, recently spoke with ExecutiveGov regarding the challenges of implementing zero-trust technology as well as the renewed focus on data security in the federal sector and the compliance standards challenges that government agencies and others are working to meet.

In addition, DuGuay also touched on Capgemini’s efforts to drive digital transformation and stay ahead of the speed of innovation with recent acquisitions like VariQ to push the company’s growth strategy for the rest of 2022 and beyond during the latest Executive Spotlight interview.

“Capgemini has a rich company history and heritage of more than 50 years, with deep industry expertise in digital transformation and technology solutions and capabilities, earning recognition across the board. Although we are a global firm, our commercial presence is very significant in the North American market.

The beautiful thing about Capgemini Government Solutions is we get to leverage deep technical expertise in Cloud, Data, and SaaS/PaaS solutions. The government is looking for the latest and greatest technology that we can pull from our commercial clients, and in its work with the Federal Government, Capgemini is able to bring Silicon Valley innovation and lessons learned to an amazing client with incredible challenges. We have the technologies and technologists who know how to uncover and solve problems to help further their mission.”

You can read the full interview with Sean DuGuay below:

ExecutiveGov: What can you tell us about the implementation of the recent VariQ acquisition as well as how it benefited your portfolio, technical capabilities and driven value for your company and customers? What are your goals for the end of 2022 in the homeland security sector?

Sean DuGuay: “VariQ was a strategic acquisition for Capgemini. I was on the executive leadership team for VariQ and my new leadership role at Capgemini is awesome because of the depth and breadth of Capgemini capabilities that I now have behind me.  At VariQ we were rich in contract vehicles, including the Alliant-2 which provides access to best-in-class opportunities, but sometimes lacked the depth to compete on the biggest deals.  Now, I’m part of a $20B organization with the capabilities to tackle the toughest challenges that government has to offer.

In addition, Capgemini’s strength in a platform as-a-service offering will enable tremendous growth for us in the federal market. There have already been a number of contracts the government has put out and there are more to come in. There’s significant growth for Capgemini in the government space and all those specific areas.

My role with Capgemini is to lead the organic growth of our business within Homeland Security, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of State (DOS). I get to work with some of the brightest technology minds the industry can offer. These Capgemini employees are true problem solvers.

It’s a business leader’s dream to have these experts by your side, and my goal is to bring our clients the best offerings possible with true problem-solving capability and mission enhancement. I work with these clients daily and see their struggles, and I want to help solve them.  I want them, the taxpayers, and citizens to benefit from the best the government can bring.

We look forward to working with the Federal Government in cyber and new platforms as-a-service. Our company has contracts and portfolios throughout those areas, and we are excited about some upcoming opportunities to help both clients with their challenges.

I have almost 30 years of experience in the industry and was in the Marines for a decade prior. I’ve touched pretty much every aspect of this business at some point. If our Civilian or DoD market teams need some support, I will bring that to the table for them and Capgemini. That’s the team mentality that I love about this company and something that’s pretty rare to find in our industry. We all help each other and, quite frankly, this is the most fun I’ve had in quite a while.”

ExecutiveGov: With the influence of emerging technologies impacting every aspect of business, how has your company been able to drive digital transformation efforts to stay ahead of innovation in the federal landscape for yourself and your customers?

Sean DuGuay: “Since Capgemini has more than 340,000 employees across 50 different countries that are touched by our technology, you can’t help but want the best-in-class and it’s been fun to see the growth in this company thus far. One day I’m talking to a federal client about a major issue they are having and the next day I’m talking with a technologist across the country on a way to solve it.

As we look at the technology trends like cloud, data, API, connectivity, DevOps and software development, it’s astonishing to see that Capgemini can help in all these areas. I’ve had a lot of experience with emerging technologies and digital transformation efforts, which the pandemic only accelerated across the board.

The federal government was forced to adapt and pivot to meet the needs of the mission, which is obviously extremely important to all of us. It was very difficult to stay secure and 80 percent of the government believes that digital business is moving and progressing far too quickly to properly adapt to the new processes and landscape changes.

In addition, the pandemic made cyber resiliency much more challenging. As you look at those numbers and the challenges the government is currently facing, that’s really where the VariQ acquisition and the commercial side of Capgemini’s cyber group come into play. That’s a major building block for increased efficiency, scalability and agility.”

ExecutiveGov: With zero-trust technology becoming a major focal point moving forward, what can you tell us about the difficulties of implementing zero-trust architectures and focusing on data security?

Sean DuGuay: “Zero-trust has very quickly become a popular buzzword.

Zero Trust is extremely important as stated in the Executive Order from January 2021. As more companies heard or reacted to the executive order, they began to offer zero-trust in-a-box offerings, but you can’t just package zero-trust into a box.

Every government agency is in a different situation in terms of its security and digital transformation efforts. ‘Zero-trust as an offering’ just means that these companies have a way to talk to their customers and understand their challenges to be compliant with the EO.

Working with multiple federal clients has revealed they have decades of technologies all combined with overlapping interdependencies, intertwined like a bowl of spaghetti. If you pull at one and try to fix it, you’ll impact another strand attached. Sometimes, zero-trust can be a thin thread and you need to be careful. Having strong subject matter experts who understand these challenges before they make recommendations is key to a solid offering.

The other issue with untangling all these strands of capability is that it all costs money, resources and time. There’s no such thing as plug-and-play for zero-trust. It doesn’t come in a box.”

ExecutiveGov: With CMMC and other compliance standards changing to push the best business practices for federal contractors and companies, what can you tell us about the challenges of maintaining those standards and making changes to your own policies to remain compliant?

Sean DuGuay: “Capgemini has some of the most impressive people I’ve ever seen who are getting us through the complexities of the CMMC processes, and we’re looking to be one of the first federal contractors to become CMMC certified.  We’ve completed all our internal audits and we’re scheduled for the certification audit this year.

At its core, CMMC is intended to determine the current maturity of an organization’s cybersecurity initiatives. The keyword is maturity, as most companies and government agencies have been reactive instead of proactive over the past few years.

That’s the great thing about our company. Capgemini brings everything together because our capabilities are solid and reliable. We are at the forefront of helping the federal government improve its cybersecurity posture and maintaining the required standards.”

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