The United States Department of Defense is traditionally a slow adopter of new technologies. Raytheon, one of the country’s largest defense contractors, traditionally prefers to build custom systems for its clients rather than buy them. However, both these narratives are changing thanks in part to the shifting nature of technological concerns and the incredible investment of technology vendors to build better products.
“If you look at just the internal research and development spend in the commercial community, companies in Silicon Valley are outspending the entirety of the Defense Department industrial base by factors of ten,” explained Todd Probert, Vice President of Mission Support and Modernization at Raytheon. “And we took a hard look a number of years ago to turn our make-versus-buy decision process upside down.”
Data is one of the big drivers of this new approach. DOD agencies, including the U.S. Armed Forces, are trying to connect lots of data from disparate sources in order to make intelligent decisions in real time, and doing so requires modern software platforms. By partnering with technology vendors that excel at what they do, Raytheon can spend its time and money delivering added value in areas where it specializes—areas such as securing that data and those systems, and deploying “high-consequence” software.
Its partnership with Pivotal is already paying off: The company was able to get a Pivotal Cloud Foundry architecture up and running for the U.S. Air Force in less than 150 days (“a pretty aggressive timeline” inside that agency, Probert said), which has been a gateway for even more agile processes and DevOps practices. As other groups, including the U.S. Navy, see those results they’re engaging with Raytheon to deliver similar transformations.
You can learn more about Raytheon’s efforts to modernize Defense Department software in the video above, featuring Probert and Pivotal’s Jeff Kelly, which was recorded on the Pivotal Stories stage at SpringOne Platform 2018.