Integrated Computer Solutions and Pluralsight

ICS + Pluralsight: Winning government contracts by demonstrating IT skill agility

“We don’t ask for experience. We give it.”

This line from a 1980s U.S. military recruitment commercial gets at the core of what’s great about working for Montgomery, Alabama-based Integrated Computer Solutions, Inc. (ICS).

And it’s pretty fitting, given its customer base.

With over 100 employees making up its decentralized, remote and subcontracted workforce, ICS provides secure data services to the federal government, as well as state and local municipalities and Fortune 1000 enterprises.

“In Montgomery, we’re the prime contractor responsible for keeping the largest medical information data center running, which is critical to providing the best care possible to active military personnel and veterans,” says Eric, Director of Service Delivery. “Among other efforts, we also support the Air Force supply chain infrastructure, which manages all goods put on the back of any kind of transport aircraft.”

ICS’ teams provide top-notch data, server and storage administration, and network and security services to meet today’s technology support needs – and they’re deeply committed to adding extra value to every project they work on.

“Key to our business model and meeting cost constraints with government contracts is the ability to bring people in and uplevel them into the skills we need. Yet, finding qualified personnel is a challenge that both the government and ICS faces,” says Toby, Performance Manager and Project Manager. “That makes our learning platform critically important. And Pluralsight delivers a lot of value in that area.”

“In fact, our robust learning platform is a key reason we won one of our big contracts,” adds Toby. “Using Pluralsight is how we keep our workforce up to date with evolving technology and the changing needs of our contracts.”

ICS at a glance

ESTABLISHED IN 1997

ICS PROVIDES A ROBUST PORTFOLIO OF TECHNOLOGY AND INFORMATION SECURITY SERVICES THAT COMBINE COMPREHENSIVE STRATEGY WITH CUTTING EDGE SECURITY.

100 EMPLOYEES

WITH OVER 100 EMPLOYEES ACROSS FIVE STATES, ICS USES A VIRTUAL TEAM CONCEPT ON ALL ENGAGEMENTS.

CLIENTS

ICS HAS AN ESTABLISHED TRACK RECORD OF PROVIDING ENTERPRISE TECHNOLOGY AND SECURITY SERVICES TO A WIDE RANGE OF FEDERAL, STATE, AND FORTUNE 1000 CLIENTS.

Finding–and keeping–talent in tight job market

And in a tight labor market like Montgomery, being able to upskill and reskill employees to fill project roles is important.

“Having Pluralsight provides an incentive in hiring and retention, encouraging those who may not have a solid foundation in a specific technology,” says Toby. “It gives them the confidence to evolve and adapt as needed based on their role in a project.”

“Having Pluralsight provides an incentive in hiring and retention, encouraging those who may not have a solid foundation in a specific technology,” says Toby. “It gives them the confidence to evolve and adapt as needed based on their role in a project.”

Pluralsight also allows ICS to support employees beyond their backyard. With a technology learning platform accessible anytime, anywhere, they can find and invest in a remote workforce.

“Requests for new technologies come in quickly in today’s ever-changing environment, like needing to support MongoDB, for example.” says Toby. “Pluralsight helps us train candidates across a distributed area, extending our reach with employees everywhere.”

Building expertise

“Here at ICS, we like people to learn. With Pluralsight, we built channels that help our teams move through technical skill levels, from beginning-, to intermediate- and senior-level knowledge and abilities –and we have robust analytics to help track their progress,” says Eric. “Being able to define and provide high quality training and not incur thousands of dollars of expense per person also enables us to do more. We’ve been able to keep people current on the DoD certifications required in cybersecurity.”

With Pluralsight, ICS employees understand what skills they need, have a path to gain them, and can track their learning journey from initiation to completion.

“Getting that credential helps all of us move our careers forward,” says Toby. “When I worked toward a project mangement certification, Pluralsight gave me the confidence to know I wouldn’t have pay for the $500 test twice.”

Not only do ICS employees gain confidence when they learn with Pluralsight, they also gain clarity in their strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for growth.

“Pluralsight has been really fantastic, introducing me to MongoDB and giving me the knowledge to set up my own cluster and shared database,” says Adeola, Senior Database Administrator. “Plus the skill assessment gave me insight to know where to focus to build on the foundation I already have. That’s important because in my role. It’s absolutely crucial to maintain data accurately to support missions all across the world.”

Inspiring a growth mindset

“There’s a direct correlation between our top performers and the people who use Pluralsight—those who are willing to take the initiative to learn,” says Toby.

Like Isaac, who works as a Network Specialist II and used Pluralsight to obtain his CompTIA Network+ certification. “Technology changes fast and there’s always something new to learn. Working for a company like ICS that’s willing to go out of their way to offer us Pluralsight really makes a difference,” he says. “And while platforms are great, it’s the people that really make the difference. Pluralsight has some top-notch authors that help build on my knowledge a step at a time.”

UNIX Systems Administrator Braxton moved his career forward with Pluralsight, too. “One of the reasons I stay at ICS is that they give us bonuses for training, which is a huge incentive to continue to progress and move up in the company,” he says. “Pluralsight trained me from the bottom up and I know it’s going to continue to be able to propel me into a senior role. There’s a tremendous amount of cloud building content, which is becoming the way we do business.”

Meeting new technology needs—fast

The ability to align Pluralsight content to their objectives and projects is key. It helps ICS meet the needs of their partners when they add new tools and applications to support.

“We have to have an understanding of what’s coming down the pipe, and appropriately plan and program for it,” says Eric. “With Pluralsight we have the toolset and long-term relationship to make that happen. Without it, we don’t have a winning strategy.”

It’s a strategy that also provides their customers with savings.

“Our network storage administration team recently reviewed storage needs with one customer, helping them save close to $600,000,” says Eric. “Pluralsight has been invaluable to ICS, helping us to grow our folks to deliver more value than our customer expected when they hired us.”

Duke, ICS’s milCloud Windows SME, agrees. “Pluralsight has helped us future-proof our learning, helping us learn the basics of AWS. We deliver a better service with Pluralsight, because we’re educated on the fundamentals and can articulate them to show our customers that we can deliver a more efficient process.”

Duke, ICS’s milCloud Windows SME, agrees. “Pluralsight has helped us future-proof our learning, helping us learn the basics of AWS. We deliver a better service with Pluralsight, because we’re educated on the fundamentals and can articulate them to show our customers that we can deliver a more efficient process.”

Moving forward with confidence

“I love that Pluralsight is an open playground for learning. You log in and everything you might want to know is right there at your fingertips,” says Toby.

Knowing that Pluralsight helps keep employees engaged while preparing the business to respond to the pace of technology change brings ICS leaders great peace of mind—something that’s hard to come by in the high stakes world of government IT.

CHALLENGE

ICS does more than provide IT support for government agencies. They’re passionate about staying ahead of the technology curve, training their teams to add value in every project. Finding and keeping the talent able to thrive within that challenge is a constant effort. That’s why a robust training platform is critical to their business strategy.

SOLUTION

ICS chose Pluralsight as its technology learning platform, and as part of its key strategy to recruit and retain talent in Montgomery, Alabama’s tight job market and amidst continually evolving technology environments.

RESULTS

  • Guided employees to progress in their careers with personalized learning journeys
  • Acquired the skill and ability to solve technical challenges creatively, such as the network storage administration team, which recently helped one customer save ~ $600,000
  • Delivered more business opportunity. Anytime access to a robust learning platform was key to ICS winning a large government contract in (year?)