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‘Customers Come To Us For a Different Perspective’: Isobar’s Yancey Hall on Bringing Commercial Practices to GovCon

'Customers Come To Us For a Different Perspective': Isobar's Yancey Hall on Bringing Commercial Practices to GovCon
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Yancy Hall, Isobar

For more than two decades, digital services company Isobar has produced transformational digital software for many of the world’s top brands. Although it is known for its commercial endeavours, Isobar’s work in the public sector has also achieved similar pioneering results.

As the Chief Growth Officer for the Isobar Public Sector, Yancey Hall focuses on bringing the company’s many business assets and digital modernization practices to help the government improve the experiences of citizens, employees, and veterans.

“In the world of GovCon, many companies are focused on technology,” Hall said. “We take an experience-based approach to digital transformation, orienting programs around the customer or user experience as our guiding principle, be it citizen, government employee or warrior.”

As part of the dentsu network of integrated agencies, Isobar offers comprehensive capabilities to support the digital transformation of the public sector, such as experience design, data modernization, secure cloud solutions, application and platform development, along with a skilled team focused on government mission outcomes.

The company uses a data-driven approach that includes experience and operational data to understand customer behavior and improve the ways users interact and adopt digital technologies.

“I think it’s no secret that experience design, technology, and the Internet are critical enablers for nearly every agency,” Hall said. “But for the update programs to continue, we found that there is a fundamental third pillar around the adoption that is needed. You can build the best and most advanced systems, but that doesn’t guarantee that people will use them.”

As part of the adoption bid, Hall said, “We focus very much on change management, digital marketing, branding, and content to engage end users.” “We don’t just build systems for building systems. This is all about creating measurable change.”

The company also applies innovation and systems thinking to help federal agencies reduce and improve their technology footprint.

These days, Hall said, agencies are overwhelmed with technology, data, and information. Rather than upgrading individual solutions one by one, Isobar encourages the use of emerging technology and new methods to help agencies improve and rationalize their existing portfolio, saving time and resources.

“Customers come to us for a different perspective, for the thinking of our next generation,” Hall said. “Take the user experience for example. Most customers still think of the interface in terms of mouse and keyboard, where they really need to think about optimizing their applications for voice. This requires a different way of approaching government issues.”

Isobar uses these methods to help the Air Force and Army modernize many of their major systems and programs. In addition to building mission applications for the fighter, Isobar also offers leading capabilities including predictive maintenance, mobile computing, cloud computing, and even some augmented and virtual reality applications.

Hall sees great potential for expanding such services to other civilian defense clients and agencies. His strategy is to build on the company’s successes thus far to build that story.

“Our ambition is to do a lot of the work we’ve done with the Air Force, as well as in the commercial sector, and apply best practices to the tasks facing many civilian agencies,” he said.

These agencies need help “not just in modernizing their systems, but in understanding how they can better interact with citizens and with their employees,” Hall said. “That’s what we’re talking about with potential clients, especially with the last executive order on customer experience.”

In addition to speaking directly to his federated prospects, Hall is also dedicated to engaging with the broader GovCon community, where shared experiences often equate to business opportunities.

“Being active in the industry is paramount: being at the right events, and being at the right panels to share our story and learn from others,” he said. “It’s a powerful tool that we use to get out in front of the government sector.”

Hall is also looking to partner with other GovCons who may have free experience.

“We are always interested in finding the right partners to help solve problems,” he said. “We are looking for talented companies and individuals who might fill a particular niche. We also have a codified small business strategy that enables us to work somewhat as a team with our small business partners.”

In fact, Isobar recently created an incubator program specifically to bring together small minority-owned businesses looking to play in the federal space.

In terms of hiring and retention, Isobar recognizes the pressures on today’s workforce and the need to give its employees the flexibility to work from home.

“We’re not forcing them back into the office, and we’re definitely moving more toward a virtual workforce,” Hall said. “The pandemic has imposed new expectations regarding what employees want.”

On a personal level, Hall said, nearly two decades in the public sector have been particularly involved, given the breadth and complexity of challenges that government typically faces.

“In the public sector,” he said, “the problems they help solve are wide-ranging.” “For me, that’s what makes it really exciting. How do you serve citizens? This is always an interesting challenge.”

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