May 11, 2022
MEET 1901 GROUP: James Christopher, President
“Customers will continue to invest in security solutions as well as migration to the cloud. Our approach to IT, cloud, and cyber runs counter to the more traditional ways by delivering outcome-based services, employing the talents collocated near universities, and creating a culture of innovation and agility.”
– James Christopher
What do you think gives 1901 Group the advantage in Cloud migration?
Our experience, our people, and the fact that we continue to innovate and invest in our platform. We solve tough challenges associated with our customers digital modernization efforts to include migrating complex mission workloads to the cloud, which goes far beyond re-hosting and re-platforming and involves the redesign, refactoring and redevelopment of legacy applications so that they operate within the cloud. We continue to invest in our standards, methods, tools, and techniques which we apply to cloud engagements, and we use a factory approach to the way we structure our teams, break down work, and infuse quality into our work products. Achieving scale in this manner includes heavy use of technology and automation, but also our ongoing collaboration between our business and technical resources in the way in which we identify, hire, train and retain our team members.
What industry trends do you see for Cloud over the next 5 years?
There needs to be an optimum balance between sustainment and innovation. We expect that one of the biggest trends will be the on-going migration and establishment of mission workloads within the cloud for customers who traditionally used the cloud for development, test, and non-mission system hosting. In addition, the expansion of multi-cloud or hybrid-cloud solutions across the enterprise will allow customers to optimize workloads based on cost, performance, and feature benefits of a particular cloud solution, and in some cases provide cross-cloud redundancies. Open source in the cloud will continue to gain momentum as customers tire of expensive proprietary solutions, rigid enterprise license agreements and vendor lock. There are also technology specific trends that will continue to gain traction such as low code, containerization, serverless, and micro services solutions. As the market appetite for cloud services increases, so will the comfort level for the consumption of remote managed services to operate and maintain customer environments. While we believe this to be inevitable, the COVID-19 pandemic has somewhat accelerated popular thought process in this regard, given the preference of many in the workforce to work remotely on a part or full-time basis.
What does “success” for the company look like to you?
1901 Group was founded with a vision of success based on transforming an industry and creating careers for people in areas with an affordable cost of living and a high quality of life. While we continue to strive towards these goals, I can say for certain that our vision has been realized. We are part of a major shift of the way in which IT services are procured and consumed by customers, and the shift to cloud has further fueled the appetite for remote managed operational services. What’s most rewarding is the ability to give back to our communities, to help grow a local economy, and to provide hundreds of people the opportunity to create a lasting and meaningful career in IT. Our ongoing success will be closely tied to our continued commitment to identify, nurture, support and retain top talent, by challenging them and providing the opportunity for rapid advancement. We place significant emphasis on our workforce development efforts and believe that our focus on automation, security and alternative delivery models is attractive to engineers and analysts who are interested in thinking about problem solving a different way, while delivering tangible, positive results for our customers.
How has your company vision evolved from Day 1 to Today?
The company has evolved but our vision remains the same. Our business began with a focus in the education, state, and local government markets. We pivoted in 2012 to focus more on the federal market, as we saw opportunities to achieve our vision and effect change on a broader scale. Since that time, we have invested in our platform, people, and our customers to scale our business and create leverage through process, technology, and collaboration, while remaining focused on the vision of transforming the way that people think about IT and the delivery of IT services. A critical element of our success to-date is staying true to our vision, as opposed to settling to become solely a labor hour-based IT services contractor.
What past experiences in your personal or professional career influenced you the most to be in the role you are today?
I spent over 15 years in federal IT contracting within the D.C. area prior to joining 1901 Group in 2012. I was very familiar with the business development and growth approach that most IT companies employed, and I had experience running sizeable organizations. While I was happy to have these great experiences and opportunities in industry, I became bored with the standard on-site labor-based delivery models and the “innovative” technical approaches that provided a narrative that supported a lower priced bid – but not a sound method to achieve savings and improve performance. I also become frustrated by the constraints present within the D.C. labor market and knew that we were close to a tipping point in the industry. It was refreshing to see how 1901 Group was the only company thinking about how to solve these complex problems at scale with a focus on hiring outside traditional markets – a culture that is decidedly different from traditional companies in the federal space. I am excited to have the opportunity to play a role in something so transformational
James Christopher is responsible for the company’s operations at work locations across 22 states, including three 24×7 Enterprise IT Operations Centers (EITOC) in Blacksburg, VA, Abingdon, VA, and Boise, ID. He is also responsible for 1901 Group’s research and development efforts and continued maturation of the In³Sight Platform, a FedRAMP authorized set of integrated tools that support the delivery of 1901 Group Managed Services. As President of 1901 Group, James leverages his 25+ years of industry experience as an engineer, manager, leader, and executive in both large and small companies to drive a culture of innovation and thought leadership.
In 2012, James began his journey at 1901 Group joining Founder Sonu Singh. Like Sonu, James grew up in Blacksburg, VA and both shared a vision for leveraging the untapped talent in rural areas across the country and developing a diverse skilled workforce through mentoring, training, and certifications and providing opportunities for rapid advancement and rewarding experiences across a diverse set of customers. James is a proud alumnus of Virginia Tech where he received a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering degree and is a lifelong Virginia resident.
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