Reston-based 1901 Group thrives with a platform that reduces costs and promotes migration to the cloud

Reston-based 1901 Group thrives with a platform that reduces costs and promotes migration to the cloud

The 1901 Group has always believed in doing things a little differently, even when it came to choosing its name when the company was founded in 2009.

Sonu Singh, founder and president of the Reston-based public sector IT company that delivers cloud, cybersecurity, and enterprise-scale managed hybrid cloud services, offers an explanation:

"1901 was the year that Ransom E. Olds came up with the manufacturing assembly line," he says. "We advocate assembly-line principles and apply them to IT."

Olds' assembly line leveraged skills and materials in an efficient manner within a disciplined and repeatable process that more than quadrupled automobile output. That, in turn helped him manage costs and create value.

Lowering costs for its customers has become a key differentiator for 1901 Group, which is growing thanks to its approach. Singh's theory is that his company saves customers enough money in site management to fund migration to the cloud, which, in turn provides superior levels of function and security.

"What makes us different from the competition is our business model," he says. "We're not a classic systems integrator that sells its labor hours. Instead, we leverage our operations center. What we've done is build a managed-services platform which we use to manage our customers' infrastructure and applications environments.

"It doesn't really matter where our people sit. They use a platform to command the infrastructure application environment for our clients."

The company's In³Sight managed-service platform enables 1901 to automate the monitoring, management and optimization of services, even in complex infrastructure environments for the federal government.
Last November, 1901 Group announced a $4 million commitment that would create 225 new jobs in Fairfax County to go along with 580 new jobs at its enterprise IT operations center in Montgomery County (Blacksburg), Va.

"1901 Group's revenue in the federal market has increased 30-fold in the last six years," Singh said.

And he expects the growth trend to continue.

"Over the next five to 10 years we see government changing its IT footprint more than it has in the last 30 years," Singh says. "We believe we're on the cusp of that. We believe that we're going to get more into machine learning and artificial intelligence. Some things can just be done better by machine.

"Over the next five to 10 years we see the government migrating all its mission applications to either a public or private cloud. To do this is going to have a tremendous positive impact on security and agility. It will lower the cost of operations and [result in] better performance for its constituents. We're well-positioned to take advantage of that trend."

As one of the state's fastest-growing companies, 1901 Group was named to "Virginia's Fantastic 50" by the Virginia Chamber of Commerce in 2016 and was dubbed a "Government Contractor to Watch" in a recent feature by the Washington Business Journal,  which pegged the company's anticipated 2010 revenues at $60 million.

Originally serving commercial customers, 1901 shifted its customer focus to federal clients including the Departments of Defense, Justice and Agriculture, the Small Business Administration, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

If the company faced any hurdle, it was convincing customers, in particular government agencies with sensitive information, that work could be safely and securely accomplished offsite. To that end, 1901's In³Sight platform has achieved certification from the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) for cloud security, as well as CMMI Level 3 Development & Services for capabilities and ISO for meeting uniform national standards.

Singh understands how important his Fairfax County base can be to company success. A Virginia Tech grad, he was a co-founder and president of Vienna-based Spectrum Solutions Group, a company that was sold to SRA International in 2005. While Virginia Tech provides a solid pipeline to 1901's center in Blacksburg, access to a skilled workforce in Northern Virginia is just as vital.

"Much of this growth can be attributed to operating in the Fairfax region, which has a strong technology focus and great access to talent," Singh says. "The education system here, both K through 12 and higher ed, produces a tremendous amount of talent, especially in the IT field, which we require in our company.

"One of the great things about being in Fairfax County and Reston, in specific, is that we're close to our clients and we have access to talent.

Singh observes that his company has been fortunate, not only to attract top employees with necessary skills and federal clearances, but retain them.

"We have about half the turnover of an average IT contractor," Singh estimates. "One reason is that we tend to take very good care of our employees through benefits, education and career opportunities."

But the lifestyle also suits his young workforce.

"There's a new Metro going in and that public transportation helps provide a great way of life for our employees," he says. "They like that there are all sorts of outdoor activities, plus restaurants and so forth. Our employees can go 'urban' or 'rural' all in the span of one hour."

 

1901 Group is headquartered at 2003 Edmund Halley Drive, Suite 102, Reston, VA 20191; 703-773-6240; www.1901group.com.