Dark Wolf: accelerating security for USAF
As a small company whose biggest customers are the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community, Dark Wolf Solutions (Dark Wolf) is a triple-threat, specializing in Cybersecurity, Software and DevOps, and Management Solutions. Dark Wolf secures and tests cloud platforms, develops and deploys applications, and offers consultancy services performing system engineering, system integration, and mission support.
The break for Dark Wolf came when the Department of Defense decided to explore software factories. Rick Tossavainen, Dark Wolf’s CEO, thinks it was an inspired path for the DoD to take. “It was a really great decision,” he says, “Let’s pull our people together as part of this digital transformation and recreate what Silicon Valley startup firms typically have. Let’s get into commercial facilities where we have open windows and big whiteboards and just promote ideation and collaboration. And it creates this collaborative environment where people start creating things much more rapidly than before.”
It has been, Tossavainen says, “amazing to watch” and has energized the Federal Contracting Sector with an influx of new talent and improved working environments that foster creativity and innovative ways of approaching traditional problems.
“We originally started working with the US Air Force about three years ago. The problem was at the time you could develop all the software you wanted but you couldn’t get it into production – you had to go through the traditional assessment and authorization process. I talked to Lauren Knausenberger and she told me about Kessel Run and what eventually came out of this was the DoD’s first continuous ATO [Authority To Operate].”
The secret to Dark Wolf’s success – and its partnerships with USAF and Space Force – lies in a client-first attitude. “We’re not looking to maximise revenue,” Tossavainen explains. “We tell all of our employees, if you’re ever faced with an issue and you don’t know how to resolve it, and one solution is better for the customer and the second is better for Dark Wolf, you always do number one. We’ve just got to take care of our customers, and I look for other partners that want to do that. And let’s work together so that we can bring them the best answer we can.”
Rapid releases and constant evolution of software are common themes among USAF’s partners. Like many firms operating in the commercial and public sector spaces, Dark Wolf leads with a DevSecOps approach.
“Failure is tolerated,” says Tossavainen. “If it’s not going the right way in three months, let’s adjust. Let’s rapidly change course. And you can tell really quickly if something’s going to be successful or not, because they’re doing deployments multiple times a day – to the customer.”
Non-IT experts ‘to build majority of tech products by 2024’
80% of technology products and services will be built by non-technology professions by 2024, says research firm Gartner.
This is according to a new report from Gartner, which claims a new category of buyers outside the traditional IT organisation is now responsible for a growing share of the overall IT market.
“Digital business is treated as a team sport by CEOs and no longer the sole domain of the IT department,” said Rajesh Kandaswamy, distinguished research vice president at Gartner. “Growth in digital data, low-code development tools and artificial intelligence (AI)-assisted development are among the many factors that enable the democratistion of technology development beyond IT professionals.”
COVID-19 Accelerating Technology
Technology has started expanding into all areas of business, creating demand for products and services outside IT departments. In 2023, Gartner anticipates that US$30 billion in revenue will be generated by products and services that did not exist pre-pandemic. Gartner analysts said the rapid expansion of cloud services, digital business initiatives, and remote services opened the door for new possibilities in integrations and optimisation.
The research found that COVID-19 also reduced barriers for those outside of IT to create technology-based solutions by providing an entry point for anyone who was able to serve pandemic-induced needs. Gartner said technology providers are now finding themselves increasingly entering markets related to, or in competition with, nontechnology providers, including innovative firms in financial services and retail.
Gartner expects high-profile announcements of technology launches from nontech companies to proliferate over the next 12 months.
“The availability of business technologists provides new sources of innovation and the ability to get work done. Thus, technology and service providers will need to extend their sourcing of ideas and technology development into new communities, whether they are based on citizen development, their own customer communities or other sources,” said Kandaswamy