SAIC CIO Nathan Rogers on moving past the office-centric mentality

Jul 27, 2022
IT Leadership

The Fortune 500 provider of government services and information technology is leaning into its hybrid work future.

nathan rogers of saic headshot 1200x800
Credit: SAIC

When the pandemic hit, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), like most companies, went from an everyone in the office company to an everyone remote company overnight.

In the intervening years, the company has embraced the opportunity to rethink its culture, putting flexibility, well-being, and inclusion at the core, says Nathan Rogers, SVP of Infrastructure Enablement and CIO at the Fortune 500 provider of government services and information technology. It’s the flexibility piece that he says “really struck a chord with our employees.”

At CIO’s recent Future of Work Summit, Rogers sat down with CIO contributor Maryfran Johnson to discuss how SAIC is leaning into its hybrid workplace future. What follows are edited excerpts of that conversation. For more of Rogers’ insights, watch the full session embedded here:

On introducing flexibility:

One of the great lessons we have had is we have really taken on embracing flexibility, well-being, and inclusion the last 2 years. And that flexibility part I think is the one that has really struck a chord with our employees because we have not only said the location can be flexible—in this hybrid environment going forward—but also time can be flexible.

So we have introduced things like 9/80 where you can work a 5-day work week and a 4‑day week where you can get every other Friday off. Or 4 10s, where you can work Monday through Thursday and get every Friday off.

And also we are thinking about … the well-being of employees. I have to walk the dog and I have to take my kids to school. So having the flexibility during the day, in a hybrid situation where I can have my well-being of my family, but also succeed in my mission is critical. And really creating that balance.

On SAIC’s Future of Work program:

In May of ’20, we kicked off a Future of Work program…. It was really an amazing collaboration between technology, facilities, HR, finance, the lines of business. And it became very much a program just like any program you would run, with deliverables and due dates and milestones—all the typical things.

From a cultural standpoint, one of the outcomes was this idea of having this flexibility, well-being, and inclusion be a major part of our culture. But really, that program I think is driving our culture forward, besides the capabilities we put in place to enable it.

We have renovated a couple of the floors [in our headquarters]—it started off as a pilot and it is starting to gain steam. It is around creating a hybrid environment for our employees. We have gone from what was really a 1-to-1 ratio, whether there was an office or a cubicle, [to] really building out this open, collaborative space. And we are trying a lot of different formats too, whether it is high tables or a conference room or couches.

We are going to kind of do a heat map and see how the space is used. And the areas that are really hot and get a lot of usage, we will try to replicate across the portfolio. In areas that are cold, where no one is using them, maybe that is not the right kind of space—at least for that location.

On optimizing the employee experience for scale:

We always had our employees all around the country. But we still have this office-centric mentality. And now that we have kind of released that, we are able to scale much better.

One of the things we are doing right now is a cloud transformation. So, 3 years ago, 100% on-prem, we’ve been moving to the cloud. We moved HR to the cloud, CRM to the cloud, our financial planning analysis, all that to SaaS production. And then we are also working on looking at our data center and moving that to the cloud. And the idea being that our infrastructure will be more productive. It will be more scalable, more elastic. We will unleash the power of data. All those great things.

That is the same analogy for the employee, right? We had employees getting in their car, driving to work, going to a cubicle, working heads down. When they had a meeting, they opened up a conference call. We have kind of unleashed their power by making them more productive, more scalable, more elastic, by not having to be in the same location every day.