Maximus was already on a journey of transformation thanks to acquisitions and new contracts won, but this major change was accelerated only when the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020.
Through its work as a contact center operator and its various social service opportunities, the company has raised $ 1 billion in new work related to the pandemic response.
That growth helped Maximus lead six positions to number 19 in the 100 of the Washington Technology Top 100 for 2022 with $ 2.2 billion in commitments under major contracts.
Acquisitions are a key part of the company’s growth. Maximus made two quick consecutive ones in 2021: first paid $ 430 million for Attain’s federal business and then $ 1.4 billion for Veterans Evaluation Services Inc.
Attain brought Maximus a consulting approach to technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning. VES has added 6,000 medical professionals to Maximus’s workforce, which now numbers 37,000.
Maximus recently held an investor’s day to explain its strategy to shareholders, their first such presentation in 11 years, so CEO Bruce Casswell saw it was time to explain the strategic direction.
“The company is very different from 11 years ago,” Caswell told me.
One example, Caswell uses these changes for both the market and the company. Due to COVID, the states were flooded with unemployment claims. Federal funds have become available through the CARES Incentive Act to bring benefits and support to millions of people.
“States have gained the flexibility to use private sector partners to support certain elements of the administration of unemployment insurance,” Caswell said.
Thirty-four states applied and Maximus won 17 of these competitions.
Maximus sees long-term opportunities in them, as countries are unlikely to stop using private sector support for unemployment benefits. They also allow Maximus to develop deeper relationships with more customers, Caswell said.
A parallel from the federal side came from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The agency was quick to set up vaccine hotlines and needed systems to distribute tested children, said Maximus federal general manager Theresa Weipert.
In response, Maximus supported the hiring of 20,000 people for three weeks and introduced hotline management and distribution technology.
“We had to implement (robotic process automation) and artificial intelligence to react quickly and react on a large scale,” Vipert said.
Demands for a swift and effective response to national challenges will continue, she said.
“Through this pandemic, the federal government has realized that technology is driving things. That we can work in a hybrid environment and get things done, and that will continue, “Vipert said.
Maximus sees its knowledge of the customer as one of the company’s main strengths.
“Once you understand the mission and the processes they are using now, you can help modernize the environment for them,” Vipert said.
An area that plays into this power is the growing impetus to improve the customer experience that is the subject of a Executive order of the Biden administration, signed in December.
“One of the things driving this CX order is acknowledging that it’s a way to tackle inequalities,” Caswell said. “Health inequalities are a huge priority, and inequalities in general are a very high priority for the administration.
Caswell uses the example of applying for Medicaid benefits and the burden on citizens to provide documents and paperwork. People take on more weight if they work in multiple jobs and do not have access to fax machines, printers or scanners.
“When you change this user experience and give them the ability to take a picture of their canvas with a mobile phone and send it, it immediately connects to the case, which lowers the barriers,” Caswell said.
This has a significant impact on low-income and minority communities. Caswell said all people will expect to have a smooth experience with the government, not just those who are not served.
Technology is there to do more than that, but there are cultural issues that make it difficult for agencies to collaborate and share data. There are also regulatory and legal challenges.
But the pandemic also provides examples of how agencies can work together and reduce barriers when needed, Caswell said. Pressure for improved services for customers or citizens will put pressure to reduce these barriers.
“There is a real need for more flexibility in terms of regulators and the sharing of information and data between government agencies,” Caswell said.