Sonny Hashmi has joined software company Unqork as its head of public sector after roughly three years leading the General Services Administration’s acquisition arm. In his new role, Hashmi told FedScoop that he plans to continue what he’s been doing for the past 20 years: working to solve public sector problems with the right technology.
Hashmi, who departed as Federal Acquisition Service commissioner in December, said it’s clear technology will continue to have a “central role in how agencies think about modernizing not just their operations, but how they think about delivering services that their citizens expect.” His role at Unqork, he said, will “be that pursuit.”
Unqork describes itself as a “codeless platform” that’s designed to help organizations manage enterprise software. The company last year achieved Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) sign-off, allowing federal government agencies to use the company’s tool. Its first government customer was the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, which is using the platform to digitize its payroll processing, the company said in April.
In a written statement provided to FedScoop, Gary Hoberman, CEO and founder of Unqork said: “Sonny is a perfect example of a leader that has our customers’ best interests in mind, with a unique understanding of the full value that codeless architecture can unlock for public sector organizations in their digital transformation journeys.”
The new position is a return to the public sector for Hashmi, who was managing director of global government for Box, before leading FAS. Hashmi also served as chief information officer and chief technology officer at GSA between 2011 and 2015, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Hashmi said he felt it was the right time to leave knowing the organization was in good hands with acting Commissioner Tom Howder and has strong plans for fiscal year 2024.
As far as what’s next for federal acquisition, Hashmi stressed the importance of acquisition as a lever for public policy and embracing data in acquisition. Though people might view procurement as an old-school process filled with paperwork, he said “smart 21st century acquisition is a data problem — inherently a data problem.”
Hashmi, who noted he was not speaking for FAS, said he anticipates that in coming years there will continue to be a focus on “higher fidelity, higher quality transaction level data that is going to be part of this overall ecosystem. In fact, some of that work is already underway through the federal contracting initiative” that the Office of Management and Budget unveiled in November.
He also said he continues to be concerned about agencies having “a greater amount of technical debt” as they invest in more technology products and modern digital solutions.
“Every single product that an agency builds, every application that goes live, is now an application that has to be maintained,” Hashmi said. “A product that has to be maintained, secured, patched, upgraded, backup recovered, all these things add to the burden of agency CIOs that are already struggling with very limited resources.”
He said he believes “the next 10-year challenge” for government will be how to continue momentum with things like modernization, retiring legacy systems, and digital transformation, “while also finding ways to reduce the increasing amount of technical debt that every agency is now building.”
When asked about things he was most proud of at FAS, Hashmi listed the agency recently reaching $100 billion in business volume, restructuring the organization, and working with OMB to use the federal supply chain to “move the needle forward on many different aspects of society and things that we all care about.” He specifically pointed to creating opportunities for small businesses and improvements in sustainability — such as electric vehicles making up a quarter of those managed by FAS last year.
Hashmi also gave credit to former colleagues who he said have pushed the boundaries of what is possible for acquisition. “Nothing happens by an individual,” he said. “Everything happens as a team, and I was very fortunate to be part of one of the best teams in the federal government.”