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Alan Avakian: leading Aerojet Rocketdyne’s digital evolution

Alan Avakian, Senior Director of IT at Aerojet Rocketdyne details his experience leading digital transformation at the company.

Alan Avakian
Aerojet Rocketdyne

Senior Director of IT

With 20 years’ experience within information technology, Alan Avakian, Senior Director of IT at Aerojet Rocketdyne, has spent most of his career in the aerospace and defense industry. 

“I started out as an application developer, working in technologies ranging from the mainframe to client/server and web. Other technical roles I have had include database administration and project management,” says Avakian, who describes Aerojet Rocketdyne as “an innovative world-class developer and manufacturer of advanced propulsion and energetics systems for customers including the US Department of Defense, NASA and other agencies and companies, both in the United States and abroad.” 

When it comes to innovative evolution, Avakian has seen the company “pivot from a traditional IT architecture which relies heavily on on-premise infrastructure to a hybrid architecture.” In particular, Avakian highlights the company’s adoption of cloud technology, microservices and robotic process automation (RPA). “Over the last couple of years we have transitioned our Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) system from an on-premise solution to a cloud provider. Our data is housed in a FedRAMP data centre with around-the-clock support.” In addition to the cloud, the company has begun conducting an RPA proof-of-concept with its Finance department. “This will reduce costs, eliminate input errors, speed up business processes, and will be integrated with applications. Our hope is to expand the program once we have proven out the technology and business model.”

At an operational level, Aerojet Rocketdyne has been developing a business relationship management team, as well as a healthy transition towards a balanced outsourcing and in-house operations approach. “We started with realigning some of our existing talent as well as recruiting new people with a background in IT and business liaison skills,” comments Avakian, who has seen huge benefits from establishing the team. “Our customers love the fact that they have an IT representative that is aligned to them.” 

When it comes to balancing its outsourcing and in-house operations, Avakian highlights that “it’s a challenging opportunity, our approach is to look at the IT area and then assess which approach or combination best meets our requirements.”

With these developments, Avakian has seen “the ability of the company’s IT systems to grow with the business, enabling faster turnaround of key enhancements which were not achievable before without significant investment in time and money.” Reflecting on the company, Avakian sees the company’s biggest strength being its people and drive towards innovation in everything that it does, particularly having seen the company expand its presence to drive innovation.

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“Our customers love the fact that they have an IT representative that is aligned to them"

Alan Avakian | Senior Director of IT , Aerojet Rocketdyne

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