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An Inside Look at Bridging the Treacherous Gap

This week Liz Grauel, Product Marketing Manager at Tangram Flex, shares a recent conversation with Tangram’s CEO Rick Peters about the way the company is working to solve critical problems in the Defense industry. Rick is a former civilian leader in the US Air Force, and Liz brings a decade of commercial software product leadership to her role at Tangram. Both Rick and Liz have been with Tangram since the it’s early days and meet frequently to discuss the company’s growth and impact in the domains it serves.

It’s a challenge the Defense industry is intimately familiar with: Today’s missions deserve every technology advantage available and this is largely dependent on software. Our warfighters need access to advanced, safe, powerful capabilities at the speed of relevance. The way we have built and maintained critical systems have created gaps in handoffs between design, development, and fielding. In the 19th and 20th centuries we learned to be mindful of those gaps within our mechanical systems, but over the past few decades we’ve gained a lot more power and uncertainty with the expanded reliance on software.

“To say that there’s this gap between design and fielding that did not exist before is inaccurate- the gap has always existed. However, today you have to deal with software to safely navigate the gap. And that makes it a little more treacherous than it was in the past, so we’re calling it the treacherous gap,” Rick shares in our recent coffee catch up.

This is the way many of our conversations have started over the past year, but there’s more to how we think of the treacherous gap at Tangram. “We talk a lot about the treacherous gap at the office, and we know that everyone is aware of it even if they don’t use our words to describe it. What we are really focused on at Tangram is how to guide people to feel more empowered to manage the growth in software: ‘you have the power to do this, you know you can do it now- let’s make it a little less difficult and remove the barriers for you.’ Is that how you see it?” I ask Rick.

“That’s it! Just put the tools in place that allow it to happen so that you have confidence in the integration and the way you do it,” Rick says, referring to our product, Tangram Pro™. “ We know there’s a gap, we know it’s more treacherous than before because of software. There’s this thing in the back of your mind telling you to mind the gap — why not provide automated tools to help everyone navigate the gap with confidence? That’s what Tangram does — we help you navigate the gap.

Platform (and People) as a Service

As an early team member at Tangram Flex I’ve had a front row seat to the growth of our team and maturing of our technology. Part of my professional life since day one has been spent nurturing a full-fledged solution that provides our industry with agency and access to highly sophisticated and specialized knowledge and tools. It’s not just about building the perfect product though.

“The platform that we’re building enables component software integration,” says Rick. “Our magic is really around flexibility. It’s not just the platform, it is the team that we have assembled that understands all of this and helps to do component software integration. We use Tangram Pro™ and our team to provide solutions that meet our customers’ complex needs.”

At the heart of what Rick and I chatted about in between meetings on this Wednesday was how we see our company’s role in the world. We are categorized as a product company, but more than that we strive to be change agents. Rick and I frequently talk about the difference between providing a one-time service that solves a problem episodically, which is acceptable but not what we’re looking to do here. We are building persistent solutions through partnering with our customers to build a strategy for solving a problem and continuing to solve it in the future on their own. “I think that the reason we put ourselves in this category is because of the capability that we have in Tangram Pro™ and what’s under the hood,” says Rick.

Values in Action

Our team at Tangram has two key values: to put the team first and hold to accountability. When we talk about our team, we talk about trust — with one another at work and with our customers, who we consider partners. We strive to be accountable to each other and to our partners, and that means working together, learning as much as we can to build rich and full knowledge, and sharing what we know to make sure we get where we want to go. These values are important to us and imperative to how we serve our customers.

“If you’re an Agility Prime contractor, you are still going to require military capability on your system. Today, you’re flying eVTOL aircraft and thinking about air mobility. You have the critical flight safety systems well in hand. But there are mission critical things that the Air Force will want to add. How does that integrate with software that you have today, and how long does it take to do that? Does it take 2 years? If so, that’s unacceptable.”

“Tangram is happy to go along with you hand in hand to build and integrate mission capabilities, to give the Department of Defense the confidence that you can help them accomplish their mission,” Rick goes on. “Tangram has the expertise to do just that — we can partner with you. Initially, it’s you and us together as partners to figure it out. If there are features you want that are not included, we are happy to work with you to build them out. We want to work with you, hear from you, and understand where you are stuck. We always work in a partnership — we do things with you while we both learn. Our goal is to be on your team and demonstrate and show you- if you are able to do it on your own in the end, we have succeeded. We want to really change the way that the Air Force and the DoD acquires systems.

Bridging the Gap Together

We live in an amazingly innovative period of human history. Thanks to the scientists, engineers, and developers of the past, many companies and organizations today have the foundation to design, invent, and repurpose technologies in ways we have yet to even imagine. We are capable of overcoming the challenges of the treacherous gap when we work together and have the proper tools. Our mission at Tangram Flex is more than lip service and is central to how we work, what we build, and how we engage with the world. You can meet today’s demands and ensure that warfighters have an advantage against our adversaries– and Tangram is here to share knowledge and tools that help you do that.

Tangram Flex simplifies software integration for mission-critical defense systems. Every system is unique, but the mission is clear: the people on the ground need dependable, adaptable equipment to get the job done. At Tangram Flex, we understand the challenges of security, speed, and safety. Our team combines engineering expertise with our Component Software Integration Platform (CSIP), Tangram Pro™, to arm engineers with customized toolkits for meeting mission needs.

Tangram Flex is headquartered in Dayton, Ohio. Our staff has experience from DoD, Fortune 500 companies, and innovative software startups. We are dedicated to walking alongside our customers to keep pace with changes in technology. Get in touch: