Market Segmentation Pivotal to Navigating the SLED Market

Compass_RERachel Eckertby Rachel Eckert, Senior Analyst

Navigating the SLED market at times can be like embarking on a journey through 50 individual fiefdoms — and moving from state to state sometimes requires a translator. Each state likes to use their own nomenclature and naming conventions; the Department of Health in one state is Department of Public Health in another or Department of Healthcare & Family Services in yet another.

While each state has its own dialect, identifying a shared language can make it easier to find opportunities, leverage successes, and grow your business in the SLED market. Fortunately, there is a common language: Market Segmentation. Standardized market segments allow us to draw comparisons, see trends across states, and make smarter decisions by focusing on specific government functions that exist regardless of the state.
Through this segmentation, success in one state will translate to success in
neighboring states for a targeted campaign. Read more of this post

SOCOM’s New Office to Become Lead on Sourcing Mobility and Cloud Solutions

SOCOM_MWMark Wisingerby Mark Wisinger, Analyst

Recent changes at SOCOM (Special Operations Command) reflect the organization’s increasing need for mobility and cloud solutions. In case you didn’t know, SOCOM’s acquisition structure is similar to that of the Service branches: the Program Executive Offices (PEOs) are responsible for IT procurement and program management. SOCOM’s PEO C4 handles acquisition for IT products through its program portfolio.

At the 2015 Special Operations Forces Industry Conference, SOCOM unveiled a new division office under PEO C4 called, Next Generation Infrastructure. This new office is responsible for identifying cutting-edge commercial off-the-shelf solutions for networking, in the areas of network security and storage. This includes technologies such as mobility, mobility networking, identity management, and the cloud. SOCOM has always prioritized infrastructure and telecommunications as the cornerstone to maintaining connectivity with warfighters in the field. Read more of this post

FY16 Budget Forecast

US Flag, Capitol Building and MoneyThe Senate and the House passed a Continuing Resolution (CR) today, which the President can sign by midnight to fund government at FY15 levels through December 11.  What happens after the December 11 deadline is up in the air, but we’ll either see more CRs for the rest of the year, or an omnibus (like what we had in FY15).

First, let’s cover some budget scenarios:

  • Full Budget
    12 appropriations bills passed by the House and Senate and signed by the President by October 1 appropriating funds to each of the government agencies. These appropriations bills combine for over 20,000 pages of text and provide significant clarity from Congress on how money should be spentThis hasn’t happened since 2008.
  • Omnibus
     Twelve appropriations bills are consolidated into 1.  Agencies do receive new funding levels for the year and new programs can start, but the bill is significantly shorter (roughly 2,000 pages, compared to the 20,000 pages of the full budget) and lacks the direction from Congress on how the money should be spent.  FY15 ended on an omnibus.
  • CROmnibus
    A combination of a CR and an omnibus – funding some agencies at new levels for the fiscal year, while other agencies are dependent upon prior year spending levels.
  • Continuing Resolution (CR)
    Appropriations bills were not passed and new budget levels cannot be agreed upon in Congress.  A CR is a stopgap measure allowing the government to remain open and funded, but at the prior year’s spending levels, and no new programs can be started.
  • Shutdown
    Congress can’t agree on any aspect of funding, and all non-essential governmental functions are suspended until a budget can be reached.

Read more of this post

3 Questions Every COTS Vendor Should Ask in Preparation for FY16

End of FY15_CWChris Wiedemann_65 x 85by Chris Wiedemann, Senior Analyst

It’s the last couple days of the 2015 government fiscal year, which to most of us means only one thing: closing year-end business. Selling COTS products to the government can get pretty hectic around this time of year, so you’d be forgiven for overlooking a salient and somewhat worrying fact: we still have no agency funding for FY16.

With exactly 2 days left of FY15 (and counting) the only existing Continuing Resolution (CR) flat lined in the Senate, although Congress does appear poised to pass a clean CR which has a good chance of making it to the President’s desk. Still, they are dealing with a very tight deadline and we might be in for another brief government shutdown before Congress can put a short-term CR in place.

The good news is, we’ve been here before. The beginning of FY14 became famous for its 16-day government shutdown. While it was painful for both the government and its industry partners, COTS manufacturers made a rebound, showing strong results at the end of the fiscal year. In the event of another shutdown, the best advice we can give to the COTS community is “hold tight.” While having most of your customers furloughed to begin a fiscal year isn’t ideal — and the impacts of a shutdown on the larger economy are significant COTS vendors will likely emerge more or less unscathed. All that being said, there are still important questions that need to be answered and issues that need to be addressed as we enter FY16’s uncertain beginning. Read more of this post

New Funding Tied to Obama’s Smart Cities Initiative

SmartCity_TOTom O'Keefeby Tomas O’Keefe, Consultant

On September 14th, President Obama announced his Smart Cities initiative that would dedicate over $160M in federal research and development funding to technology solutions designed to help communities “reduce traffic congestion, fight crime, foster economic growth, manage the effects of a changing climate, and improve delivery of city services.”

Most of this money will fund projects at the federal level, which will then trickle down to state, local, and education municipalities. Technology companies can piggyback on these projects by identifying states and localities primed for newer technology innovations. Read more of this post

30-day Cybersecurity Sprint is History – What Now? Part II

Steve Headshot 65 x 85Cybersprintby Steve Charles, Co-founder

Last week I went over FY16 spending priorities tied to the federal government’s renewed focus on cybersecurity. I mentioned while the amount available might be less than the amount in the Obama administration’s initial request, the 2016 budget request for cybersecurity is still a vital document to map fulfillment of those priorities to existing, authorized spending lines. I also want to remind you the month of October is not only the start of the new fiscal year, but is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month.

In my last post I also showed you OPM’s top 5 cybersecurity priorities. I think you’ll find them closely aligned with the eight priorities the White House spelled out when it launched its 30-day Sprint. Read more of this post

3 Procurement Hotspots in DOD’s FY16 IT Budget Request

Hotspot DOD_LMLloyd McCoy Lloyd McCoy Jr., Consultant

The FY16 base DOD budget request of $534 billion represents a $38 billion increase over last year’s budget. When combined with overseas contingency spending, it is a notable 4% increase. While the 4% increase is certainly good news for the COTS community, take into consideration that FY16 will be the first budget year — in two years — susceptible to budgetary caps. In fact, to avoid sequestration (mandatory cuts triggered by spending exceeding the caps), DOD’s budget would have to be approximately $499 billion. Expect a Continuing Resolution (at least through December) until Congress can agree on a budget plan.

As the DOD struggles to offset fiscal limitations, IT will be seen as a game changer reflected by the Department’s investment in three core areas: Cybersecurity, Information Availability, and Operational Visibility. Read more of this post


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