FY16 Priorities for IRS, DHA, and DOS

Chris Wiedemann_65 x 85by Chris Wiedemann, Senior Analyst

AlthoughFY16 Priorities for IRS, DHA, and DOS September is right around the corner (and most of us are preparing ourselves for a few white-knuckle weeks), it’s important to remember that we’re slightly under two months away from another important date: October 1, the first day of government’s 2016 fiscal year. In case you didn’t know, the government will likely begin the year under a continuing resolution (CR) (assuming there isn’t another shutdown). The twelve appropriations bills that would make up the FY16 budget are nowhere close to being passed into law. Moreover, given other priorities facing Congress along with the House’s lengthy August recess, it seems unlikely we’ll see any new funding levels to start the fiscal year. This means you should prepare yourselves for FY16 by referring back to your customers’ FY15 requirements and initiatives.

While it’s helpful to refer to FY15 budget levels when planning your sales efforts, having a solid grasp on the FY16 funding requests is still important because it shows your customers’ future priorities. Although the government might not start the year off with the flexibility new appropriations would give them, operating under CRs is par for the course for federal IT managers these days. They are still able to achieve their missions, and in many cases, carry out new initiatives in the face of funding constraints.

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3 Areas COTS Vendors Can Help the IRS Improve Its Cyber Posture

Chris Wiedemann_65 x 85by Chris Wiedemann, Senior Analyst

As you’ve3 Areas COTS Vendors Can Help the IRS Improve Their Cyber Posture probably heard, a recent cyber-attack on the IRS compromised personal information of more than 100,000 taxpayers via the Get Transcript app on irs.gov. What you may not have heard is according to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, a whopping 2.7 million taxpayers had their identities stolen last year. Combine that with low funding levels and it’s the perfect storm. The IRS can’t keep up with the rapidly-evolving hacker landscape and as a result, has a pressing need for data protection, fraud detection, and vulnerability testing – and very little money to pay it.

The good news (relatively speaking) is challenges like these are the breeding grounds for COTS opportunities. If you provide capabilities in these three areas, you should be targeting the IRS now, working your solutions into FY16 discussions:

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3 Key Takeaways from FY17 Submission Guidelines

Chris Wiedemann_65 x 85by Chris Wiedemann, Senior Analyst

If you’ve noticedOffice of Management and Budget program managers and office directors running around in a frenzy the past few weeks, know it was justified. The Office of Management and Budget just released their FY17 budget submission guidance, meaning program managers have to start the request process all over again. These are always trying times for the people calling the budgetary shots, since they’re faced with the difficult task of balancing current mission requirements, detailed business case justifications for next year’s budget, and estimating funding requirements for October 2016, all at once. At immixGroup, we preach the importance of getting your product baked into system requirements before they are written. The budget request process is the best time to do it.

Here are three key takeaways in the FY17 budget submission guidance that will be front of mind to IT program managers right now:

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NIST’s Immediate Need for an Enterprise Backup Software Solution

Chris Wiedemann_65 x 85by Chris Wiedemann, Senior Analyst

COTS vendors Row of network servers in data centerthat sell continuity of operations (COOP), disaster recovery, or enterprise backup software should get in touch with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the next few days. NIST’s Infrastructure Service Division at the National Center for Neuron Research is responsible for storing and sharing large quantities of mission-critical data, and they have a pressing need for enterprise-level backup capabilities. They’re looking to replace their current backup software with a new solution that will allow them to back up a virtualization platform, physical servers, and desktops, as well as network-attached appliances (in other words, the whole nine yards).

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Spending Increases at Commerce to Drum-Up Opportunity for COTS Vendors

Christopher Wiedemann_headshot-65 x 85by Chris Wiedemann, Senior Analyst

Although Learn More About the Department of Commercethe agency often flies under the radar, the Department of Commerce (DOC) has one of the largest IT budgets in the civilian space and we’re seeing it continue to increase.  Moreover, the department is seeing dramatic annual increases in its Development, Modernization, and Enhancement (DME) budgets, which is both rare and a great sign for the COTS community. Between complete overhauls of patent and trademark systems, building out infrastructures to support the 2020 Census, and even supercomputing to support weather prediction and analytics, the mission areas and opportunities for COTS vendors are broad and deep.

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Demystifying Exhibit 53: 5 Things Every COTS Vendor Should Know

What You Should Know

Christopher Wiedemann_headshot-65 x 85by Chris Wiedemann, Senior Analyst

The FY16 budget request is in and it brought a valuable piece of information for COTS vendors, the Exhibit 53.

In case you didn’t know, the Exhibit 53 is the single source for next year’s IT budget across government, broken down at the program level. Programs are where the rubber hits the road in federal IT, so knowing which programs your customers are focusing on for the rest of FY15 and into FY16 is not just a good idea, it’s critical to your success as a COTS salesperson in the federal market.

Obviously, the FY16 numbers in this document aren’t set in stone. They’re based on requested values, so there’s no guarantee agency IT budgets will reflect these numbers. However, knowing what your customers are prioritizing is still useful information and there are 5 major takeaways I’d like to share with you from this year’s Exhibit 53:

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3 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About DHS’s Full-year Funding Bill

Christopher Wiedemann_headshot-65 x 85by Chris Wiedemann, Senior Analyst

My colleague, Tomas O’KeefeDHS did a great job last Tuesday breaking down the major challenges and requirements facing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in the upcoming year, but there was one area he mentioned during his Webinar on DHS Sales Opportunities I want to explore more: the current status of FY15 funding for the department.

As Tom mentioned in the Webinar — as well as his recent blog post — DHS is the only department not currently operating under full year funding for FY15 – instead, the “cromnibus” bill that passed in December included a Continuing Resolution (CR), funding them at FY14 levels through February 27th. This means there’s still a possibility for DHS to run into a shutdown when short-term funding expires; however, there’s reason to hope it won’t come to that. The House already passed a full-year DHS funding bill on January 14th. It should be no secret that full-year funding bills can significantly impact COTS sales at any agency.

Let’s take a look at three highlights from the House’s DHS full-year funding bill:

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