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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6 Ways FITARA Could Make a Dramatic Impact on COTS Sales

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

On FridayUS Capital Building of last week, among all the furor around the FY15 “cromnibus” passing, another long-awaited bill passed; the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) made it through both the House and Senate as part of the FY15 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). All indications point to FITARA becoming law shortly.

Here are 6 ways FITARA could dramatically impact sales in the COTS community:

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Contract Consolidation: All You Need to Know, but Were Afraid to Ask

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

SomethingContract that we’ve all heard about over the last few years, and particularly in the last year or so, is a trend toward contract consolidation. Consolidation efforts aren’t targeted at IT only, but are being put into practice across the entire government. Acquisition personnel and business owners are pointing to duplicative contracts and inadequate procurement methods as a major driver of unnecessary government spending and inefficiency. The solution, we’ve been told, is consolidation of common requirements into larger contract vehicles, like multi-agency contracts (MACs) or government-wide acquisition contracts (GWACs); this would enable the government to buy smarter
and focus more on achieving mission needs. There are some data points that seem to indicate consolidation is in the works – more and more bids are being received for each MAC task order, for example, and we’re also seeing much more competition for small business set-asides.

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