by Chris Wiedemann, Senior Analyst
It took sixteen days, dozens of press conferences, hundreds of breathless tweets, and their record-low approval rating dropping even lower, but Congress finally passed a Continuing Resolution (CR) providing FY14 funding…for the next three months. While it means we’re going to have to repeat this process again (hopefully without all the theatrics), it also means that we can finally start talking about FY14 priorities and target areas for IT spending. With that in mind, here are three things you should know about for the rest of this fiscal year:
1. CRs are the new normal
Although it is possible that the Supercommittee 2.0 will come to a deal and put out a real budget in December, the current political climate suggests that more CRs are the likelier outcome. With that in mind, there are some things to be aware of. First of all, five nondefense agencies – DHS, USDA, DOJ, NASA, and DOC – got new appropriations in last year’s CR, which means they’re dealing with FY13 numbers until January 15. The rest of the nondefense government did not, and so their appropriations are now tracking back to FY12. However, if you look through this year’s Exhibit 53 you’ll see that FY13 actuals don’t match up neatly with FY12 totals, which is because all agencies have at least some ability to move money around to meet new priorities (some more than others). What’s really important here is the budget justifications, which also roll over in a CR. Although agencies are still going to focus on their FY14 developmental goals, they’re going to have to use the language from their last real appropriation to justify their new purchases, and for most of the civilian government that means going back two years. You can really help your customers here by identifying those old needs and working with them to fit their current requirements into old language.
2. Big data in a big way
We’ve had a full year under the Digital Government Strategy, and federal big data requirements are starting to catch up. We’re predicting a lot of spending on data-related technologies this year, particularly in the areas of natural disaster preparedness and information sharing – basically, ways for the government to harness the data that it has and spread it to the people who need to have it faster. Analytics and other big data tools are going to have success if they can track back to the need to better share information. This is also an opportunity-rich environment for things like application integration, data integration, and middleware – one of the biggest roadblocks to federal information sharing is just getting systems to talk across (or even within) environments.
3. Security, security, security
The other major focus area for this year is going to be cyber security, which if anything has become even more important as the government handles more and more PII and other sensitive information every day. The priorities here are always around national security (expect NPPD to be a big player) as well as protecting the nation’s critical infrastructure (you can learn more by checking out our cyber briefing from July). There’s some good news for vendors here: we’re hearing that cyber budgets are actually likely to grow this year and moving forward, unlike other areas which are staying flat at best. Look at agencies responsible for protecting critical infrastructure, especially DHS, to be big buyers of cyber security technologies this year.
To learn about additional IT product opportunities within the FY14 civilian budget view our recent on-demand Webinar.