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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Federal Cloud in FY15: Old Roadblocks, 3 New Opportunities

Photo of Chris Wiedemannby Chris Wiedemann, Senior Analyst

The Government Accountability Office Here is A Snapshot of Cloud in FY15(GAO) recently released a report tracking the progress of seven agencies’ in achieving their cloud computing implementation goals; unfortunately parts of it made for quite a nostalgic reading. The report profiled seven agencies – including HHS, Treasury, and USDA – and noted while each of these agencies increased their cloud spending between FY12 and FY14, the grand total of agency-reported cloud investments was only $529 million (averaging 2% of evaluated IT budgets). In other words, despite the 25 Point Plan instituting a Cloud First policy in 2011, federal agencies appear to have made very little progress in meeting their cloud goals; some reasons cited for slow adoption sound awfully familiar as well – with security concerns and cultural resistance to cloud computing coming up yet again.

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Lower Budget Doesn’t Mean Less Opportunity at HHS

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

Last week, we talked about looking forward to FY15 and beginning to make some strategic decisions about sales targets at your agencies. Well, if you sell to HHS and you followed that advice, you may have noticed something a little concerning – namely, the department’s requested IT budget of $8.6 billion is significantly down from their FY14 enacted level of $9.6 billion. At first glance, it looks like the department may be getting squeezed in the aftermath of the Affordable Care Act rollout, and a lower budget almost always looks like bad news to industry. If HHS is a customer, you’re probably asking yourself how much the projected budget decrease will affect your total addressable market.

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Continuing Resolution On The Horizon for FY15

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

FY14 is quickly coming to a close, and vendors and customers are both scrambling to get the ball rolling on September deals. With all that’s slated to happen in the next few months, and some industry analysts predicting a record-setting Q4 this year, it can be tempting to write off FY15 until October in favor of focusing all your attention on last-minute FY14 sales opportunities. However, it’s always important to keep the big picture in mind. If you don’t spare some thought for the beginning of next fiscal year, especially what the overall appropriations situation looks like, you run the risk of getting left out – or at least failing to properly plan for the first half of the year, when you should be targeting enterprise sales opportunities.

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The $6B Health IT Market: Exploring Opportunities Beyond EHRs

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

Health IT in the federal government represents a $6 billion market.

Let that number sink in. It may seem high, but recent guidance from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) indicate that “health IT” as a concept means much more than just EHRs. According to the report, there are three broad categories of health IT:

  • Administrative health IT functions: This includes billing and claims processing, practice and inventory management, and scheduling.
  • Health management IT functions: This category includes health information and data exchange, data capture and encounter documentation, electronic access to clinical results, clinical decision support, knowledge management, and patient identification.
  • Medical device health IT functions: Examples include computer aided detection/diagnostic software, radiation treatment planning, and robotic surgical planning and control software – in other words, devices actively used in medical treatments.

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IRS Security Weaknesses Mean COTS Opportunities

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

Tax day is tomorrow, but the IRS may have more to worry about than an explosion of last-minute returns: This Tuesday, Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report identifying the agency’s internal control over financial reporting systems a “significant weakness.” This marks the second year running that the office has commented on material weaknesses in the IRS security posture, and while some progress has been made, there are still three critical areas where COTS vendors could help secure taxpayer data. Specifically, the GAO has called out weaknesses in:

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Every COTS Sale Cleared at the Very Top?

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

To many, department-level CIOs are a little bit like the Wizard of Oz – a man in a castle far away, making pronouncements from behind the curtain while the rest of us just keep our eyes on the yellow brick road. But what if every COTS sale had to be cleared at the very top? After some recent developments in the House, it just might happen. Remember the Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA)? The bill just passed again on a voice vote last Tuesday. A companion measure, called the Federal Information Technology Savings, Accountability, and Transparency Act (FITSAT), is awaiting a hearing in the Senate.

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