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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DHS’s New Years Resolution: A Budget

Tomas OKeefe_65x85Tomas O’Keefe, Consultant, Market Intelligence

NewYear1When Congress voted last year to give appropriations to federal agencies, there was one glaring omission: the Department of Homeland Security. Due to furor over executive actions on immigration taken by President Obama, Congress passed a Continuing Resolution for DHS until the end of February, so expect conversations on the Hill to be geared toward how to fund the Department while attempting to address the President’s executive action; this could affect two departmental components in particular, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
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The New Normal for Federal IT Spending?

Tomas OKeefe_65x85by Tomas O’Keefe, Senior Analyst

For the past few years we’ve been saying we’re in the dawn of a new budget environment — where the days of significant year-over-year growth for IT spending are over. At the TechAmerica Vision Conference, which wrapped-up yesterday, speakers referenced conversations they had with top government IT leaders, confirming flat and declining budgets are the “new normal” in government. Most notably, the days of 7% overall IT budget growth are done.

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Opportunities on the Horizon within DISA Part 1

Lloyd McCoy_65x85by Lloyd McCoy Jr., Consultant

This week DISA’s Director of Strategic Planning and Information, Tony Montemarano, met with industry partners to give an update on DISA’s major initiatives in the pipeline. As I pointed out in a Webinar earlier this year, DISA is at the heart of major enterprise wide initiatives for DOD; in addition to legacy roles like command and control, hosting, and telecommunications, newer initiatives like DOD Enterprise Portal Service, Defense Enterprise Mobility (classified and unclassified), Enterprise Directory Services, Unified Communications, and Global Network Services provide a wealth of opportunities for COTS vendors. Today I’ll be diving into Mr. Montemarano’s update on how DISA is faring in this fiscal environment and what the agency is doing in the areas of cloud procurement.

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The Government’s Buying Season is Over…Now What?

Photo of Allan RubinAs we turned the corner on a new government fiscal year, the editors of FedPulse asked me to share some thoughts on what technology companies will face in the year ahead — and how they should prepare.

This led me to a few questions. What happens next? Will a busy September (actually, a couple of very strong months for many of us) lead to continued strength in the year ahead? Or should we expect an immediate drop-off now that the September rush has passed?

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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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FY15 Defense IT Budget Forecast: Cloudy with No Chance of Sequestration

Lloyd McCoy_65x85by Lloyd McCoy Jr., Consultant

The FY15 base DOD budget request came in at $495.6 billion, (about even with FY14) but more importantly, it’s under OMB’s budgetary caps, meaning sequestration isn’t in the cards for this year. Diving into the DOD IT budget, we see a 6% drop from FY14 to about $36.4 billion; fortunately, much of this decline has to do with a shrinking workforce and cost-savings generated by earlier IT investments.

Soldier with Flag Draped in BackgroundYes the budget is down 6% from last year, but before you go running for the hills, it’s important to remember the following: while the IT budget is reduced from FY14, agencies that purchased software are continuing to purchase software— and with no sequestration and government shutdown in sight, we’re positioned to see a better FY15 than we did FY13.

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