Data Centricity: The Heart of Federal IT

Tom O'Keefe

By Tom O’Keefe, Consultant

If there’s been a common theme I’ve been hearing lately, it’s data centricity.

It’s a fundamental shift in federal IT that’s been building for a few years that could have broad implications for the types of technology investments agencies will look to make in the future. Federal agencies are beginning to realize that not only is data their core asset, they know they need to make start making investments in the stewardship and utilization of that data. It’s not enough to just have data or protect data, that data needs to be operationalized and transformed from data to knowledge to action – and support the execution of the mission.

At an AFCEA Bethesda breakfast I attended in March, speakers from the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security affirmed the increasing understanding within their agency of the value of the data they capture throughout the course of their operations. It’s fair to note here that agencies have been talking about making better use of their data for years, but much like we’ve seen the slow and steady progression to cloud adoption, I believe we’re seeing a steady progression toward realizing the importance of data and turning it into actionable intelligence to enable the mission. Read more of this post

Smart Cities to Watch Part 1: Boston and Atlanta

By Rachel Eckert, SLED Manager

According to IDC, U.S. spending on smart cities initiatives may reach $26 billion by 2022. That spending will encompass a combination of services and assets, with support from software and connectivity.

When entering this market, here are three things to consider:

Focus on the city’s goals and align your solution accordingly. Cities are trying to deliver better, more efficient services. Focusing on delivering that improved service goes a long way to show your desire to be the city’s long-term solution partner.

Develop strategic partnerships. For long-term success, smart cities applications and pilots need to be integrated with other platforms and applications. Seek out partners working on complementary applications and platforms and present the city with an integrated solution.

Align your technology to the delivery of services to citizens. Smart cities technologies need to deliver improved services to the citizen. Ensure that your technology delivers that outcome.

With that said, here’s what’s happening in two leading smart cities: Boston and Atlanta. Read more of this post

Accelerating Growth in a New Era of Government Procurement

By Tim Larkins, Senior Director, Market Intelligence and Corporate Development

Government is evolving both in how it does business and in its approach towards technology. It’s changing procurement strategies, changing the way it pays for IT capabilities and changing the types of technology it buys.

Government’s focus has shifted from technology for its own sake to optimizing performance – making sure that its business and operations are functional and efficient. Customers are looking to develop integrated solutions that help them accomplish their missions – a much more business-oriented engagement.

Procurement now has a much stronger emphasis on flexibility and consumption-based models. The mandate of the Lowest Price Technically Acceptable (LPTA) as the primary procurement strategy is shifting to one of mission effectiveness through of best-of-breed technology. LPTA ultimately led to a “race to the bottom” approach from industry, as companies were forced to commoditize their products, resulting in government buying what’s cheap – not what’s best.

In light of the ever-evolving technology procurement landscape, immixGroup wants to ensure that our suppliers and partners are positioned in a way that they can adequately service their public sector customers – not just today, but well into the foreseeable future. Read more of this post

AI and Analytics: Must Haves for Our Naval Force

Lloyd McCoy Jr.

By Lloyd McCoy, Marketing Intelligence Manager

There’s a real sense of urgency in the Navy.

Increasingly, at conferences (most recently at AFCEA West) and in sidebar conversations, I hear maritime leaders talk about “Great Power Competition” and how we’ve reached an inflection point in terms of how dispersed our fleet can reasonably be while maintaining effectiveness with current capabilities.

The mantra “do more with less” has been around since time immemorial but there’s a widespread belief that while the U.S. military will always have the advantage in air, land and sea, artificial intelligence (AI) looks to be an equalizer. There’s also the belief that we are only at the beginning of the adoption and development cycle for AI.

How do you fight a war against an adversary that can predict what you are going to do before you even know? Ladies and gentlemen, we are in an AI arms race. Read more of this post

15 Minutes Can Build Your Business

By Rita Walston, Senior Director, Marketing Programs

I carry a custom coin around with me. On one side it says strong relationships build business; on the other, I am not a commodity.

I designed and had 100 of those coins made last year and frequently use them in training and mentoring sessions.  We recently put those words into action at immixGroup by hosting an Emerging Tech Speed Networking Event.

We’ve hosted Speed Networking Events before, but this one was unique and addressed a specific need we’d heard from both our partners and our IT manufacturer suppliers. The partners want to know which companies are “the next big thing”—emerging technology logos they should add to their line card to grow their business. The IT manufacturers want to know which partners they should add as they establish or grow their channel and drive revenue—who is hungry and will be a hunter, not just an RFP gatherer.

Read more of this post

An Introduction to Security Frameworks

Lloyd McCoy Jr.By Lloyd McCoy, Market Intelligence Manager

A key takeaway from RSA Conference 2019 was the importance of security frameworks. They encompass security best practices and help government agencies keep their heads above water amid all the cyber threats that are out there. When breaches do occur at the federal level, the post-mortem usually reveals some deficiencies in compliance.

For the federal government, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is the primary source for security standards. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) requires that agencies comply with NIST guidance. If you sell technology to the government, it’s important that you be familiar with security frameworks, because they play a big factor in why agencies buy what they buy in terms of security tools and services.

Security frameworks can largely be split into three categories: Control, Program and Risk.

The purpose of control frameworks is to identify a baseline set of controls, assess the state of technical capabilities, prioritize the implementation of controls and develop an initial roadmap for the security team. It’s important to become familiar with NIST SP 800-53, an important publication that catalogs security and privacy controls, because it helps agencies measure their impact. Government departments and agencies use NIST SP 800-53 to inform their purchasing decisions, specifically around incident response, configuration management, risk assessment and access control solutions.

Read more of this post

Changes Coming for IT at DOD Fourth Estate Agencies

Stephanie Meloni

By Stephanie Meloni, Market Intelligence Manager

The DOD CIO office continues to put a strong emphasis on moving as many IT functions as possible to an enterprise construct. This includes efforts like milCloud, JEDI, data and network consolidation.

A newer consolidation and standardization project that will be picking up steam this year is the Fourth Estate network consolidation. Fourth Estate agencies consist of 28 Pentagon agencies outside of the Service branches. Combined, these agencies are responsible for about a fifth of the DOD’s budget.

The FY19 NDAA initially requested budget cuts for the Fourth Estate, and a GAO report which came out last September requested some efficiency initiatives around consolidation for the Fourth Estate. As a result of these budget and efficiency recommendations, DOD plans to consolidate network and other IT functions.

Read more of this post

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