SLED 101 Series – Follow the Funding

By Rachel Eckert, SLED Market Intelligence Manager

This second installment of our SLED 101 series focuses on funding and budget cycles.

Not all money is created equal when it comes to state, local and education (SLED) funding. Understanding where money comes from and how budgets are built will help you better time and align your sales efforts to when your customers will be most receptive to new IT project ideas.

Funding sources dictate spending flexibility.

Let’s start by understanding the different sources of spending. The largest chunk of spending in most states comes out of what is typically referred to as the General funds budget. This budget represents the largest share of revenue collected by states and significantly impacts a state’s overall ability to spend. General funds have the most flexibility and are recurring funds received yearly. They can be used for a variety of products and services, including include IT. Most of your sales will come from this budget.

The other pieces of the pie, like Federal or Other state fees, have stipulations and limitations on their use, making them a bit more challenging to leverage. This isn’t to say that there aren’t IT opportunities related to Federal funds or Other state fees, just that those funds are less flexible in their use and allocation.

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Top 3 DOJ IT Programs Planning Procurements in FY21

By Jessica Parks, Market Intelligence Analyst

When following the money within the federal government, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the specific programs attracting that money. (For more detail on what a “program” is, check out my colleague Lloyd McCoy’s recent blog post. ) Identifying particular programs that may have a need you can meet will help narrow down your target field to the specific offices and folks who will most want to hear about your solution.

In this blog, I focus on the Department of Justice and the top 3 programs by funding that are planning acquisitions in FY21, per the Exhibit 53. If you’d like to know more what’s in this document, read our blog, What is Exhibit 53?

(1) FBI Network Services

This is the FBI’s standard network infrastructure investment, with total FY21 funding around $103M ($9.3M in DME funding). One significant focus here will likely be on cybersecurity tools, as improving information security has long been a priority for the bureau. The IT Infrastructure Division under the Information and Technology Branch handles the bureau’s network, and they will be the group to speak with about any tools you may have that will support secure networking.

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What Is a Program?

By Lloyd McCoy, Senior Market Intelligence Manager

If you’ve attended any of immixGroup’s briefings or webinars, you’ve probably heard us say that programs are the most important insertion points for most technology purchases within the federal government, especially for COTS products. In this blog we’ll walk through why they are important and what you should know before engaging with program offices.

But first, what is a program?

Programs, or more formally Programs of Record, are budget line items that exist to fulfill an agency’s mission. The Department of Defense’s definition is a good one and applies governmentwide: a funded effort that provides a new, improved, or continuing materiel, weapon or information system or service capability in response to an approved need. That pretty much sums up a program’s purpose, whether it’s DHS, USDA or DOD. Program managers run the program and most programs include some IT. Some programs are only IT focused.

Program Offices, Program Managers

Programs are so important because they are at the sweet spot of a department’s technology acquisition hierarchy with the program manager being senior enough to have a role in shaping the strategy and policy discussions surrounding the program’s mission. In addition, his or her office also represents the end user who will be using your product or service in the course of doing their job. Consequently, the program office has a central role in influencing the specifications and choices around the product or service.

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Top Four 2021 State CIO Priorities

By Charles Castelly, SLED Analyst

The release of the Top Ten Priorities for State CIOs in 2021 in December by the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO), places digital government at the top of the list for the second year in a row. The pandemic has accelerated the adoption of certain technologies by government as they look to provide quicker and more efficient services to citizens and employees.

Looking at the year ahead, state governments recognize that they will continue to need technology solutions that support digital modernization for applications that enable remote workforce accessibility and online interactions with citizens. Here are the top four technology priorities that CIOs are looking for:

(1) Cloud Solutions

With the migration of traditional in-person services online, cloud technologies are crucial to deliver services en masse. Cloud solutions allow agencies to operate more efficiently, delivering services to a larger number of citizens. However, agencies will need vendor assistance to help them through the migration process so that services are migrated seamlessly, with no loss in uptime.

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Can Government Buyers Find You? Time to Up Your SEO Game!

By Gail Bamford, Brand Marketing Manager

In the last year, B2G marketers have had to pivot from depending on live events to fill their sales pipelines. Our websites, which many of us have neglected or not recognized the true value of, have become cornerstones to growing our businesses.

Why You Should Care
A recent report from Market Connections, a leading B2G, B2B and government research company, stated that 82% of federal decision-makers rated corporate websites and search engine results as their top-rated sources for research.

Your website is where you can start building trust and relationships with potential customers and, further down the road, fill your pipeline with qualified leads. But if they can’t find you to begin with, leads are never going to materialize. This is where Search Engine Optimization or SEO can help.

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SLED 101 Series – What is the SLED market?

By Rachel Eckert, SLED Market Intelligence Manager

Welcome to the first blog of our SLED 101 series. Over the next few months, you’ll see a series of blogs that walk through the basics of the state, local and education markets. Topics will include understanding the budget cycles, identifying the IT budget, navigating CIO priorities, understanding procurement, differentiating master contracts and cooperative contracts, and finally, comparing the SLED market to the federal market.

To kick things off, I wanted to start by defining what the SLED market entails and why understanding their independence is crucial to success. When we talk about SLED, we are talking about more than 90,000 different government organizations.

  • 50 States
  • 3,000+ Counties / Boroughs / Parishes
  • 36,000+ Cities / Towns / Municipalities
  • 12,000+ Public School Systems
  • 2,000+ Higher Education Institutions
  • 38,000+ Special Districts
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Top Federal Civilian Cybersecurity Trends in FY21

By Jessica Parks, Market Intelligence Analyst

With the recent Solarwinds breach, IT vendors who sell to the government may be wondering about its impact on their customers’ needs. Federal civilian agencies have already made cybersecurity a top priority for FY21, so while the breach by itself will not directly spur significant new initiatives or projects, it still emphasized the urgency of getting defenses up to speed.

With fresh awareness around cybersecurity gaps, there has never been a better time to check on your government customers and help them fulfill their security needs. Read on for a high-level overview of the top 3 trends in federal cybersecurity for FY21.

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3 Public Resources You Need to Prepare for Meeting With DOD

By Toné Mason, Senior Analyst

Abraham Lincoln once said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”

Investing time in being prepared prior to meeting with a government contact is vital — especially if you are diving into new departments and agencies within the DOD. Here are 3 top public resources at your disposal – and they are free!

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NIST IoT Security Guidelines Will Impact Federal Vendors

Lloyd McCoy Jr.

By Lloyd McCoy, Market Intelligence Manager

Last week, NIST released draft IoT security guidelines which will have far reaching impacts on security requirements contractors must follow before selling IoT-related technology to the government. These guidelines are some of the action items coming from the IoT Cybersecurity Improvement Act of 2020, a law passed in December that calls for established cybersecurity standards for IoT devices purchased by the federal government.

The new law requires NIST and OMB to shape and enforce security standards agencies need to follow when purchasing IoT devices. NIST has until March 2021 to finalize standards and guidelines. These draft regulations represent that first step. Vendors are invited to submit comments by February 12, 2021 – and they should take advantage of this opportunity!

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Helping States Align the Right Resources to Combat the Opioid Crisis

By Charles Castelly, SLED Market Intelligence Analyst

States are increasingly relying on a multi-pronged, data-centric approach to tackle some of the biggest health crises of our time. The Commonwealth of Virginia, like many other state and local governments is grappling with containing both the current pandemic as well as the ongoing opioid crisis, both of which continue to ravage communities according to Carlos Rivero, Virginia’s chief data officer in a recent podcast interview.

Fortunately, in tackling the ongoing opioid crisis, a few best practices and lessons learned have emerged that industry should take note of when pursuing opportunities here. States like Virginia now realize that a fully integrated and coordinated combination of cloud services, enterprise applications and cutting-edge cybersecurity is most effective for tracking and anticipating where resources are needed most.

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