Time to Start a New Conversation About AI in Government

Lloyd McCoy Jr.

By Lloyd McCoy, Marketing Intelligence Manager

Artificial Intelligence is becoming a topic of real interest to federal and SLED governments. Companies that sell storage solutions, automation, big data, security and data mining tools should be encouraged to start a new conversation with their clients and prospects. Here are some of the drivers behind AI in government.

Dramatic cost savings
According to Deloitte, low-investment AI could improve human task speeds up to 20 percent. That would save 96.7 million human hours annually in government. A high investment in AI could save well over one billion human hours per year.

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Agencies Starting to Embrace New Telecom Contract

By Kevin Shaker, consultant

In August 2017, the GSA awarded the Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions contract to 10 companies that will provide systems integration work to civilian agencies to update telecommunications infrastructures with modernized next generation networks. The EIS contract replaces the current Networx contact, which expires in FY20. While most agencies are ramping up to use EIS and send out solicitations for telecom projects, the Treasury Department and the Social Security Administration seem to be ahead of the curve.

Iris Cooper, senior procurement executive at Treasury released a statement at the ACT-IAC Network Modernization Forum on June 19, affirming that the department is looking to move forward with EIS and was expected to release its first task order solicitation in early July. Eric Olson, who replaced Sonny Bhagowalia as the Chief Information Officer at the department, will be overseeing this solicitation. In a departure from standard procedure, the contract will not be managed by a contracting officer. Therefore, having his buy-in, along with the blessing of the prime contractor, will be crucial for getting your solution in the door.

The Social Security Administration is also looking to get an early start on the EIS contract. SSA’s use of the contract coincides with their ongoing infrastructure modernization initiative to replace outdated storage systems and implement a private cloud with virtualization enhancements in network administration and data center technology. SSA is one of the first agencies to prepare and plan for the EIS utilization and released an RFP last September. Unlike Treasury, SSA is looking to award its EIS work to two providers. SSA is still evaluating proposals, which means telecom and infrastructure solution providers still have time to get involved after the contracts are awarded to the primes.

While Treasury and SSA are tackling EIS usage straight on, most other agencies across the civilian landscape are still drafting their own contracts and looking to push out solicitations in the foreseeable future. It’s a great time to be in the telecom space, and if you offer next generation solutions, you’ll want to team up with SIs to win some early opportunities at Treasury and SSA. Those wins will serve as successful business cases for future messaging as the larger agencies push out their solicitations.

Like what you read? Subscribe to immixGroup’s Government Sales Insider blog for more insight on government technology.

Learn more about what’s trending in federal civilian agencies at the 5th Annual Government IT Sales Summit, November 15, 2018 in Reston, Virginia.

USSOCOM Fields Innovative Technology at SOFWERX

By Ryan Granato, analyst

Demand for new communications and network capabilities for both the Command and the operator are of the highest priority for USSOCOM these days and were oft-repeated themes during the recent Special Operations Forces Industry Conference. SOFIC has turned into the event where industry and government converge every year to showcase current capabilities and discuss mission-related technology challenges.

According to Jim Smith, USSOCOM’s acquisition executive, current communication requirements revolve around issues such as network visibility, assured communications and reduced digital signature to avoid detection in operating environments. Solutions that address IoT and edge computing complement the command’s need for a fully-connected and sensor-enabled operator. In doing business with USSOCOM, Smith emphasized the importance of utilizing SOFWERX.

USSOCOM typically fields new capabilities at a rate much higher than their counterparts. However, technology continues to advance at a rate that traditional government acquisition processes cannot keep pace with. In response, USSOCOM launched SOFWERX, a technology incubator of its own to increase government and industry collaboration through a variety of USSOCOM-hosted projects and events. Kelly Stratton-Feix, director of Acquisition Agility at SOFWERX, stated that the immediate priorities set forth for SOFWERX are shorter procurement cycles and increased support of small businesses.

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Truths and Lies About Year-End Funding

Chris Wiedemann

By Chris Wiedemann, consultant

The end of another government fiscal year means another September, with all the craziness and excitement that it brings. As we’ve noted before, the government doles out an average of 40 percent of its annual IT expenditure in the final month of the fiscal year. In fact, given the relatively late arrival of this year’s appropriations, we might see that share go up this year. The conditions are ripe for a hectic four-week period, where we should all expect long hours to make sure every order gets filled.

You’ll also want to make sure you’re keeping an eye on the phones, no matter when they ring — September is the month for blue birds, but you need to be responsive to land those last-minute deals and capture year-end money. Steve Charles, one of immixGroup’s co-founders, has a great video running down other best practices for the end of the government fiscal year you might want to review.

All that said, I do want to address a common misconception about year-end money: in most cases, customers aren’t going to identify any new requirements for FY18. One of the most common requests our market intelligence team gets is to help reps “find” year-end deals — but the realities of the government buying cycle make it impossible to accurately track which customers have the right combination of unfulfilled requirements and unspent budget. Don’t add to the stress of the month by chasing new deals – instead, keep the following tips in mind:

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OTAs Are Heating Up in the DOD

Mark Wisinger_100x135By Mark Wisinger, senior analyst

Every program manager and acquisition professional in DOD has been leveraging the newest buzzword: OTA, which stands for Other Transaction Authority. OTAs have been in the acquisition arsenal for years, but Congress just recently relaxed rules and restrictions on their use, paving the way for OTAs to be the new hot method for rapid technology insertion and piloting. The Office of the Undersecretary of Acquisition and Sustainment recently has been working on an OTA handbook to help guide DOD acquisition professionals on the do’s and don’ts of this newly revitalized procurement method. It’s no surprise we’re starting to see the use of more and more OTAs.

According to Bloomberg Government, DOD accounted for $2.1B of $2.3B spent through OTAs in 2017. The Army has been a leader in DOD driving most of the OTA usage increases to date, concentrated in the Army Materiel Command, although the Army Cyber Command’s use of OTAs is growing. The Defensive Cyber Operations office, within Army’s PEO EIS is setting up a new OTA vehicle known as C-RAPID, which will be targeting rapid piloting and insertion of defensive cyber tools. Companies that sign on to the consortium will field between 6 and 24 Army technology requests a year for defensive cyber tools.

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How NASA is Dealing With Their REALLY BIG Data

Tom O'KeefeBy Tom O’Keefe, consultant

Big Data and artificial intelligence are top of mind at NASA this summer. The agency has always collected, sorted, and stored a massive amount of data and made that data available to the public. Now, it’s looking to leverage big data tools to better understand more of the huge volumes of information it has at its fingertips

The focus is on increasing efficiency wherever possible, and it’s this approach you should keep in mind when you’re talking to NASA this year. Here’s what NASA is going to be working on, so make sure you’re tailoring your message appropriately:

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Blockchain Attractive to Feds for Reducing Risk

Ryan Granato_resized

By Ryan Granato, analyst

Blockchain has been around for some time, but the United States Government has not yet incorporated it into their portfolio, meaning there is huge opportunity to be had in this emerging market. Originally, blockchain was created as a supporting infrastructure for digital currencies such as bitcoin.

Imagine a dataset that is disseminated and duplicated multiple times across a network. Then imagine that the network, which supports the dissemination of this data, is designed to regularly update the data across all devices. Like the internet, blockchain technology stores identical blocks of data across the network. However, blockchain technology allows for decentralized data. This means that blockchain is immune to single points of failure and cannot be controlled by any single entity, which makes it very attractive to a government customer concerned about the increase in malicious network disruptions.

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