CR? Sure, But IT Sales Opportunities Are Still There

photo_Steve-Charles_65x85by Steve Charles, Co-founder and Executive Vice President

The ongoing federal budget drama is helping contractors hone their “what-if” planning skills. All we know for sure is that the government is operating under a continuing resolution (CR) at 2012 spending levels until March 31. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find solid opportunities now.

Technology contractors’ sales challenges are threefold: 1) Making the most of stretched 2012 opportunities; 2) determining what’s possible under 2013 plans; and 3) finding out what carries into 2014 coupled with brand new initiatives in the upcoming 2014 budget request.

Some initiatives and program plus-ups can go forward even under a CR if Congress mandates. Members can and do insert language in CRs enabling increases in favored, existing projects.

We’ve analyzed the latest IT investment line items, the latest Exhibit 53s, and what is available under the current CR. We found many IT initiatives with greater spending ceilings in 2013 than in 2012. These are existing projects and many of them are funded by multiple program line items. Meaning: Your sales strategy should include trying to capitalize on the strong possibility that more spending is actually available under them this year, even with the CR.

Agencies must map expenditures to the spending authority granted by Congress. Don’t overlook crosscutting management initiatives that can pull money from multiple program buckets, including across agencies, even under a CR.

And don’t forget, the government-wide consolidation efforts articulated in the 25-point IT reform plan are ongoing. This means agencies can spend under existing authorities to keep moving toward the plan’s goals such as data center consolidation and cloud computing. Those will require spending on networks, storage, virtualization, and software services.

So, what can you do to succeed in this environment?

  • Do your homework and read the Exhibit 53s for each of your customer agencies.
  • Get reacquainted with their programmatic goals, which always drive their spending patterns.
  • Watch for the “passbacks” from the Office of Management and Budget on 2014 requests. They tweak agency requests en route to the completed budget request due to Congress early February.

Don’t get paralyzed even though it seems Congress is. The government’s first quarter is a great time to meet with your government customers and think longer-term and more strategically. Remember, when the fiscal situation sorts out, it will be just a few short months for agencies to complete purchase requests and acquisition packages in time for contracting shops to execute before year-end.

About Steve Charles
Passionate about technology and helping our clients help the government with the latest. I try to educate people on all the government's checks and balances that really seem likes hoops and hurdles so buyers and sellers can get to a meeting of the minds much more quickly without violating any rules.

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