6 Ways FITARA Could Make a Dramatic Impact on COTS Sales

Christopher Wiedemann_headshot-65 x 85by Chris Wiedemann, Senior Analyst

On FridayUS Capital Building of last week, among all the furor around the FY15 “cromnibus” passing, another long-awaited bill passed; the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) made it through both the House and Senate as part of the FY15 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). All indications point to FITARA becoming law shortly.

Here are 6 ways FITARA could dramatically impact sales in the COTS community:

  1. CIOs of major agencies EXCEPT DOD are required to have “a significant role” in the decision making process for all annual and multi-year planning/budgeting decisions for IT. CIOs will also have to approve the annual agency IT budget request to OMB and certify that IT investments “are adequately implementing incremental development.”
  1. Major agencies EXCEPT DOD will not be able to enter into a contract for IT products or services without the CIO’s sign-off, and also won’t be able to reprogram IT dollars without CIO approval.
  1. Component or subagency-level CIOs will need to be approved by the agency CIO (note: this is different from earlier versions of the bill, which were going to do away with the subagency-level CIO entirely).
  1. PortfolioStat and data center consolidation are written into law now, although the processes are otherwise unchanged.
  1. Any time an agency purchases something available under a Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative contract without using said contract, they will have to provide a “brief analysis” explaining their reasoning.
  1. The GSA Administrator is directed to develop a strategic sourcing initiative to “enhance Government-wide acquisition, shared use, and dissemination of software,” although there’s no deadline or timeframe.

Of course, the implementation of FITARA will take a while, and we don’t know exactly how uniform it will be. If enforcement of the law is left to individual agencies, look for any expansion of the central CIO’s power to be uneven. However, there is one clear change here: expect COTS sales in the future to require CIO approval before any funds are obligated. This means it’s more important than ever to understand how your products or solutions fit into the larger strategic priorities at your target government agencies.  immixGroup’s Market Intelligence team can help you identify innovators at federal agencies who have a pressing need for your product and want to work with you.

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