Digital Service Teams a Boon to COTS Vendors

Tomas OKeefe_65x85Tomas O’Keefe, Consultant, Market Intelligence

This pastDigital Services week, when President Obama released his FY16 budget, there was something in the request that piqued my interest. Chris Wiedemann did a great job breaking down some of the top takeaways of the Exhibit 53 in his last blog post, but I thought I’d share an additional nugget that was buried in agency budget requests: the creation of Digital Service teams at nearly all of the major federal departments and independent agencies. The establishment of these teams, signals new avenues of opportunity for COTS manufacturers who sell to the federal government.

Last August, the Obama Administration announced a newly created Digital Service Team at the Office of Management and Budget that was to remove barriers to exceptional service delivery and help remake the digital experience that people and businesses have with their government. The focus of the Digital Service Team is to improve how citizens interact with the government, taking into account the changing technological landscape and how increasingly people look to the internet or mobile devices to interface with federal agencies. The Digital Services Team works closely with the General Service Administration’s 18F developers to design and build next-generation platforms for delivering services across government.

Following the early successes of groups like 18F and the central Digital Services Team, the Administration opted to expand the teams into major federal agencies. Unfortunately, at this time, it looks like DOD won’t be getting a Digital Services Team, but who knows what the future holds? The motive for broadening the reach of the Digital Services group is rooted directly in past failures of complex development activities that agencies and services contractors allowed to run over budget and well past their scheduled completion date. Digital Service team members have already hit the ground running on projects like Healthcare.gov, the Department of Veterans Affairs effort to update its scheduling system, and many more projects.

Why is this good news for those of us in the COTS community? Now we’ve got a group advocating for the types of products we sell to government agencies, serving as an access point to IT leaders and mission owners in government. And more importantly, the members of the Digital Service Teams aren’t tied to outdated development methodologies that allow costs to ramp up. It’s all about delivering on-time and on-budget, and they’re going to need your products to help correct problems in systems design and development. Keep your eyes open for departments to start hiring Digital Service team members in the coming months, because they’ll likely be an advocate for you to strengthen your brand and grow your footprint at federal agencies.

LinkedIntranetIf you found this post helpful, make sure to add me to your network on LinkedIn @Tomas O’Keefe

About Tomas O'Keefe
Tom O'Keefe has over 7 years of market research experience as an Analyst and Consultant in the federal space. He also earned an MA in Political Science from George Mason University. He has covered both civilian and defense agencies and has presented to clients ranging from junior-level associates to executives from some of the largest Systems Integrators and contractors in the federal marketplace.

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