3 trends that can help you win cloud business in FY17

Chris Wiedemann_65 x 852016_it-summit-336-1By Chris Wiedemann, consultant

Government is progressively moving to the cloud, but how can industry adapt to the changing procurement and sales landscape?

This was a common theme at immixGroup’s recent Government IT Sales Summit. The Civilian Federal Budget briefing my colleague, Tom O’Keefe, and I delivered during Summit focused on the centrality of cloud adoption to our customer base and the necessity of incorporating a cloud-based message into your sales strategy.

As with any sales strategy, we can’t give you a silver bullet for messaging. Figuring out exactly what your specific customer is doing in the cloud is going to be key, and that will require leveraging the relationships you already have.

The good news is there are some government-wide trends that you can use to put your customer’s specific requirements into their broader context:

1. Understand where these requirements are coming from – specifically data center policy.

The latest developments in government cloud are actually the result of the Data Center Optimization Initiative (DCOI), which creates a three-step, decision-making process for any new capability or technology in a government data center.

It starts with the question: Can it be put in a public environment? If not, OMB is directing them to look at shared data center services – with first priority going to GSA-designated shared data centers, followed by in-house enterprise facilities. In other words, program managers have three distinct hurdles to clear before they can put anything new on-prem. This is going to create a clear incentive for more adoption of true cloud – IaaS, PaaS and SaaS—offerings that meet the five core characteristics of cloud computing.

2. Regardless of your customer, if they’re buying your technology in the cloud, it has to be FedRAMP-compliant.

From a messaging standpoint, that means that you need to know which FedRAMP controls apply to you, and which of the three security baselines – Low, Moderate and High – you fit into. This is going to be increasingly important in the near future, as FedRAMP continues to get further entrenched and OMB begins to enforce Congressionally-mandated deadlines on FedRAMP certification for cloud solutions.

3. Major cultural impediments to cloud adoption in most, if not all, government agencies.

While that isn’t an issue that industry can address, it is worth bearing in mind when you package and message your technology to your customers. We have a tendency to emphasize the revolutionary capability of technology, and while that messaging works very well in the commercial world, it can sometimes make government customers, who are already reluctant to abandon the environment they understand, even more hesitant to fully commit to the cloud. Where possible, emphasize continuity and the ability to smoothly transition to your technology to increase buy-in.

Again, there are no silver bullets when it comes to sales messaging, and you need to make sure that you can tailor a cloud message to your customer’s specific mission requirements. However, if you keep the above trends in mind, it should help put those mission requirements in a larger context.

You can now hear an on-demand recording of our session. To learn more about the cloud initiatives coming out of government this year, reach out to your immixGroup account team and ask about engaging with our Market Intelligence organization.

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