4 ways to show NASA some love

Tom O'Keefenasa_021417By Tom O’Keefe, consultant

The next few years could be interesting for NASA, especially if the Trump administration tries to take aim at its climate observation work. But that won’t necessarily stop the space agency from continuing to innovate, embrace new technologies and continue its move toward the cloud.

In fact, while there have been recent challenges within the agency, particularly concerning cybersecurity, expect NASA to continue its role as a standard-bearer for new technologies within the federal government.

So what does that mean for IT vendors? Well to understand how to appeal to NASA, it’s important to focus on how to better enable its science and engineering mission. Here are some areas to focus on:

  • Efficiency and innovation

IT companies need to frame the importance of their solutions around identifying greater efficiencies and promoting more innovative technologies. This also means seeking out the chief technology officer at each NASA center, as they’re going to be interested in the next technology that can help improve agency operations.

  • Smart data

NASA will be particularly interested in solutions that enable employees to work smarter. The idea is all about making smart data out of big data. Using advanced analytics and deep learning technologies, the agency wants to transform how its employees work. Understanding human behavior is the key to transforming the workplace of the future, and NASA understands that better than most.

  • Moving workloads to the cloud

It’s not just about storing information in the cloud or placing public-facing websites in public cloud environments. It’s really about moving application and product development into a cloud-based platform. It’s ensuring that agile and DevOps environments can live in the cloud and provide a collaborative platform so employees can create the next Saturn V rocket or uncover the next foundational scientific discovery. Having workloads living in the cloud will allow employees at different NASA centers to work together on projects. The agency believes that crowdsourcing that type of work leads to more beneficial results.

  • FedRAMP-certified cybersecurity

NASA’s inspector general just released a report showing that many of the cloud systems used throughout the agency aren’t FedRAMP-certified and those pose a security risk. Cybersecurity vendors should articulate how their solutions can address these challenges, particularly in securing cloud offerings that aren’t FedRAMP-certified.

NASA’s mission is one of the most exciting and important for the future of scientific discovery. While certain operations may be targeted by the new administration, particularly within the science mission directorate that focus on climatic studies, NASA’s IT funding should remain relatively stable at more than $1.4 billion. Focusing on innovation, big data analytics and cloud technologies should pique the interest of NASA decision makers.

Looking for more guidance on IT sales opportunities at NASA and other civilian agencies? Reach out to immixGroup’s Market Intelligence team.  

About Tomas O'Keefe
Tom O'Keefe has over 10 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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