Most valuable types of information you can provide to government IT decisionmakers

By Jimmy Baker, Public Sector Marketing Strategist

The last federal fiscal year was truly one for the history books and the covid-19 pandemic has changed the way government decision-makers receive and monitor information.

Like many marketing professionals around the country, I stay up to date on the latest trends in government policy, spending and marketing. With a FY22 technology budget of approximately $95B, I want to make sure the assets I create deliver value and resonate with government stakeholders.  

For the last several years, Market Connections has published the Content Marketing Review. This study is truly one of the best surveys out there on what and where the public sector is going for information. This report takes the time to break down the differences (in terms of content preference) between the federal government, state and local government and the education marketplaces.  

Here are the top three things I learned about the federal government from the 2021 Content Marketing Review:  

  1. 81% of government leaders will read research reports 
  2. 72% of government leaders will read white papers 
  3. 61% of government leaders attend webinars 

We have all heard the phrase “content is king.” However, the government needs some precise information before looking at a vendor’s content. This report provides vital insights and details that is a must read to anyone that markets and sells technology products and services to the public sector.  

Please make plans to read my blog next month as I interview Market Connection’s Mari Canizales Coache and go deeper into the results of the latest surveys on where government decision makers go to learn more about technology products and services.  

Keep on top of the latest trends in government IT. Subscribe to immixGroup’s Government Sales Insider blog now!

Learn more about Market Connections’ 2021 Content Market Review.

Vaccine requirements for federal contractors: What we know today

By Jeff Ellinport, Division Counsel

In the next 10 days, expect specific guidance on how federal contractors will need to respond to the COVID vaccine mandate from the Biden administration.

On September 9, 2021, President Biden issued an Executive Order “Ensuring Adequate COVID Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors” (the “EO”). This order will require many federal contractors to have their employees either fully vaccinated or subject to regular COVID-19 testing.

Here is what we know 

The EO leaves some of the details regarding the requirements for federal contractors to others. Specifically, the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is to issue an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) in a few weeks, and the recently created Safer Federal Workforce Task Force (the “Task Force”) is to issue specific federal contractor guidance by September 24.

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NASCIO Conference to address SLED technology and spending, and honors immixGroup with Longevity Award

By Chauncey Kehoe, SLED Contracts Manager

Each year, The National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) selects a recipient of its five-year Corporate Membership Longevity Award. At this year’s meeting, which will be held in Seattle, Wash. from October 10-13, that award will be proudly accepted by immixGroup, Inc.

The Corporate Membership Longevity Award is a significant accomplishment for companies in the state, local and education (SLED) market, because of NASCIO’s respected standing in the industry.

NASCIO’s mission is to foster government excellence through leadership of quality business practices, information management and technology. Through NASCIO’s members-only community, immixGroup has had the opportunity to participate in discussion forums, collaborate with government and industry leaders and take away lessons learned from NASCIO events.

The most valuable benefit we have gained through our NASCIO membership is the ability to understand SLED technology needs and spending trends through committees and working groups. These groups usually consist of SLED chief information officers and industry leaders. The topics range from IT trends to post pandemic life. As participants, we are able to relay this information back to our suppliers and resellers to better prepare them for selling into the SLED space.

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Make it easier for your Army customers: How the ITES-SW2 helps you sell into this market

By Tara Franzonello, GSA Programs Consultant

Are you selling or planning to sell to the Army? Then you need to add your company and its products to the Information Technology Enterprise Solutions – Software 2 contract.

Nearly 3% of DoD IT contract spending in FY 2020 flowed through an ITES contract – that’s $1.64 billion. The Army believes that number will increase over the next couple of years.  

The ITES-SW2 contract is part of the Army’s Computer Hardware, Enterprise Software and Solutions (CHESS) program. It is a mandatory source for commercial IT hardware and software purchases. Here’s how the two connect:

The CHESS program’s mission is to be the primary source to “support the Warfighter’s Information Dominance Objectives” by developing, implementing and managing commercial IT contracts that provide “enterprise-wide net-centric hardware, software and supporting services to the Army.” 

CHESS contracts provide IT products and services that comply with U.S. Army Network Enterprise Technology Command, Army and DoD policy and standards. Army commercial hardware and software buyers must use CHESS contracts first, no matter the dollar value.

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The Future of the GSA CDM SIN: What it means to you

By Gina Brown, Federal Contracts Manager

In August 2018, the CDM program underwent a procurement transition that vendors should keep in mind. Combined with a proposed elimination of the GSA CDM special item number (SIN), the changes could streamline certain aspects of the way in which products are catalogued.

Initially, blanket purchase agreements (BPAs) were awarded to 17 primes. This then switched to a two-pronged acquisition strategy, in which four GSA Alliant prime contractors were awarded six Dynamic and Evolving Federal Enterprise Network Defense (DEFEND) task orders.

These prime system integrators would purchase cybersecurity tools according to the DHS approved product list (APL), to strengthen the security posture of civilian agency customers.

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CDM: Cloud Hardening and Zero Trust Environments

By Amanda Mull, Contract Specialist

Critical cybersecurity goals for most federal agencies are focused on Zero Trust for a more mobile workforce, cloud-based products, and active threat detection plus dynamic response. Purchase of tools alone, however, cannot provide successful operational cybersecurity. Ongoing budgeting must address a holistic approach, including flexible policies and procedures, to adjust to new threats and changing work landscapes – along with a critical investment in cyber workforce training.

It is becoming more important for federal agencies to partner with companies that can help achieve their foundational cybersecurity goals. Partners and agencies alike must be committed to constant review and adjustment to systems and operations, to ensure that they maintain the highest levels of cybersecurity.

CDM program funds directly support agencies striving to harden their cloud cybersecurity against threats. The program becomes even more important as new threats emerge and agencies are forced to scramble to protect themselves and the public trust. 

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Building your state contracting toolbox through OMNIA Partners, Public Sector

By Chauncey Kehoe, SLED Contracts Manager

State, local and education agencies have many paths to procurement and numerous contract vehicles to choose from. Some contracts, however, do not allow for reseller participation or post award modifications to add new product lines; they leave the customer with no way to purchase the technology they need from the vendor they want.

The solution is for resellers and manufacturers to build out a contracts toolbox for when these situations arise. Your toolbox should include a variety of mandatory statewide and cooperative contracts for you to suggest to your customers. This multi-part series will introduce you to a few key statewide contracts and cooperatives for your toolbox.

To start, we will explore OMNIA Partners, Public Sector, who I featured in a recent webinar. OMNIA Partners, Public Sector is one of the largest and most experienced cooperative purchasing organizations dedicated to public sector procurement.

immixGroup is fortunate to have an award for Software Solutions and Services under the OMNIA Partners’ portfolio. Why should this cooperative be in your toolbox? Let’s dive into the benefits of the Software Solutions and Services contract:

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Nur Rahman honored on the 2021 CRN Rising Female Stars List

immixGroup and Arrow are pleased to announce that CRN®, a brand of The Channel Company, has named Sr. Manager of Sales Operations Nur Rahman to its 2021 list of Rising Female Stars. This list honors up-and-coming talented women in the IT channel whose contributions are shaping the future of the IT channel through their leadership, tireless dedication and innovative ideas.

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The Cybersecurity Executive Order: What’s coming and where are the opportunities?

By Davis Johnson, VP & General Manager

Private sector companies have a considerable amount of work to do to comply with the recent Presidential Executive Order on Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity. Existing contracts must be scrutinized to reduce the trend of serious cyberattacks across government and industry alike.

It’s clear that the order puts the onus on the vendor community. It reads, in part, “The private sector must adapt to the continuously changing threat environment, ensure its products are built and operate securely, and partner with the Federal Government to foster a more secure cyberspace.”

The order further recommends standardizing common cybersecurity contractual requirements across agencies, to “streamline and improve compliance for vendors and the Federal Government.”

Beyond the effect on contract implications, vendors can expect more attention from the government in several key technology areas, which will spark greater demand and more funding. Here are just a few:

Cyber Vulnerability and Incident Detection

Agencies are required to establish a Memoranda of Agreement with CISA for Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation. CISA is required to report quarterly to OMB and the National Security Advisor on implementation of threat-hunting practices. Vendors can expect more contact with agencies as these reports and documents are being prepared.

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CDM Updates to Product Listing Requirements

By Amanda Mull, Contract Specialist

The federal Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation (CDM) program includes cybersecurity tools and sensors that are reviewed by the program for conformance with Section 508, federal license users and CDM technical requirements. Manufacturers are encouraged to update, refresh and add new and innovative tools to the CDM Approved Products List (APL).

To maintain currency with federal and requirement and the constant evolution of the cyber/IT landscape, the CDM APL product submission requirements have been revised several times in FY2021.

The most recent updates reflect heightened security policies and protocols required for a more mobile workforce. Others support the full realization of the federal CDM Dashboard expected by year-end. The CDM Dashboard is intended to gauge agency cybersecurity posture. It also monitors the achievement of directives meant to raise the overall level of security and privacy in cyber/IT tools and technology across the federal government.

There have been several recent updates to CDM Common Requirements for Approved Product Listings (APL):

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