What is a set-aside?

By Chris Wiedemann, consultant

Over the last few months, I’ve blogged on the basics of government contracting and selling to government customers – focusing on things like contract vehicles, the Federal Acquisition Regulations, the General Services Administration and federal cybersecurity requirements.

Taken together, those topics describe a basic framework for government procurement and the way industry interacts with it. They also demonstrate that public sector customers (both federal and state/local) behave differently than customers in the commercial space.

However, we haven’t yet addressed one of the most fundamental differences between public and private sector customers: The government, in addition to needing industry to help fulfill its mission, has a broad incentive to encourage economic growth across all sectors of American industry. Often, this growth means prioritizing small businesses over large corporations in contracting – and there are a set of contracting tools, known as set-asides, that enable just that.

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What are FISMA and FedRAMP?

By Chris Wiedemann, consultant

Whether you’re a veteran of federal IT sales or a complete newcomer to the space, there’s one recurring theme you’ve probably noticed in the way our customers talk to industry: regardless of their mission or program, they all mention cybersecurity as a critical part of their job.

Given the sheer number of incidents and the size and scope of federal networks, not to mention the often sensitive information they contain, the focus on security makes business sense. However, as is often the case with government, there’s an extra factor to their behavior – they’re required by law to secure federal networks. One law in particular – the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) – plays a critical role in determining how agencies need to secure their environments.

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What to watch now that we have a federal budget

By Chris Wiedemann, consultant

Last Friday, as the rain pounded the Washington, D.C. region, my colleague, Tom O’Keefe, and I huddled in a recording studio to chat with Mark Amtower on federal IT trends for his Amtower Off-Center show.

The 45-minute segment was posted here yesterday. Here are highlights of what we think the IT industry needs to know now that there’s a budget in place for the rest of the year.

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What is the GSA?

By Chris Wiedemann, consultant

Any company that’s in government contracting or interested in doing business in the public sector should be familiar with the General Services Administration.

If you’ve been following my “What is…?” series, you’ve learned some of the basics of government contracting and knowing the GSA is yet another rung on the ladder.

GSA primarily provides office space for government employees by constructing, managing and preserving government buildings and by leasing and managing commercial real estate. In fact, GSA is the largest landlord in the country.

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What is the FAR?

By Chris Wiedemann, consultant

We’ve established by now that government contracting is one of the most complicated business segments to work in. Part of what makes it so cumbersome is the plethora of rules and regulations, all packaged neatly in the hunk of a publication known as the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR).

This multi-part document, established more than 40 years ago through the Office of Federal Procurement Policy Act of 1974, outlines all the rules and regulations that most federal agencies follow when buying goods and services.

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What you need to know about the president’s budget…for now

By Chris Wiedemann, consultant

After a tumultuous opening to his administration, President Trump delivered his first budget request late last week, which seeks to deliver on long-running Republican promises to increase military spending while cutting non-defense agencies and programs significantly.

While the presidential budget request is not a binding document, meaning it still has to pass through Congress before it can be signed into law, the request is still useful for the priorities it outlines – in many ways, it’s the first attempt to put campaign promises and rhetoric into hard policy and guidelines for the executive branch.

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3 trends to watch at the VA in 2017

As the only civilian agency with a new FY17 appropriation, the Department of Veterans Affairs would have been a high-profile sales target even without the attention paid to it on the campaign trail. However, between reorganizations, new programs and budgetary tug-of-war contests, it can be difficult to figure out where exactly you need to sell.

Here are three trends to watch in the next year as the administration’s priorities take shape. You can hear more on the department in my recent webinar, IT Sales Opportunities at the VA: Everything You Need to Know but Were Afraid to Ask:

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