Two New Sales Opportunities at Commerce That Are NOT Census-Related

By Jessica Parks, Market Intelligence Analyst

Don’t let the Department of Commerce’s understandable focus on the 2020 Census distract you from other sales opportunities within the cabinet-level agency. The need for better data analytics is opening up initiatives at two of its sub-agencies, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Fundamentally, both USPTO and NOAA have requirements around the processing, management and analysis of large volumes of data. If your technology can help them meet these requirements, you will have a foot in the door for a procurement you and your competitors may otherwise have missed.   Read more of this post

Beyond Border Security: FY21 Trade-Related Opportunities at CBP

By Jessica Parks, Analyst

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), under the Department of Homeland Security, is widely known as the organization that secures our nation’s borders, but they also regulate goods entering and leaving the country through the Office of Trade (OT).

CBP receives almost 30% of the DHS IT budget, and while it’s always looking to enhance the border infrastructure, there are a few major trade-focused technology programs that have been moving forward with big plans of their own. Read on to learn what those programs are and what they’re looking for. Read more of this post

The State Department’s Data-Driven Future

By Jessica Parks, Analyst

In January of this year, the State Department made headlines when it established its Center for Analytics (CfA) to manage and analyze data across the entire department. The formation of an enterprise-level analytics center is a significant move for what has traditionally been a highly decentralized organization. It also reflects a broader goal at to better harness and apply its troves of data.

If you’re looking to get in on the action, read on for a couple of areas worth targeting in FY21.

Analytics to Improve Administrative Functions

Under Chief Information Officer Stuart McGuigan, IT systems at the agency are viewed in terms of business output, especially in how they support operational functions like workflows and onboarding. Speaking at an AFCEA Bethesda event in April, he described how the State Department is exploring robotic process automation (RPA) to speed up the onboarding process for new employees and further empowering back office staff.   Read more of this post

2 Myths About Federal Data Center Optimization

By Jessica Parks, Market Intelligence Analyst

One major initiative driving IT modernization at federal civilian agencies continues to be the Data Center Optimization Initiative (DCOI). This program impacts every civilian agency and continues to influence broader modernization efforts. Agencies are making progress, some (such as Department of Justice) more so than others, and they continue to incorporate their optimization goals into their budget and strategic planning.

Do you know where your target agencies are at in this process? If you are still formulating your strategy, here’s some high-level myth-busting to guide you. Read more of this post

TIC 3.0 Is Shaping Government Network Security to the Edge

By Jessica Parks, Market Intelligence Analyst

In an increasingly interconnected world, we often take for granted the availability and security of networks whenever we sign on to our devices. Agencies are now taking a closer look at the bandwidth and security of their networks and the Department of Homeland Security has been ahead of that curve — working on updating its Trusted Internet Connection (TIC) policy.

Draft guidance on TIC 3.0 is in process, with new documents expected to be published this spring. TIC policy aims to standardize security rules for networks, so you can bet federal agencies will be paying close attention to this guidance as it is released. Here is a look at TIC 3.0 and what it means for you.

Security Moving Out

With more agencies moving away from traditional network perimeters and into complex cloud environments, TIC 3.0 is defining where to secure these networks. One thing is for sure, as TIC 3.0 Program Manager Sean Connelly pointed out at the FCW Cloud Security Workshop in February, TIC 3.0 is moving security tools towards the users and applications themselves.   Read more of this post

FY21 Civilian Budget Request: Look Past the Budget Cuts

By Jessica Parks, Analyst

The president’s fiscal year 2021 budget request has been released, and while you may be laser-focused on this year’s sales, you can bet your government customers are already thinking about next year’s priorities. While the nearly across-the-board cuts at the civilian agencies are grabbing headlines, a deeper dive reveals a treasure trove of high-level plans at a few of the biggest agencies. Factor the following into your FY21 strategy:

Department of Homeland Security

DHS is the top civilian spender on IT and there are some definite growth areas in the agency for FY21. FEMA stands out as a fertile ground for IT vendors as the agency looks to tackle multiple large projects in FY21:

  • Continuing to develop a single cloud-based grants management platform
  • Updating its legacy financial management system
  • Bolstering the efforts of its Enterprise Analytics division to improve infrastructure and data analytics 

Read more of this post

CMS Needs YOU to Help Them Transform

By Jessica Parks, Analyst

In this era of widespread government IT transformation driven by Cloud Smart, FITARA and other initiatives, technology vendors can face difficulty in knowing where to most effectively focus their efforts.

In this blog I put the spotlight on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) as one potential hotspot for you to focus on for 2020 – and beyond. I recently attended the AFCEA Bethesda Health IT Summit and gained valuable insight into the CMS modernization journey and its future objectives.

Read on for a couple of target areas for vendors and how you can strategize accordingly. Read more of this post

Federal Modernization Challenges and Priorities for FY20

By Jessica Parks, Analyst

Data visibility, cloud and emerging technologies were important themes at a the recent IT Modernization summit hosted by FCW. The conference sessions brought together acquisition and IT officials from a variety of federal agencies, small and large, both civilian and DOD, who shared how their agencies are delivering on modernization goals.

Here are more details about these topics and advice on how you can position your company and solutions to stand out from the crowd.

Data Visibility

Agencies need improved visibility into their data. Data is the cornerstone of multiple technologies, powering AI and machine learning algorithms and bolstering cybersecurity efforts. It is, quite simply, crucial for government agencies to be able to gain as much insight into their data as possible in order to keep pace with rapid technological developments. Don Heckman, Principal Director in the Deputy Chief Information Office for Cybersecurity at DOD, noted that “visibility into assets is a huge challenge” for the agency. Read more of this post

Key Opportunities in Electronic Records Management

By Jessica Parks, Analyst

Good news for those who have been trying to sell solutions that facilitate digital government. A little over 2 months ago, OMB and the National Archives (NARA) issued memo M-19-21, informing federal agencies that they must manage all permanent and temporary records electronically by 2022. While this memo is not out of the blue – it was built upon the previous M-18-12 directive – it does lay out a specific timeline for agencies to follow.

Here are a couple of key technologies playing a role in the government’s transition to fully electronic records and how you can approach potential customers.

Automation
Automation will likely play a big part and may even free up agencies to explore emerging technologies such as AI. As agencies face a large volume of records to digitize and then manage, technology that reduces the amount of manual work will be a plus. For example, CMS recently implemented a robotic process automation-based tool to review medical records for Medicare payments. In combination with AI and ML algorithms, this tool has drastically reduced the time it takes to find the necessary data, from about one hour per document to just one minute. Read more of this post

Agile Ops as a Path to Modernization

By Jessica Parks, Analyst

The word “agile” is everywhere now, describing everything from cloud technology to team dynamics. Beginning as an innovative method of software development, agile has expanded to describe projects, solutions, teams and workflows.

As government agencies look to update legacy systems, there is an increasing recognition that modernization encompasses not only updates in technology, but also improvements in how projects are developed and delivered. Here are examples of how federal agencies are applying the agile concept and how technology vendors can insert themselves in upcoming opportunities.

In the world of government IT, agile refers to a software development or project management method which aims to be faster, more customer-centric and more responsive to sudden changes than traditional methods. (If you want to further explore the basic premise of “agile,” GSA has published a comprehensive set of FAQs.) What is most noteworthy about the presence of agile development in government IT is that it represents a significant change in mindset. The government is realizing that efficiency, responsiveness and scalability are often the best ways to stay on top of rapid technological changes. Read more of this post

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