What Sales Reps Can Do During the Government Shutdown

Tom O'Keefe

By Tom O’Keefe, Consultant

So, here we are, a week and a half after my last blog about the shutdown and half the civilian government is still shut down. By now you’ve likely heard the news that the Trump administration has made the decision to call about 50,000 federal workers back to work. The good news is, that means critical safety and security workers, like food and airplane inspectors, are back on the job. The bad news is, much like I mentioned in my last blog, many of them are doing more than one job with a lot of their colleagues still furloughed. And, they’re still not getting paid.

So, it’s likely you’re wondering what you can tell your bosses if you’re trying to sell into one of the agencies where workers are furloughed. First off, you need to let your boss know that your forecasted deals aren’t going to close right now because the contracting shops at these shut-down agencies are generally all non-essential personnel.

But just because your forecasted deals aren’t going to close doesn’t mean there isn’t anything you can’t do. Reach out to your program manager customers (if they’re still working) and ask when they anticipate the deal moving forward once agencies get appropriations. Remember, things are piling up at federal agencies, so anticipate a bunch of pent-up demand once everyone gets back to work.

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How Vendors Can Deal With the Government Shutdown

Tom O'Keefe

By Tom O’Keefe, Consultant

Most of us have been surprised by the current partial government shutdown and how long it’s gone on. It’s on track to be one of the longest shutdowns in history, longer than 2013 (16 days) and getting very close to the 1995-96 shutdown (21 days), which it will pass by the end of this week.

Just because government is shut down doesn’t mean you’re completely out of luck trying to sell into government. You just need to be aware that folks may be under greater than normal degrees of stress and maybe be overworked. That may mean they’re less likely to be in a position to take your call.

So, who’s working and who’s not? Well, for starters, we need to clarify the difference between essential and non-essential personnel. It’s pretty simple: essential personnel at affected agencies are working without pay, whereas non-essential personnel are furloughed at home. Essential personnel are ‘emergency’ personnel who are critical to safety or national security. The departments shut down include: USDA, DOC, DOJ, DHS, DOI, DOS, DOT, HUD, as well as major independents like NASA and the EPA, and a lot of smaller entities that probably don’t affect your sales.

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New DOE Office to Focus on Cyber Threats to Energy Sector

Tom O'Keefe

By Tom O’Keefe, consultant

Facing mounting cybersecurity challenges, the Department of Energy recently created a new office, the Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response (CESER). Karen Evans, a long-term fixture in cybersecurity in the federal government, was confirmed to lead the office on September 4, 2018. Dedicated to shoring up the cybersecurity of the U.S. energy grid, as well as protecting its own IT assets, the formation of CESER yet again demonstrates the government’s focus on protecting critical infrastructure from foreign attacks.

There are opportunities for industry within CESER, although it’s not your typical cyber play, like protecting against malware and viruses; it’s more about threat intelligence, information sharing and cyber situational awareness. Read more of this post

How NASA is Dealing With Their REALLY BIG Data

Tom O'KeefeBy Tom O’Keefe, consultant

Big Data and artificial intelligence are top of mind at NASA this summer. The agency has always collected, sorted, and stored a massive amount of data and made that data available to the public. Now, it’s looking to leverage big data tools to better understand more of the huge volumes of information it has at its fingertips

The focus is on increasing efficiency wherever possible, and it’s this approach you should keep in mind when you’re talking to NASA this year. Here’s what NASA is going to be working on, so make sure you’re tailoring your message appropriately:

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Technology Revving Up at Department of Commerce

Tom O'Keefetechnical financial graph on technology abstract backgroundBy Tom O’Keefe, consultant

There’s a lot happening in IT at the Department of Commerce right now, from preparing to count the U.S. population to conducting research on weather.

But, perhaps the most significant new thing is a shift in the mindset of the IT organizations throughout the department as they strive to set standards for the latest and greatest technologies. Communicating with mission owners and agency executives and conveying the value of IT spend is a top priority.

It’s not enough anymore to just take the requirements and deliver an IT system. Agency IT leaders are collaborating more closely than ever with their business and finance peers to argue the value of every dollar spent. I just released a new webinar on these IT trends at Commerce, which you can view here.

But first, let’s take a look at where and how this is happening across Commerce. Read more of this post

Blockchain is all the rage and now government is interested

Tom O'KeefeblockchainBy Tom O’Keefe, consultant

Everyone’s piling on blockchain as the hip buzzword of the year. Companies that have inserted blockchain in their name have seen their stock prices rise, and simply mentioning that blockchain is part of your technology can be a surefire way to secure investment from venture capital firms.

And now, the federal government is getting in on blockchain, with a recent NIST draft publication highlighting where and when blockchain could be valuable. And federal agencies are paying attention.

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3 opportunities in the president’s budget

Tom O'KeefeBy Tom O’Keefe, consultant

We all know the administration recently released its FY19 budget request. Despite the fact that the president’s budget is effectively dead on arrival, particularly with Congress reaching a budget deal for the remainder of FY18 and FY19, there still may be some worthwhile pieces of information to be gleaned from it. (It should be noted this budget deal does not mean agencies received appropriations, and we’re still operating under a continuing resolution through March 23.)

While the priorities of Congress and the administration won’t always line up, there are places where there may be a general level of agreement on what spending might look like for the next year and a half.

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