Are commercial online marketplaces in the government’s future?

By Steve Charles, immixGroup co-founder

Proposed legislation out of the House Armed Services Committee would give the Department of Defense and other federal agencies the ability to buy commercial items (COTS) via online marketplaces without contracting officers having to determine price reasonableness before ordering. To make sure prices paid are competitive at the time, the marketplaces would provide all kinds of data to the government, including posted prices for similar, competitive items on the system at the time of sale. Suppliers would be able to update pricing in real-time.

DOD has long complained about GSA Schedule contracts, as well as GSA’s online marketplace, GSA Advantage, arguing that it’s not a real marketplace.  Product catalogs are not current, pricing is not maintained in real-time and many of the contractors lack strategic relationships with the manufacturers of the products represented.  Agencies put in orders on GSA Advantage, only to learn two weeks later that those ordered items are not actually available. Even people at GSA have told me that it’s much more reliable and cheaper for them to leverage the micro-purchase rules and use commercial shopping sites.

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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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What government needs to do to speed up cyber defenses

Lloyd McCoy Jr.By Lloyd McCoy, DOD manager

Two cyber breaches at the Office of Personnel Management in 2015 prompted the federal government to move quickly to award $500 million worth of government-wide BPAs for identity monitoring and data breach response and protection services.

It begs the question of where that money was before the problem.

More problems like this are increasingly likely as we all rely on more IT infrastructures that may not be up to the challenge of increased use. Down the road, better coordination between tech vendors and buyers before the acquisition process will be able to stem the cyber tide. But what do we do in the meantime with what we have now?

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Will cloud finally take off for state & local?

Rachel EckertBy Rachel Eckert, SLED consultant

Doesn’t it seem like every year is declared the year of cloud? But 2017 could actually kick off some serious cloud adoption in state and local governments for the next few years.

The state of Utah recently awarded master agreements to a variety of companies, including immixGroup, to provide cloud solutions through the NASPO ValuePoint multi-state cooperative procurement program. The master agreements are available to all 50 states and cover a full range of cloud solutions.

The contract has the potential to spur significant cloud adoption within states and localities, especially those with smaller budgets or where cloud initiatives haven’t moved as quickly. A few factors are already setting up the contract for success.

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6 tips for finding opportunities in the $80 billion federal IT market

tkanalyticswebinar_022117barbara-austinBy Tim Knob, data analyst, and Barbara Austin, database manager

The government market is a huge opportunity for the tech industry. But it’s also one of the hardest to navigate, from following all of its rules and regulations to even finding the best opportunities that align with your company’s tech specialty.

What many in the industry may not be aware of is the vast amount of publicly-available resources that can help unearth some of those opportunities. There’s everything from Exhibits 53 and 300 to government websites full of valuable information on priorities.

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What is government contracting?

Chris Wiedemann_65 x 85what-isBy Chris Wiedemann, consultant

Are you surprised by our headline? Don’t be. Selling to the government is like doing business with a foreign country. It has its own culture, language and customs and it’s truly unlike doing business in the commercial world.

Our industry is so full of terms and nuances that are hard for many of us to define to a layperson, which is why we’re kicking off a monthly “What is…” blog series to help alleviate some of the head scratching. So let’s get started.

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