3 opportunities in the president’s budget

Tom O'KeefeBy Tom O’Keefe, consultant

We all know the administration released its FY19 budget request earlier this week. 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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How to capture more IT business from HHS in FY18

Chris Wiedemann

By Chris Wiedemann, consultant

I have worked with immixGroup’s suppliers and partners on a wide range of federal agencies and their IT requirements and buying patterns. And one department consistently stands out as the most commonly asked about: Health and Human Services (HHS).

Diving into the numbers makes it clear why. At $13.8 billion, HHS’s top line IT budget is several times bigger than other large non-defense agencies. And although most of that money goes straight out the door in the form of grants to state and local agencies, the remainder still makes HHS the largest non-defense IT agency in government.

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How to manage in an uncertain budget climate

Chris WiedemannBy Chris Wiedemann, consultant

It’s safe to say that, over the last few years, industry and government have both gotten used to a certain amount of dysfunction in the appropriations process. We haven’t had a full package of 12 appropriations bills since 2008; some combination of omnibus appropriations and continuing resolutions (CR) is the new normal.

However, even by those standards, this fiscal year has been rocky – a series of short CRs, followed by the first government shutdown since 2013. In the end, that shutdown lasted less than a day, as Congress passed a CR funding the government through Feb. 8.

This is good news in that our customers have appropriations again, and can keep the lights on for the next three weeks. If you’re lucky or were working on closing deals before funding expired on Jan. 19, those contracts may close during this CR. Unfortunately, there’s a downside to the deal: Without getting lost in politics, there’s a very good chance that we’ll be right back where we started when this current appropriation period ends.
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Why government needs help getting smarter at the edge

Tom O'Keefeinternet of things, intelligent edgeBy Tom O’Keefe, consultant

One of the major emerging topics in government is how to best analyze data gathered from the ever-increasing amount of sensors at or near the edge, rather than bringing it back to large data centers where the majority of compute lives. There are many questions around how the public sector starts to use this data and whether they can make informed decisions on the ground.

immixGroup hosted a panel discussion on this very topic at the recent Government IT Sales Summit. Panelists, including Ian Doyle, executive security advisor for IBM’s Security Business Unit, and Ashish Parikh, vice president of IoT platforms at Arrow Electronics, discussed the evolution and transformation of IT at the edge.

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What you should know about the future of machines

machine learning, artificial intelligenceBy Mark Wisinger, senior analyst

2017 saw machine learning become the de-facto in-vogue technology, whether the conversation was about data, cybersecurity or even traditional business systems.

In December, Google’s AlphaZero chess engine, utilizing Google’s DeepMind AI, crushed the incumbent chess engine champion, Stockfish. Google’s DeepMind relies heavily on machine learning – the AlphaZero chess engine did not start with any human knowledge, yet was able to learn how to beat Stockfish in 400 hours through machine learning. It’s a clear victory for machine learning – but one that’s easy to simulate. This is a much easier use case than identifying noise from cyber threats or prioritizing and cleaning multiple forms of data.

At immixGroup’s Government IT Sales Summit, we hosted a discussion on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning with Ron Gula, president and co-founder of Gula Tech Adventures and former CEO and co-founder of Tenable Networks, Dr. William Vanderlinde, chief scientist at the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) and Rich Friedrich, senior director of cyber security analytics at Micro Focus Government Solutions.

Here are key takeaways to keep in mind when you discuss machine learning and AI with your government customers:

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Is this the new way of modernizing old systems?

Chris WiedemannMGT Act, tech modernization

By Chris Wiedemann, consultant

If you attended the Civilian FY18 Federal Budget Briefing at immixGroup’s most recent Government IT Sales Summit, one theme should have resonated throughout: the new ways government agencies are approaching the old problem of legacy system modernization.

It can be challenging to separate rhetoric from action sometimes, but there’s real energy in government around addressing the challenges of technology overhauls. Agencies are taking a customer-centric approach to design and development, with agile methodologies and human-centric design really becoming deep-rooted in civilian IT groups – and, perhaps more importantly, they’ve gotten an assist from Congress in the form of the Modernizing Government Technology (MGT) Act, which was signed into law as part of the FY18 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

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What you need to know about changes at DOD

Stephanie MeloniDepartment of Defense

By Stephanie Meloni, consultant, and Mark Wisinger, senior analyst

The Department of Defense and military services have been making strides to ensure DOD can modernize its capabilities across domains and stay ahead of threats. Facing budget shortfalls for the past few years has raised concerns about adversaries catching up to the U.S. With the DOD’s requested budget increase for the coming years, it will be looking to technology to restore readiness shortfalls and maintain the military edge.

Here are some of the major changes technology companies will want to be aware of in 2018:

CYBERCOM’s elevation to full command status

Expect CYBERCOM to officially become a Combatant Command by the end of October 2018, which will coincide with it reaching full operating capability. This also speaks to the ever-increasing emphasis on cyber as a warfighting domain, and one of its major focus areas will be automating cyber defense.

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