2020 Federal Contracts: A Busy Year for New Regulations and Initiatives

By Hollie Kapos, Corporate Counsel

With all that happened in 2020, it was easy to miss some of the new regulations and initiatives impacting government contractors. This blog summarizes the key updates immixGroup has been tracking that are particularly relevant to commercial item contracting.

January-Current

GSA MAS Consolidation. Twenty-four former GSA Schedules, each for different supplies and services, were consolidated into a single schedule. We started the year in Phase II of the GSA MAS Consolidation, which was the process of updating terms and conditions to reflect the new solicitation. Phase II was completed in July, with 99% of contractors signing the mass modification. Under Phase III, which began in August, multiple vendor contracts will be consolidated into single contracts. Read more of this post

Three Top Cloud Opportunities in the SLED Market

By Rachel Eckert, SLED Market Intelligence Manager

As I discussed in my recent session at the Arrow Technology Summit (now available on-demand), state and local governments are slowly making investments to upgrade and update aging legacy IT systems. As they do, they are presented with opportunities to increase their use of the cloud to provide digital and online services that will expand their constituent support — an especially important goal as many government buildings are currently closed.

While state governments are making larger and more substantial migrations to cloud services, many states are still working on what I’ll call the basics, things like email or other collaboration tools. Also topping the list are disaster recovery and office productivity tools. States that had already migrated these solutions to the cloud have had a significant advantage in terms of their preparedness to support a large-scale work-from-home environment. Read more of this post

Finding Strategic Opportunities in Flat Federal IT Budgets

By Jessica Parks, Analyst

While federal agencies are currently making do with their FY20 budgets for IT, the end date for the current continuing resolution looms on December 11. A few agencies, such as the Department of Veterans Affairs, have requested a significant uptick in FY21 IT funding for large ongoing projects. However, for other agencies such as Treasury, Justice and Homeland Security, IT funding will remain steady or even drop a bit.

It is important to keep in mind that “steady” does not automatically equal a drop in opportunities. The mission continues regardless, and the focus is going to be on working smarter and more efficiently. Here are three focus points to consider when your customer is looking to squeeze every drop out of a flat IT budget.

1) Automation and Machine Learning Solutions

Departments across the entire federal government, both defense and civilian, are already incorporating automated solutions to make their employees’ lives easier. To work within tight budgets and (sometimes) shrinking workforces,  departments are automating business processes, parts of customer service operations and some cyber operations. The goal is not just speed, but also efficiency and accuracy. Read more of this post

SLED Cybersecurity Opportunities: The “Whole-of-State” Approach

By Rachel Eckert, SLED Market Intelligence Manager

Cybersecurity incidents increase every year, and state, local and education entities are struggling to respond in the face of limited funding and resources.

As I talked about in a recent virtual event, that response is taking the form of a synchronized “whole-of-state” approach to state and local cybersecurity initiatives. In this approach, all stakeholders – state IT, national guard, local law enforcement, local government and schools – are pulled together to develop a cohesive and coordinated response plan. The plan leverages state services, such as incident management, awareness and training, forensics, use of the security operations center and vulnerability management.

The potentially good news here is that additional federal funding may be coming to help states and local governments tackle cyber issues. The House has passed the State & Local Cybersecurity Improvement Act. If enacted as law, this measure will provide some $400M per year for states to coordinate with local governments on a cohesive security plan and response strategy, and to support upgrades to state and local systems.

Here are just a few categories of opportunities to consider, in this new era of SLED cybersecurity: Read more of this post

Federal Tech Priorities in the Next Administration Will Not Change

Lloyd McCoy Jr.

By Lloyd McCoy, Market Intelligence Senior Manager

Regardless of changes in administration, count on federal government priorities staying steady over the next four years. You can look for continued focus on data use, the cloud and government procurement, as well as supply chain securityparticularly for emerging technologies like 5G.

Why? Many IT initiatives have been codified by laws.

For example, both the SECURE Technology Act and recent National Defense Authorization Act require the federal government to reduce supply chain threats and set criteria for products that may pose risks to the government. For vendors, it’s more important than ever to be able to trace exactly where your products originate.

The Modernizing Government Technology Act (MGT) allows agencies to apply money to IT modernization programs through working capital funds. The Technology Modernization Fund lets agencies borrow for emergency modernization projects. Vendors would be well advised to pay attention to what agencies are doing here to understand procurement goals. Read more of this post

Top CAPEX IT Investment Areas in DoD’s Fourth Estate for FY21

By Toné Mason, Senior Analyst

We have officially made it to FY21 and my final installment about the Department of Defense’s top FY21 CAPEX investment areas. There’s nothing better to finish the series with than the Fourth Estate, or DoD non-warfighting agencies.

According to the FY21 President’s Budget Request, these agencies are on track to see a boost in CAPEX funding this fiscal year of $2.2B! Here are the programs receiving the top dollars:

(1) Department of Defense Healthcare Management System Modernization – DHMSM

With an increase of 68% over FY20, the DHMSM program is expected to receive more than $460M. This program will receive the most CAPEX funding across the entire Department of Defense – including service components. Read more of this post

Artificial Intelligence Aids in Delivering State and Local Services

By Charles Castelly, SLED Analyst

Last year a joint survey by NASCIO and the Center for Digital Government surveyed state government leaders about the promise and potential of artificial intelligence. When the survey was released, artificial intelligence (AI) was just starting to gain traction in state governments. Being forced to deliver vital citizen services in the current environment has led to a massive adoption of AI, and has allowed states to respond more quickly to requests while gaining operational efficiencies.

According to a recent report by the Center for Digital Government, early adoption has been primarily within health and human services agencies because of the increased demand for online services, and in recent months for unemployment insurance.

Other areas that are experimenting with AI include the departments of transportation, which are looking at it for traffic management. There are also plans for public safety agencies to use image recognition to help identify license plates and workforce development agencies to use robotic process automation to help them shorten their response time to citizens.

Here are three drivers behind AI adoption: Read more of this post

Recent NASCIO 2020 Survey Reveals Shifting CIO Priorities

By Rachel Eckert, SLED Manager

State governments have been on a roller-coaster ride as they have had to deal with a wide range of obstacles that have presented themselves in the last nine months. Responding to immediate enterprise-wide remote work requirements and the dramatic increases in online service demand have made it a particularly challenging time. But, at the same time, it has given states an opportunity to move forward transformation and modernization initiatives.

The National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) publishes an annual survey of state CIOs and their perspectives. The 2020 State CIO Survey reveals insights from 47 states on how they are managing their IT enterprise and infrastructure and what they are anticipating in the upcoming year.

The overwhelming assumption by state CIOs is that work-from-home and remote-work options will not only continue but expand. In fact, CIOs from the States of Tennessee and Vermont believe that most of their workforces will be working from home through the remainder of the current school year. Read more of this post

Top 3 FY21 Opportunities at the Department of Education

By Jessica Parks, Analyst

With another busy year end in the rearview mirror, it’s time to look to FY21. While large agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services always attract attention due to their budgets and high-visibility projects, it’s important to remember that other agencies across government also require your assistance to deliver, innovate and economize.

One such agency, the Department of Education, has requested $5 million for FY21 to establish a Working Capital Fund, showing that accelerating IT modernization will be a priority. Read on for the top 3 areas poised for significant investment.

1) NextGen Federal Student Aid (FSA)

Located in the Office of Federal Student Aid, this approximately $1B program seeks to improve the experience of external customers (such as students) in their interactions with FSA. The program covers a myriad of areas, from business process management to cybersecurity to data management and analytics. High on the list for FY21 are mobile solutions, self-service tools (think machine learning and AI solutions) and records and content management.  Read more of this post

CMMC Interim Rule Includes New Compliance Requirements

By Hollie Kapos, Corporate Counsel

You never know what surprises will pop up in the last few days of the government’s fiscal year, and this year there was a big one with the Interim Rule implementing DOD’s Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC).

The Interim Rule (“IR”), published on September 29, 2020 and effective as of November 30, 2020, adds the widely anticipated new DFARS clause for inclusion in DOD contracts implementing CMMC: 252.204-7021 (Contractor Compliance with the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification Level Requirement). No surprise there.

But, the IR unexpectedly came with two additional clauses, DFARS 252.204-7019 (Notice of NIST SP 800-171 DOD Assessment Requirements) and DFARS 252.204-7020 (NIST SP 800-171 DOD Assessment Requirements), which require the immediate attention of federal contractors and their subs.  Read more of this post

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