What Is a Program?

By Lloyd McCoy, Senior Market Intelligence Manager

If you’ve attended any of immixGroup’s briefings or webinars, you’ve probably heard us say that programs are the most important insertion points for most technology purchases within the federal government, especially for COTS products. In this blog we’ll walk through why they are important and what you should know before engaging with program offices.

But first, what is a program?

Programs, or more formally Programs of Record, are budget line items that exist to fulfill an agency’s mission. The Department of Defense’s definition is a good one and applies governmentwide: a funded effort that provides a new, improved, or continuing materiel, weapon or information system or service capability in response to an approved need. That pretty much sums up a program’s purpose, whether it’s DHS, USDA or DOD. Program managers run the program and most programs include some IT. Some programs are only IT focused.

Program Offices, Program Managers

Programs are so important because they are at the sweet spot of a department’s technology acquisition hierarchy with the program manager being senior enough to have a role in shaping the strategy and policy discussions surrounding the program’s mission. In addition, his or her office also represents the end user who will be using your product or service in the course of doing their job. Consequently, the program office has a central role in influencing the specifications and choices around the product or service.

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Top Four 2021 State CIO Priorities

By Charles Castelly, SLED Analyst

The release of the Top Ten Priorities for State CIOs in 2021 in December by the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO), places digital government at the top of the list for the second year in a row. The pandemic has accelerated the adoption of certain technologies by government as they look to provide quicker and more efficient services to citizens and employees.

Looking at the year ahead, state governments recognize that they will continue to need technology solutions that support digital modernization for applications that enable remote workforce accessibility and online interactions with citizens. Here are the top four technology priorities that CIOs are looking for:

(1) Cloud Solutions

With the migration of traditional in-person services online, cloud technologies are crucial to deliver services en masse. Cloud solutions allow agencies to operate more efficiently, delivering services to a larger number of citizens. However, agencies will need vendor assistance to help them through the migration process so that services are migrated seamlessly, with no loss in uptime.

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SLED 101 Series – What is the SLED market?

By Rachel Eckert, SLED Market Intelligence Manager

Welcome to the first blog of our SLED 101 series. Over the next few months, you’ll see a series of blogs that walk through the basics of the state, local and education markets. Topics will include understanding the budget cycles, identifying the IT budget, navigating CIO priorities, understanding procurement, differentiating master contracts and cooperative contracts, and finally, comparing the SLED market to the federal market.

To kick things off, I wanted to start by defining what the SLED market entails and why understanding their independence is crucial to success. When we talk about SLED, we are talking about more than 90,000 different government organizations.

  • 50 States
  • 3,000+ Counties / Boroughs / Parishes
  • 36,000+ Cities / Towns / Municipalities
  • 12,000+ Public School Systems
  • 2,000+ Higher Education Institutions
  • 38,000+ Special Districts
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Top Federal Civilian Cybersecurity Trends in FY21

By Jessica Parks, Market Intelligence Analyst

With the recent Solarwinds breach, IT vendors who sell to the government may be wondering about its impact on their customers’ needs. Federal civilian agencies have already made cybersecurity a top priority for FY21, so while the breach by itself will not directly spur significant new initiatives or projects, it still emphasized the urgency of getting defenses up to speed.

With fresh awareness around cybersecurity gaps, there has never been a better time to check on your government customers and help them fulfill their security needs. Read on for a high-level overview of the top 3 trends in federal cybersecurity for FY21.

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3 Public Resources You Need to Prepare for Meeting With DOD

By Toné Mason, Senior Analyst

Abraham Lincoln once said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”

Investing time in being prepared prior to meeting with a government contact is vital — especially if you are diving into new departments and agencies within the DOD. Here are 3 top public resources at your disposal – and they are free!

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NIST IoT Security Guidelines Will Impact Federal Vendors

Lloyd McCoy Jr.

By Lloyd McCoy, Market Intelligence Manager

Last week, NIST released draft IoT security guidelines which will have far reaching impacts on security requirements contractors must follow before selling IoT-related technology to the government. These guidelines are some of the action items coming from the IoT Cybersecurity Improvement Act of 2020, a law passed in December that calls for established cybersecurity standards for IoT devices purchased by the federal government.

The new law requires NIST and OMB to shape and enforce security standards agencies need to follow when purchasing IoT devices. NIST has until March 2021 to finalize standards and guidelines. These draft regulations represent that first step. Vendors are invited to submit comments by February 12, 2021 – and they should take advantage of this opportunity!

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Helping States Align the Right Resources to Combat the Opioid Crisis

By Charles Castelly, SLED Market Intelligence Analyst

States are increasingly relying on a multi-pronged, data-centric approach to tackle some of the biggest health crises of our time. The Commonwealth of Virginia, like many other state and local governments is grappling with containing both the current pandemic as well as the ongoing opioid crisis, both of which continue to ravage communities according to Carlos Rivero, Virginia’s chief data officer in a recent podcast interview.

Fortunately, in tackling the ongoing opioid crisis, a few best practices and lessons learned have emerged that industry should take note of when pursuing opportunities here. States like Virginia now realize that a fully integrated and coordinated combination of cloud services, enterprise applications and cutting-edge cybersecurity is most effective for tracking and anticipating where resources are needed most.

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2020: A Year of Continued Government Contract Growth for immixGroup

By Adam Hyman, Director, Government Programs

2020 will certainly be a memorable year for the obvious reasons. It was also a busy year for government contractors with a host of new government regulations, initiatives and opportunities for new contract vehicles. At immixGroup, we kept very busy throughout the year acquiring new vehicles – both federal and SLED – to support our suppliers’ and partners’ go-to-market strategies and to enable their efficient revenue growth.

Protecting Our Base

During this past year, immixGroup first ensured that we maintained the contracts we currently hold, which are critical to our suppliers’ and partners’ success. On the federal side, immixGroup finalized an extension to one of its largest contracts, NASA SEWP V, for an additional, and final, 5-year period.

Additionally, immixGroup executed extensions to its Army ITES-SW contract to avoid lapse in coverage while the Army finalized awards for its follow-on contract. immixGroup also executed extensions to some of its various DoD ESI Agreements and several SLED contracts, including Pennsylvania COSTARS, State of Oklahoma, and one of its CMAS contracts.

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GSA Unpriced Schedules – A Welcome Change Is Coming

By Jeff Ellinport, Division Counsel

The General Services Administration (GSA) might soon make a shift in federal procurement from contract-level pricing to order-level competition. That’s good for vendors because it could reduce the time it takes to get products on contract.

The Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Section 876 of the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (Pub. L. 115-232) was issued by GSA on August 19. It allows GSA to implement “unpriced schedules.” On Oct. 20, GSA kicked off the first of several industry “listening sessions” on how to best implement this authority.

Currently, before a GSA Schedule contract is awarded or new items added to an existing one, GSA contracting officers determine fair and reasonable prices of supplies or services (fixed price or hourly). Negotiation follows after offerors submit various data, information and documentation to support their pricing.

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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

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