GSA planning government-wide cloud BPA: What you need to know

By Adam Hyman, Director, Government Programs

Over the past couple years, immixGroup has tracked discussion about the General Services Administration putting together yet a new acquisition vehicle — this time around for cloud solutions. That initial chatter may now become reality.

In 2019, GSA released an RFI seeking industry input on providing cloud products and services in creative solution bundles, to better help customers with their business/technology needs and to save the government money.

This past October, GSA released another RFI related to cloud, making its intent clearer: GSA intends to establish a government-wide, Multiple Award Blanket Purchase Agreement using the following Special Item Numbers (SINs):

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NASCIO Survey shows three transformation areas: Digital services, cyber and people

By Chauncey Kehoe, SLED Contracts Manager

If 2020 was a roller coaster ride for state CIOs, the priority shaping their decisions now is to push forward with digital transformation.

The National Association of State Chief Information Officers publishes an annual survey of state CIOs and their perspectives. The 2021 State CIO Survey reveals insights from 49 state CIOs on the “short-term and long-term impact of the pandemic.”

The overwhelming consensus amongst state CIOs is that digital services, cyber security and people are going to continue to be top priority over the next year. This marks a shift from 2020, where, understandably, the emphasis was on initiating remote working and more online services for citizen programs.

I attended this year’s NASCIO conference, and what I heard from state CIOs was consistent with the survey findings. Let’s take a look at their current and planned focus areas.

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CMMC 2.0 streamlines requirements for contractors

By Hollie Kapos, Corporate Counsel

In September 2020, DoD published an interim rule to implement CMMC, which became effective November 30, 2020. The DoD received over 850 public comments in response, citing concerns with cost, trust in the assessment ecosystem, and alignment to other federal requirements.

Accordingly, it began an internal assessment of CMMC policy and implementation and, as a result, DoD has just announced CMMC 2.0, which makes several substantial changes from the original model.

Levels streamlined in CMMC 2.0

Levels 2 and 4 have been removed, so there are now only three instead of five levels of compliance as follows:

  • CMMC Level 1, Foundational – Requires implementation of the 17 controls from NIST SP 800-171 enumerated in FAR 52.204-21 and submission of an annual self-assessment to the DoD through the Supplier Performance Risk System (SPRS).  
  • CMMC Level 2, Advanced – Requires implementation of the 110 controls in NIST SP 800-171 and submission of an annual self-assessment or, if required to handle “critical national security information” (currently undefined), a triennial independent assessment performed by a CMMC Third Party Assessment Organization (C3PAO). 
  • CMMC Level 3, Expert – Requires implementation of the 110 controls in NIST SP 800-171 and a subset of controls from NIST SP 800-172 and a triennial government-led assessment. Requirements for level 3 are still being developed.
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Public Sector Basics, Part One: Know your audience

By Jimmy Baker, Public Sector Marketing Strategist

Understanding your government customers and how they gather information about technology solutions is vital for anyone involved in business development, capture efforts, marketing and selling. This blog looks at the differences between audience demographics at the federal, state and local government level, and how to address your marketing message accordingly.

First, however, I’ll let you in on a great resource. Market Connections publishes their Content Marketing Review, which is among the best surveys I’ve seen elaborating on what types of information the public sector needs to make decisions and where they go to get it.

As I mentioned in a previous blog, I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing Mari Canizales Coache from Market Connections about the study results and have had some riveting conversations. Here are some insights I’ve gleaned that should help you understand your audiences a little more.

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Encouraging the next generation to join the cybersecurity workforce

By Gail Bamford, Brand Marketing Manager

In support of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) Cybersecurity Career Awareness Week, immixGroup and Arrow Electronics recently hosted two webinars: “Women in Cyber” and “Careers in Cybersecurity for Liberal Arts.” Each event featured a panel of technology leaders. These important discussions are a “must-see” for business professionals, education leadership, parents, students, and individuals seeking a career change.

The goal of the NIST NICE Cybersecurity Career Week is to bring awareness to careers in cyber. According to cyberseek.org, there are 464,420 unfilled cybersecurity positions in America. As cybercrime as well as the level of sophistication of attacks rises, so does the need to educate and raise up the next generation of cyber defenders. 

A recent survey on women in the field of cybersecurity revealed that men outnumber women three to one. However, the percentages of women in key cybersecurity leadership positions are increasing. The “Women in Cyber” webinar discussion featured a panel of cybersecurity leaders sharing their insights on the field of cybersecurity. 

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Vaccine requirements for federal contractors: The latest Task Force guidance basics

By Jeff Ellinport, Division Counsel

As anticipated in my last blog, on September 24, 2021, the White House’s Safer Federal Workforce Task Force issued its expected guidance implementing the vaccination requirements for federal prime contractors and subcontractors. This action was pursuant to Executive Order 14042 (Ensuring Adequate COVID Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors) that President Biden issued on September 9.

While the guidance directly answered some questions posed in my last blog, it also created others. Here are the basics.

Requirements

The guidance sets out three main requirements:

  1. COVID-19 vaccination of covered contractor employees, except in limited circumstances where an employee is legally entitled to an accommodation
  2. Compliance by individuals, including covered contractor employees and visitors, with the guidance related to masking and physical distancing while in covered contractor workplaces
  3. Designation by covered contractors of a person or persons to coordinate COVID-19 workplace safety efforts at covered contractor workplaces
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Most valuable types of information you can provide to government IT decision-makers

By Jimmy Baker, Public Sector Marketing Strategist

The last federal fiscal year was truly one for the history books and COVID-19 has changed the way government decision-makers receive and monitor information.

Like many marketing professionals around the country, I stay up to date on the latest trends in government policy, spending and marketing. With a FY22 technology budget of approximately $95B, I want to make sure the assets I create deliver value and resonate with government stakeholders.  

For the last several years, Market Connections has published the Content Marketing Review. This study is truly one of the best surveys out there on what and where the public sector is going for information. This report takes the time to break down the differences (in terms of content preference) between the federal government, state and local government and the education marketplaces.  

Here are the top three things I learned about the federal government from the 2021 Content Marketing Review:  

  1. 81% of government leaders will read research reports 
  2. 72% of government leaders will read white papers 
  3. 61% of government leaders attend webinars 

We have all heard the phrase “content is king.” However, the government needs some precise information before looking at a vendor’s content. This report provides vital insights and details that is a must read to anyone that markets and sells technology products and services to the public sector.  

Please make plans to read my blog next month as I interview Market Connection’s Mari Canizales Coache and go deeper into the results of the latest surveys on where government decision-makers go to learn more about technology products and services.  

Keep on top of the latest trends in government IT. Subscribe to immixGroup’s Government Sales Insider blog now!

Learn more about Market Connections’ 2021 Content Market Review.

Vaccine requirements for federal contractors: What we know today

By Jeff Ellinport, Division Counsel

In the next 10 days, expect specific guidance on how federal contractors will need to respond to the COVID vaccine mandate from the Biden administration.

On September 9, 2021, President Biden issued an Executive Order “Ensuring Adequate COVID Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors” (the “EO”). This order will require many federal contractors to have their employees either fully vaccinated or subject to regular COVID-19 testing.

Here is what we know 

The EO leaves some of the details regarding the requirements for federal contractors to others. Specifically, the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is to issue an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) in a few weeks, and the recently created Safer Federal Workforce Task Force (the “Task Force”) is to issue specific federal contractor guidance by September 24.

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NASCIO Conference to address SLED technology and spending, and honors immixGroup with Longevity Award

By Chauncey Kehoe, SLED Contracts Manager

Each year, The National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) selects a recipient of its five-year Corporate Membership Longevity Award. At this year’s meeting, which will be held in Seattle, Wash. from October 10-13, that award will be proudly accepted by immixGroup, Inc.

The Corporate Membership Longevity Award is a significant accomplishment for companies in the state, local and education (SLED) market, because of NASCIO’s respected standing in the industry.

NASCIO’s mission is to foster government excellence through leadership of quality business practices, information management and technology. Through NASCIO’s members-only community, immixGroup has had the opportunity to participate in discussion forums, collaborate with government and industry leaders and take away lessons learned from NASCIO events.

The most valuable benefit we have gained through our NASCIO membership is the ability to understand SLED technology needs and spending trends through committees and working groups. These groups usually consist of SLED chief information officers and industry leaders. The topics range from IT trends to post pandemic life. As participants, we are able to relay this information back to our suppliers and resellers to better prepare them for selling into the SLED space.

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Make it easier for your Army customers: How the ITES-SW2 helps you sell into this market

By Tara Franzonello, GSA Programs Consultant

Are you selling or planning to sell to the Army? Then you need to add your company and its products to the Information Technology Enterprise Solutions – Software 2 contract.

Nearly 3% of DoD IT contract spending in FY 2020 flowed through an ITES contract – that’s $1.64 billion. The Army believes that number will increase over the next couple of years.  

The ITES-SW2 contract is part of the Army’s Computer Hardware, Enterprise Software and Solutions (CHESS) program. It is a mandatory source for commercial IT hardware and software purchases. Here’s how the two connect:

The CHESS program’s mission is to be the primary source to “support the Warfighter’s Information Dominance Objectives” by developing, implementing and managing commercial IT contracts that provide “enterprise-wide net-centric hardware, software and supporting services to the Army.” 

CHESS contracts provide IT products and services that comply with U.S. Army Network Enterprise Technology Command, Army and DoD policy and standards. Army commercial hardware and software buyers must use CHESS contracts first, no matter the dollar value.

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