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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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 the government’s latest report card really means

Chris Wiedemann

FITARA, IT modernization, report cardBy Chris Wiedemann, consultant

If the federal government were our 8th grade son or daughter, their cell phone would probably be taken away for the rest of the school year.

The government’s latest Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) report card, released earlier this month, has six agencies getting worse grades since the last report card in June, 15 staying the same and only three agencies making better grades. The U.S. Agency for International Development was the only one to earn an A.

While we’re not talking about algebra and biology here, the results show agencies falling behind in IT modernization. But it could mean an opportunity for tech companies that sell to government.

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This tech is not scary to government

converged, infrastructureBy Kevin Shaker, senior analyst

As government agencies make progress in eliminating siloed data centers and systems, the market for connected and hyper-converged technology is getting stronger.

Agencies are looking for suppliers that can help systems runs more efficiently and faster, so connected technologies that aid in virtualization, storage and networking will be the emphasized technologies for growth in FY18. The government spent more than $1.2 billion on connected technologies in FY17.

What has been driving the push toward connected and hyper-converged technology are regulations such as the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative, the Data Center Optimization Initiative and Cloud First policies. These policies have been tremendously effective at reducing costs from legacy stovepiped IT while streamlining functionality by encouraging purchasing of cutting-edge integration and converged systems.

Here are examples of how the government is utilizing hyper-converged platforms:

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What is a solicitation?

Chris WiedemannWhat is a prime and a sub?By Chris Wiedemann, consultant

In our last “What is…?” post, we covered one of the basics of federal contracting: the concept of a prime contractor and subcontractors, or “primes” and “subs.” However, we left a key question unanswered – how does the government actually decide which company to award prime contracts to?

As you might expect, there are a lot of moving parts involved in the awarding of government contracts, whether you’re talking about relatively simple product buys or complex, multi-layered systems development and integration work. No matter the scope, though, the competition process usually begins in one place – the solicitation.

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