What is a set-aside?

By Chris Wiedemann, consultant

Over the last few months, I’ve blogged on the basics of government contracting and selling to government customers – focusing on things like contract vehicles, the Federal Acquisition Regulations, the General Services Administration and federal cybersecurity requirements.

Taken together, those topics describe a basic framework for government procurement and the way industry interacts with it. They also demonstrate that public sector customers (both federal and state/local) behave differently than customers in the commercial space.

However, we haven’t yet addressed one of the most fundamental differences between public and private sector customers: The government, in addition to needing industry to help fulfill its mission, has a broad incentive to encourage economic growth across all sectors of American industry. Often, this growth means prioritizing small businesses over large corporations in contracting – and there are a set of contracting tools, known as set-asides, that enable just that.

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What are FISMA and FedRAMP?

By Chris Wiedemann, consultant

Whether you’re a veteran of federal IT sales or a complete newcomer to the space, there’s one recurring theme you’ve probably noticed in the way our customers talk to industry: regardless of their mission or program, they all mention cybersecurity as a critical part of their job.

Given the sheer number of incidents and the size and scope of federal networks, not to mention the often sensitive information they contain, the focus on security makes business sense. However, as is often the case with government, there’s an extra factor to their behavior – they’re required by law to secure federal networks. One law in particular – the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) – plays a critical role in determining how agencies need to secure their environments.

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What is the GSA?

By Chris Wiedemann, consultant

Any company that’s in government contracting or interested in doing business in the public sector should be familiar with the General Services Administration.

If you’ve been following my “What is…?” series, you’ve learned some of the basics of government contracting and knowing the GSA is yet another rung on the ladder.

GSA primarily provides office space for government employees by constructing, managing and preserving government buildings and by leasing and managing commercial real estate. In fact, GSA is the largest landlord in the country.

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What is the FAR?

By Chris Wiedemann, consultant

We’ve established by now that government contracting is one of the most complicated business segments to work in. Part of what makes it so cumbersome is the plethora of rules and regulations, all packaged neatly in the hunk of a publication known as the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR).

This multi-part document, established more than 40 years ago through the Office of Federal Procurement Policy Act of 1974, outlines all the rules and regulations that most federal agencies follow when buying goods and services.

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What is a contract vehicle?

what-isChris Wiedemann_65 x 85By Chris Wiedemann, senior consultant

Last month, I began our “What is…?” series by looking at the very basics of government contracting. However, that information can only get you so far – knowing the size of the market doesn’t tell you how to capture any of it.

To that end, today’s post is going to look at one of the building blocks of selling technology – or anything else – to the federal government: contract vehicles.

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What is government contracting?

Chris Wiedemann_65 x 85what-isBy Chris Wiedemann, consultant

Are you surprised by our headline? Don’t be. Selling to the government is like doing business with a foreign country. It has its own culture, language and customs and it’s truly unlike doing business in the commercial world.

Our industry is so full of terms and nuances that are hard for many of us to define to a layperson, which is why we’re kicking off a monthly “What is…” blog series to help alleviate some of the head scratching. So let’s get started.

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