Truths and Lies About Year-End Funding

Chris Wiedemann

By Chris Wiedemann, consultant

The end of another government fiscal year means another September, with all the craziness and excitement that it brings. As we’ve noted before, the government doles out an average of 40 percent of its annual IT expenditure in the final month of the fiscal year. In fact, given the relatively late arrival of this year’s appropriations, we might see that share go up this year. The conditions are ripe for a hectic four-week period, where we should all expect long hours to make sure every order gets filled.

You’ll also want to make sure you’re keeping an eye on the phones, no matter when they ring — September is the month for blue birds, but you need to be responsive to land those last-minute deals and capture year-end money. Steve Charles, one of immixGroup’s co-founders, has a great video running down other best practices for the end of the government fiscal year you might want to review.

All that said, I do want to address a common misconception about year-end money: in most cases, customers aren’t going to identify any new requirements for FY18. One of the most common requests our market intelligence team gets is to help reps “find” year-end deals — but the realities of the government buying cycle make it impossible to accurately track which customers have the right combination of unfulfilled requirements and unspent budget. Don’t add to the stress of the month by chasing new deals – instead, keep the following tips in mind:

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The Truth About Federal Year-End Money

Rita Walston - headshotcontinuing resolution, install base, federal government, budgetBy Rita Walston, senior director, marketing programs

The federal government spends upwards of $90 billion every year on IT. By June, a surprising amount of the budget remains unspent and unobligated. And every year around this time, technology vendors hope to cash in on the year-end money the federal government must spend by the end of the fiscal year — September 30.

Is there anything that sales and marketing can do this late in the fiscal year to help bring in additional revenue?

Yes, says a panel of former government executives who debated this topic at the immixGroup Government IT Sales Summit last November — especially if your company has already done a good job building relationships with the customer and positioning your product or service.

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3 Questions Every COTS Vendor Should Ask in Preparation for FY16

End of FY15_CWChris Wiedemann_65 x 85by Chris Wiedemann, Senior Analyst

It’s the last couple days of the 2015 government fiscal year, which to most of us means only one thing: closing year-end business. Selling COTS products to the government can get pretty hectic around this time of year, so you’d be forgiven for overlooking a salient and somewhat worrying fact: we still have no agency funding for FY16.

With exactly 2 days left of FY15 (and counting) the only existing Continuing Resolution (CR) flat lined in the Senate, although Congress does appear poised to pass a clean CR which has a good chance of making it to the President’s desk. Still, they are dealing with a very tight deadline and we might be in for another brief government shutdown before Congress can put a short-term CR in place.

The good news is, we’ve been here before. The beginning of FY14 became famous for its 16-day government shutdown. While it was painful for both the government and its industry partners, COTS manufacturers made a rebound, showing strong results at the end of the fiscal year. In the event of another shutdown, the best advice we can give to the COTS community is “hold tight.” While having most of your customers furloughed to begin a fiscal year isn’t ideal — and the impacts of a shutdown on the larger economy are significant COTS vendors will likely emerge more or less unscathed. All that being said, there are still important questions that need to be answered and issues that need to be addressed as we enter FY16’s uncertain beginning. Read more of this post

30-day Cybersecurity Sprint is History – What Now? Part II

Steve Headshot 65 x 85Cybersprintby Steve Charles, Co-founder

Last week I went over FY16 spending priorities tied to the federal government’s renewed focus on cybersecurity. I mentioned while the amount available might be less than the amount in the Obama administration’s initial request, the 2016 budget request for cybersecurity is still a vital document to map fulfillment of those priorities to existing, authorized spending lines. I also want to remind you the month of October is not only the start of the new fiscal year, but is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month.

In my last post I also showed you OPM’s top 5 cybersecurity priorities. I think you’ll find them closely aligned with the eight priorities the White House spelled out when it launched its 30-day Sprint. Read more of this post

30-day Cybersecurity Sprint is History – What Now? Part I

CybersprintSteve Headshot 65 x 85by Steve Charles, Co-founder

The “30-day sprint” for cybersecurity we saw this summer was a stepping stone towards a renewed focus on cybersecurity as the federal government heads toward the 2016 fiscal year.

Earlier this month, the Obama administration revised its 2016 budget request for cybersecurity. This document is worth studying; it’s a virtual roadmap for spending priorities. Now that Congress has returned after Labor Day, it has less than a month to finish work on a 2016 budget. No one seriously expects this to be done in time to avoid a Continuing Resolution (CR) starting October 1st.

The money available might be less than the amount in the initial request, but the spending request itself details the priorities agencies will pursue regardless. And if you and your government customer can map fulfillment of those priorities to existing, authorized spending lines, then you’ve got a solid sales opportunity.

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