What is a prime and a sub?

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

So far in our “What is…?” series, we’ve covered some of the basics of selling commercial items to the federal government, and with good reason – at immixGroup, our suppliers and partners are in the commercial business, and we care about the way our customers buy our products.

However, if you dig into the numbers, you’ll see that the bulk of the federal government’s annual IT spending doesn’t go to buying standalone commercial products. Instead, the bulk of IT contracting is done for services – in other words, paying companies to do things like staff federal data centers; provide hosting and infrastructure management; or develop, engineer and manage complex solutions and mission systems.

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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 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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6 ways to transition to the new administration

Allan Rubin 65x85transitionBy Allan Rubin, vice president of marketing for Arrow ECS North America

The election is over, but uncertainty about the future of Washington still looms. Despite high-level picks already announced by the new President-elect, no one really knows the makeup of the future administration.

This creates some big questions for the IT industry: Who will stay and who will go in government, and how do technology companies navigate the transition? It’s tricky, but there’s a lot of opportunity (and risk) for us during this brief window. It’s a question your executives at corporate are probably asking you about already.

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Why GWACs Are A Good Bet

US Flag, Capitol Building and MoneyBob Laclede 100x135by Bob Laclede, Vice President, Channels

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has dusted off a 2011 policy for stamping out “unnecessary” government-wide acquisition contracts. With so much time left to do business in FY 2016, it’s time to review the fundamentals of a good GWAC strategy. And a few of the techniques manufacturers can use to maintain or even boost their federal sales even if they don’t have a prime contract on one of the main GWACs.

What I’m suggesting may sound obvious, yet I’ve heard so many manufacturers over the years complain that they’re blocked out of this or that agency or requirement because they miscalculated their GWAC strategy. Read more of this post

Riding the Wave of IT Procurement Consolidation in DOD

dv131001Mark Wisingerby Mark Wisinger, Analyst

For the past few years, the term “consolidation” has become synonymous with data center consolidation — a major initiative across public sector. The federal government’s objective in data center consolidation is clear: minimize spending and do more with less.

While data center consolidation has taken limelight for some time now, procurement consolidation is becoming a widespread initiative as it focuses on efficient spending. Let’s take a look at how DOD’s procurement consolidation impacts the bottom line of technology companies that do business with the government, and how you can ride “the wave of IT procurement consolidation.” Read more of this post

DHS Championing Innovation in Silicon Valley

ThinkstockPhotos-465821896Tom O'Keefeby Tomas O’Keefe, Consultant

Last spring, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) opened up its Silicon Valley Office (SVO) under the Directorate for Science and Technology (S&T), having high hopes of better engaging with technology innovators in Silicon Valley. DHS wants to build bridges with the startup community so that new technologies — particularly cybersecurity technologies — can be readily identified and selected to help defend public and private networks.

The office uses innovative contracting methods that speed up the acquisition process, involving Broad Agency Announcements and leveraging short-term technology contracts to get the latest and greatest tools in the hands of federal cybersecurity professionals. Read more of this post

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