OMB: Agencies Need Help With Old Problems

Chris WiedemannBy Chris Wiedemann, consultant

The cybersecurity challenges facing the government are well understood. Combine a highly federated environment, huge volumes of sensitive, classified or legally-protected data, all running on outdated legacy technology, and you get the government’s current situation: struggling to stay ahead of the latest threats in an increasingly dangerous digital environment.

Federal networks are very popular targets. The government deals with thousands of attacks each year – 35,277 in FY17, according to the most recent FISMA report. Moreover, the consequences of a successful attack are significant. Perhaps no data breach better exemplifies the dangers of lax security than the OPM attack in 2015, which exposed the personally identifiable information of millions of individuals to malicious actors and prompted a round of reports, recommendations and recriminations on the security posture of agency networks – as well as a renewed sense of urgency around security at the agency leadership level.

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Five Tips for a Successful Selling Season

Sales FunnelSteve Headshot 65 x 85 by Steve Charles, Co-founder

Every year around this time I’m approached by technology companies looking for quick tips on how to make their September successful. I start off by saying that in a typical government fiscal year, we see the feds spending about a third of their budgets in the last quarter. However, the steps for completing the acquisition packages began six to nine months ago. 

As we wind down to the last week or two of the year, program managers pick and choose purchase requests like puzzle pieces to get to zero by midnight, September 30.  So, to make sure you’re in the mix at the 11th hour, make sure to ask your government customer one critical question: is the right amount of money in the right account?

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Time to Wring Complexity out of Public Sector Deal Registration

Bob Laclede 100x135by Bob Laclede, Vice President, Channels

There’s Time to Wring Complexity out of Public Sector Deal Registrationlittle doubt that deal registration continues to pull its weight as a mechanism to reward and encourage reseller partners. But when it comes down to managing day-to-day deals in the real world, many partners find existing programs a bit of a chore, our latest research finds.

In particular, the challenges of registering, submitting, updating, and maintaining deals represent significant administrative burdens to partners, according to the Government Channel Leadership Council’s (GCLC) 2015 State of Public Sector Deal Registration survey. The research, conducted in the first quarter of 2015, queried 120 partners 100 vendors that deal in the public sector marketplace.

Immediately clear in this year’s research: Channel partners surveyed want vendors to wring out complexity in current programs and streamline the registration and approval processes. Some 39 percent of partners say that vendors’ deal registration programs are only moderately clear, concise, and well-documented, with 15 percent giving OEMs overall poor marks for the clarity and usability of their programs.

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DHS’s New Years Resolution: A Budget

Tomas OKeefe_65x85Tomas O’Keefe, Consultant, Market Intelligence

NewYear1When Congress voted last year to give appropriations to federal agencies, there was one glaring omission: the Department of Homeland Security. Due to furor over executive actions on immigration taken by President Obama, Congress passed a Continuing Resolution for DHS until the end of February, so expect conversations on the Hill to be geared toward how to fund the Department while attempting to address the President’s executive action; this could affect two departmental components in particular, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
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6 Ways FITARA Could Make a Dramatic Impact on COTS Sales

Christopher Wiedemann_headshot-65 x 85by Chris Wiedemann, Senior Analyst

On FridayUS Capital Building of last week, among all the furor around the FY15 “cromnibus” passing, another long-awaited bill passed; the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) made it through both the House and Senate as part of the FY15 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). All indications point to FITARA becoming law shortly.

Here are 6 ways FITARA could dramatically impact sales in the COTS community:

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New OFPP Memo: a Beacon of Opportunity for Technology Companies that do Business with Government

Tomas OKeefe_65x85Tomas O’Keefe, Senior Analyst, Market Intelligence

The new OpportunitiesOffice of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) head, Anne Rung, released a memo focusing on updates to federal acquisition policy. It’s no secret both agencies and vendors have struggled with overly long solicitations and proposals, complicated contractual language, and unique government requirements. The OFPP memo outlines specific actions that agencies are expected to adopt in the coming year in an effort to improve acquisition and transparency across the board. This falls in step with a new trend brought to the forefront by the Obama administration that aligns with the Digital Services Playbook, modernizing IT infrastructure and how the government purchases IT.

The memo entitled “Transforming the Marketplace: Simplifying Federal Procurement to Improve Performance, Drive Innovation, and Increase Savings,” highlights three areas that agencies will focus on in FY15:

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3 Areas Big Data is Booming for COTS Vendors

Stephanie Headshot 65x85by Stephanie Meloni, Senior Analyst

Big data and Big Dataanalytics is predicted to be a hot spot in terms of budget growth in the federal IT market. According to a recent report from the Department of Commerce Economics and Statistics Administration, the government’s principal statistical agencies spend on average 2.3 billion dollars a year gathering, processing, and disseminating data. Based on internal analysis conducted by the immixGroup Market Intelligence team, the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of big data and analytics is estimated at 5.85% from FY14-FY17. This is due to the fact government will need to rely more on data analytics as a way to achieve their mission — with reduced budgets and staff.

Following in the footpath of some early adopters, the rest of the federal government is beginning to make investments and use big data analytics. The interest in using big data analytics for more and more applications keeps growing exponentially. For COTS vendors outside of analytics tools, big data and analytics offers many more opportunities.

Here are three other areas vendors should consider:

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Federal Cloud in FY15: Old Roadblocks, 3 New Opportunities

Photo of Chris Wiedemannby Chris Wiedemann, Senior Analyst

The Government Accountability Office Here is A Snapshot of Cloud in FY15(GAO) recently released a report tracking the progress of seven agencies’ in achieving their cloud computing implementation goals; unfortunately parts of it made for quite a nostalgic reading. The report profiled seven agencies – including HHS, Treasury, and USDA – and noted while each of these agencies increased their cloud spending between FY12 and FY14, the grand total of agency-reported cloud investments was only $529 million (averaging 2% of evaluated IT budgets). In other words, despite the 25 Point Plan instituting a Cloud First policy in 2011, federal agencies appear to have made very little progress in meeting their cloud goals; some reasons cited for slow adoption sound awfully familiar as well – with security concerns and cultural resistance to cloud computing coming up yet again.

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Office of the Secretary of Defense on the Hunt for a BPM Suite — RSVP by 4 p.m. Today for OSD’s Industry Day

Rick Antonucci_65x85by Rick Antonucci, Analyst

A new opportunity has sprung up for BPM manufacturers. The Office of the Secretary of Defense released a Sources Sought notice on FBO for a Business Process Management suite last Tuesday. OSD’s Program Development and Implementation office within the Defense Procurement & Acquisition Policy Office is interested in sourcing a COTS or GOTS BPM suite to support DOD procurement efforts. To that end they will be hosting an industry day in McLean, VA on September 19th with RSVPs due on the 16th with second industry day anticipated in mid to late October.

Right now OSD is looking to conduct market research to gather information from industry on available solutions for BPM suites with Full and Open competition anticipated down the line. Responses to the sources sought notice are due on September 26th.

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FY15 Defense IT Budget Forecast: Cloudy with No Chance of Sequestration

Lloyd McCoy_65x85by Lloyd McCoy Jr., Consultant

The FY15 base DOD budget request came in at $495.6 billion, (about even with FY14) but more importantly, it’s under OMB’s budgetary caps, meaning sequestration isn’t in the cards for this year. Diving into the DOD IT budget, we see a 6% drop from FY14 to about $36.4 billion; fortunately, much of this decline has to do with a shrinking workforce and cost-savings generated by earlier IT investments.

Soldier with Flag Draped in BackgroundYes the budget is down 6% from last year, but before you go running for the hills, it’s important to remember the following: while the IT budget is reduced from FY14, agencies that purchased software are continuing to purchase software— and with no sequestration and government shutdown in sight, we’re positioned to see a better FY15 than we did FY13.

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