Big sales opportunities in lesser-known agencies: Decoding the Omnibus Bill

By Ryan Nelson, Market Intelligence Manager

The Omnibus Bill 2022 signed by the president about a month ago clocks in at nearly 2800 pages. It’s an annual free-for-all for vendors, with sales teams scouring the pages to compare appropriations to their product and service offerings.

While vendors’ typical targets are big-name agencies, there’s a strong argument to be made to dig a bit deeper below the surface, to the smaller sub-agencies. Big opportunities are often buried in small agency funding, and it’s worth having a closer read of the bill to find out just where those opportunities exist.

After all, you may be unlocking an opportunity that might not be obvious at first read, and therefore may not be as competitive as the larger agency requirements. Put enough of these smaller opportunities together, however, and suddenly you find yourself dealing with enough prospects to keep a team busy for some time.

That said, here are four interesting opportunities you might want to consider as you develop your prospect list from the newly signed budget bill:

1) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. Some $38,486,000 is to remain available until expended, for Animal Health Technical Services. Similarly, $4,251,000 is to remain available for information technology infrastructure. That means even agencies that are focused on the health of wildlife, domesticated animals and farmable plants are still a lucrative target for big data, data analytics and network infrastructure components.

2) Farm Service Agency. Necessary expenses for this comparatively low-profile agency actually top $1.1 billion. Information technology represents a significant part of this funding. With programs ranging from aerial photography to financial management information, there are quite a number of opportunities in this agency alone. Most notable is the Modernize and Innovate the Delivery of Agricultural Systems (MIDAS) program. MIDAS is a web-based modernization initiative to simplify, integrate, and automate the delivery of Farm Programs across the United States.

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Seven ways to improve your sales to state CIOs

By Ryan Nelson, Market Intelligence Manager

State and local legislatures are having a good year. Flush with cash from the federal funding, most states enacted budgets with an increase in spending and revenue for FY2022. According to a recent conference of market analysts and government leaders, states project general fund spending of $1.02 trillion, a 9.3% increase compared to 2021. The education outlook is a bit more cautious, showing a trend of delayed spending of federal funding in K-12 districts. Nonetheless, there is a projected additional $3.5 billion in e-rate funds for 2022 and 2023.

During the recent conference, Jim Weaver, Secretary for Information Technology/State CIO for North Carolina was interviewed about how vendors can better position themselves and present information to decision-makers. Here are some of his top tips:

Taking all of this into account, what do vendors planning to sell into the state and local market need to know? The sales approach to state and local decision-makers is different than the federal market, and vendors should be prepared to make adjustments to their approach, to ensure a better chance of success.

1. Understand the state’s strategic plan. Every state has a strategic plan. Before you engage, know how your products and services will help them achieve their particular goals. Do not ask what an agency’s “pain points” are, or “what keeps you up at night?” You’ll find yourself being redirected back to the strategic plan.

2. States are changing the way they consume info. A crisis is an opportunity to influence change, Weaver said, and that has been true with the pandemic. What’s important now are case studies and the applicability of the study to the particular agency being courted. Messaging has to be eye-catching and visionary, but still based on what’s being done at the strategic planning level. Also, Weaver emphasized being engaged in the procurement process; vendors who aren’t already engaged in the process will most likely not get a lot of traction.

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CDM Updates to Product Listing Requirements

By Amanda Mull, Contract Specialist

The federal Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation (CDM) program includes cybersecurity tools and sensors that are reviewed by the program for conformance with Section 508, federal license users and CDM technical requirements. Manufacturers are encouraged to update, refresh and add new and innovative tools to the CDM Approved Products List (APL).

To maintain currency with federal and requirement and the constant evolution of the cyber/IT landscape, the CDM APL product submission requirements have been revised several times in FY2021.

The most recent updates reflect heightened security policies and protocols required for a more mobile workforce. Others support the full realization of the federal CDM Dashboard expected by year-end. The CDM Dashboard is intended to gauge agency cybersecurity posture. It also monitors the achievement of directives meant to raise the overall level of security and privacy in cyber/IT tools and technology across the federal government.

There have been several recent updates to CDM Common Requirements for Approved Product Listings (APL):

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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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Future Operating Concept Creating Opportunities for Tech Companies

Air Force Graphic_240x138Stephanie Meloni_65x85By Stephanie Meloni, Senior Analyst

The Air Force is starting to shift IT priorities toward space, cyberspace, and C2ISR, which speaks to the service’s overall plan for future operations. The Air Force will want to achieve dominance across all domains in order to enable air superiority. This will be one of many topics covered during my one-hour Webinar on Air Force IT Sales Opportunities: Where to Aim High in FY17 on May 12.

The Air Force Future Operating Concept will depend on operating in a multi-domain environment. This means the Air Force wants to synchronize information coming from air, ground, intelligence, and especially cyberspace in order to get the full picture of what is happening across the warfighting domain.

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DHS’s New Mobile App Playbook

Tom O'KeefeBy Tomas O’Keefe, Consultantmobile apps

Security is one of the biggest hurdles for mobility in government, but some recent work by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) might make this challenge a little less daunting for federal agencies.

DHS has been working on a mobile app playbook to help agencies develop secure mobile applications and follow a streamlined process to introduce those apps into agencies’ mobile environments. Sound familiar? That’s because it’s a riff on the federal CIO’s Digital Playbook, suggesting a baseline for mobile app development and appropriate milestones to ensure the final application isn’t riddled with errors.

DHS has been a pioneer in securing the mobile workspace for the last few years. You might be familiar with DHS’ Car Wash process, a continuous pen-testing and design-verifying security application that vets mobile apps as they’re developed. Car Wash is available to all federal agencies (and even private sector mobile app developers), and DHS is continuing the trend of advancing the security of mobile environments with the mobile app playbook.
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Market Intelligence Cloud Briefing: Tech Trends and Federal Opportunities

CloudChris Wiedemannby Chris Wiedemann, Senior Analyst

The federal government’s “Cloud First” policy, originally part of Vivek Kundra’s 25-Point Plan, is almost five years old – and yet there’s still plenty of confusion and uncertainty surrounding federal cloud adoption. What are the major challenges facing customers moving into the cloud? How much progress has been made on the commonly-cited challenges of security, data ownership, and elastic procurement within the confines of federal acquisition regulations? How will new policy and regulatory developments affect federal cloud business, and what do industry cloud providers need to know to begin marketing their services?

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Automation Tech Creating Opportunities at USDA

Kevin Shaker_65 x 85by Kevin Shaker, AnalystUSDA-farm

Automation technology could help the Department of Agriculture (USDA) analyze and track farmers’ crop sizes, costs and loan applications. But for now, the agency is relying on good ol’ pen and paper for many of these functions. However, things are changing. Streamlining USDA’s systems and operations is now a major priority, with the USDA Office of the Chief Information Officer listing information technology optimization as a key objective through FY18.

This is why we’re seeing automation activity coming out of many of the department’s sub agencies. At USDA, not every agency relies on the same IT capabilities that are distributed from the HQ’s OCIO. To some extent the department is decentralized, with many of its agencies containing their own IT groups with mission-specific legacy applications and systems.

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C4ISR Challenges: Converging Cyber and Data

blog-cybersecStephanie Meloniby Stephanie Meloni, Senior Analyst

Air Force, Navy and Army leaders shared their upcoming IT priorities for tactical operations at last week’s AFCEA C4ISR breakfast in Arlington, VA. There’s quite a bit of overlap in the challenges they face, but they really  boil down to cybersecurity operations and data management. Both will help military leaders develop a better and more complete Common Operating Picture (COP), which the panelists pointed out is “neither common, nor operational” at the moment.

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The End of No Child Left Behind Brings Technology Back to the Classroom

EduImg_100x100Rachel Eckertby Rachel Eckert, Consultant – SLED

As the No Child Left Behind Act draws to a close, the education market is seeing a shift in focus that will bring about much-needed change in school curriculum and learning approaches — all with an eye towards technology integration.

The No Child Left Behind Act, signed into law in 2002, provided an avenue for teachers to identify where students were progressing and where they might be falling behind. Gradually, its requirements became too limiting for teachers and ultimately ineffective. In its place is the Every Student Succeeds Act, signed into law December 10, 2015. This relatively new act fundamentally changes how content and curriculum are developed for schools. Rather than mandates and broad-brush minimums required by the federal government, the new Every Student Succeeds Act puts the states and then each school locality system in control of the decisions and benchmarks that make sense for them. Read more of this post

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