What is a solicitation?

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

In our last “What is…?” post, we covered one of the basics of federal contracting: the concept of a prime contractor and subcontractors, or “primes” and “subs.” However, we left a key question unanswered – how does the government actually decide which company to award prime contracts to?

As you might expect, there are a lot of moving parts involved in the awarding of government contracts, whether you’re talking about relatively simple product buys or complex, multi-layered systems development and integration work. No matter the scope, though, the competition process usually begins in one place – the solicitation.

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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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3 Aspects of Navigating Government Convergence

ImmixgroupGOVit-219_250x166Chris Wiedemann_65 x 85by Chris Wiedemann, Senior Analyst

As immixGroup’s 2nd Annual Government IT Sales Summit draws closer, I want to give you an inside look at the major theme of this year’s 11th Annual Civilian Budget Briefing: convergence. Whether in acquisition, management structure, or technology, the federal COTS market is positioned to come together in new ways this year.

Here are three broad trends the Market Intelligence organization will explore next Thursday, November 19th at the 2nd Annual Government IT Sales Summit: Read more of this post

Cloud Migration Next Big Priority for DOD?

cloud computingStephanie Meloni_65x85by Stephanie Meloni, Senior Analyst

Lately we’re seeing cloud migration at DOD gain some real traction and more importantly, the IT dollars behind it are making the cloud DOD’s next big IT priority. At DISA and the Army there have been recent signs DOD may finally be taking the necessary steps to migrate data and applications to the cloud. Moving to the cloud is seen as the next critical step for the Joint Information Environment (JIE).

DISA is no longer the designated “cloud broker” for DOD, however the Department is serving as the de facto advisor for cloud computing and will still remain in charge of cloud standards and security requirements. DISA just issued a best practices document for DOD customers looking to purchase commercial cloud solutions. This document is not about DOD policy in regards to the cloud, but rather a reference guide for government customers planning to migrate to the cloud, outlining different cloud models’ features and benefits, based on lessons learned throughout the DOD. The Army’s CIO/G-6 office released the Army Commercial Cloud Services Provider Policy. This publication focuses on the Army’s process of system and application rationalization, ensuring that both are reviewed properly before moving over to Commercial Services Providers (CSPs) in the cloud. It’s important for industry to review these documents in order to understand DOD customers’ processes, as well as the challenges they face as they move to the cloud.
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3 FAA Programs Seeing Growth in DME Funding: Part II

Kevin Shaker_65 x 85by Kevin Shaker, Analyst, Market Intelligence

In DME Explosion at FAA7 FAA Programs Seeing Growth in DME Funding: Part 1 I gave a quick rundown on which Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) programs had requested larger amounts of development, modernization, and enhancement (DME) funding for their FY16 IT budget. Today I’ll touch on the largest technology priorities within the FAA and their related programs.

APPLICATIONS

FAA’s program with the largest DME increase, DataComm – the organization’s attempt to automate enhancements for air control communication and data linkage between aircraft and ground users – has modeling & simulation requirements that’ll need to be met before its implementation in FY16-17. You’ll want to show how your product can aid in their testing efforts and efficiently meet their rollout deadline. If your company has collaboration solutions, you’ll also want to reach out to DataComm decision makers to indicate how your product can help automate data transfer from aircraft to ground users.

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7 FAA Programs Seeing Growth in DME Funding: Part 1

Kevin Shaker_65 x 85by Kevin Shaker, Analyst, Market Intelligence

The Plane Taking OffFederal Aviation Administration (FAA) continues to be a great entry point for the COTS community. In FY15, the president requested roughly $2.9B for FAA FY16 IT operations ($160M more than what was enacted for FY15). The entirety of this IT budget increase will go to Development, Modernization, & Enhancement (DME) funding (money dedicated to investing in new tools and capabilities). While the new numbers aren’t guaranteed, they offer insight into which FAA programs are going to be the focal points in FY16.

Here are 7 programs that will likely experience a substantial increase in DME funding, along with the suggested DME dollar increase, and the primary solutions the programs are in need of:

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GSA’s Search for a New Agile Software Procurement Vehicle

Kevin Shaker_65 x 85by Kevin Shaker, Analyst, Market Intelligence

Many view GSA to {139d2873-a0fe-4038-b1d6-98fbd57fb9ba}_GSAbe a regulatory value-add agency with a budget designed to assist other agencies with their strategic plans. However, GSA is not just composed of grant money, and occasionally creates an opportunity for industry to engage directly. With constantly shrinking budgets it is undoubtedly difficult to find the right office to help build out systems, so when a small agency such as the GSA comes out with a large initiative, you better be on your toes. Since the majority of agencies are facing funding cuts — in a world of ever evolving technology demands — the GSA has submitted an RFI on Federal Business Opportunities for a new procurement vehicle pertaining to agile software development. This BPA (blanket purchase agreement) will shorten the software acquisition cycle for agile software procurement to less than a month’s time — making it comparable to SEWP’s timeliness and readiness. The procurement vehicle will be developed in-house and used to expedite the purchase of products and services. The development of this BPA will include streamlined processes, agile demonstrations, onboarding support, flexibility, and small business friendliness.
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