If You Want to be Successful in SLED, the Right Contracts Are a Must

By Rachel Eckert, SLED Manager

State and local governments buy a wide variety of goods and services – from food stuffs and linens to police radios and technology. They also buy large volumes of goods and services, which could present a financial risk if they’re not purchased from a reputable source at a fair price. That’s why competitively bid contracts are essential to both government and vendors.

Government Benefits From Competitively Bid Contracts

To guarantee that the state or local government is getting the best value and a fair price, state and local governments leverage a competitive process to determine the vendor(s) who best meet this criteria. This competitive process results in one or more awarded contracts that specify what the government may purchase, from whom they can purchase and a guaranteed maximum price. This reduces the overall risk for the government – something extremely important to ensure their continued ability to serve their citizens. Read more of this post

State Budget Documents: Treasure Troves of Information for IT Vendors

By Rachel Eckert, SLED Manager

State budgets are certainly not the most exciting topics in the world, but they offer many clues into key areas where you can target your sales campaigns. Budget documents provide insight into the areas state and local governments plan to invest funds, identify areas of concern and often outline key priorities for the upcoming year or two.

Most state governments operate on a July 1 through June 30 fiscal year. The process starts with agencies receiving guidelines from the governor on priorities and mandates for the upcoming year. This typically occurs during the fall and is the best time to work with agencies as they scope out their business cases for inclusion in next year’s budget.

Agencies work with their budget office to finalize budgets before submitting final documents to the governor. With the governor’s approval, final budgets are submitted to the legislature, typically in the winter. The legislature is then tasked with reviewing, reconciling and approving before the start of the next fiscal year.

By the end of January, most states have submitted their budgets to the legislature and governors are beginning to make their “State-of-the-State” speeches which outline their budget priorities. While you can find the text and video recordings for each of these speeches online, here are some of the key themes you’ll see in many FY2021 budgets and what they might mean for you:   Read more of this post

Fed and SLED IT Managers Are Buying Into AI

Tom O'Keefe

By Tom O’Keefe, Consultant

According to a recent study, 90% of public sector IT managers have observed a noticeable shift in the adoption of AI at their organizations over the last two years. The research report, “AI Is Out There: Early Adoption in Fed & SLED Agencies, ” explores government agencies’ interest in AI and seeks to understand current usage of AI technology in the public sector.

The study highlights IT managers’ and public sector leaders’ interest in gaining an edge by becoming early adopters of AI technology. Of surveyed respondents, 77% view AI as an asset to their organization’s ability to deliver on its mission, while 85% agree AI will be a game changer in how their agency thinks about and processes data. Some agencies have started to initiate AI pilot programs with 14% already reporting benefits from the technology. Currently, 61% of respondents report the use of at least one foundational AI technology such as voice assistants, high performance computing, and virtual customer assistance or chatbots. Read more of this post

States Improving Cybersecurity Posture Through NGA Partnership

By Rachel Eckert, SLED Manager

The National Governors Association (NGA) recently announced a partnership with states and territories that are looking to enhance their cybersecurity posture through the implementation of key controls to mitigate future attacks.

After a competitive application process, the six states and one territory chosen were Arkansas, Guam, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Ohio and Washington. Through a series of workshops between now and the end of the year, NGA, along with their respective homeland security agencies and National Guard units, will coordinate with state agencies, local government and K-12 schools to develop methods of improving existing cybersecurity approaches.

During the workshops, participants will brainstorm new methods to protect critical infrastructure, and vendors may discover new business opportunities. In addition to developing more comprehensive strategies and collaborating with neighboring governments, the participants will be focusing on implementing six key controls outlined by the Center for Internet Security:

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What is a Smart City?

By Rachel Eckert, SLED consultant

Most of us who have been in and around the state, local and education space (SLED) have seen the term “smart city” more times than we can count. A simple search for “what is a smart city” returns dozens of examples, definitions and solution sheets that explain specific implementations being done under the heading of “smart city.” In a nutshell, a smart city is one that aims to improve the delivery of services to its citizens using technology.

That’s a simple definition and easy enough to understand, but, how does a city become smart? What technologies do they use to be smart? How does a vendor approach a city to make it smarter? And when you add in the typical SLED wrinkle with each city being its own fiefdom, finding a common definition and a strategy to target a smart city is understandably difficult.

Let’s dive into that definition a bit deeper. Cities provide all sorts of services to their citizens including public safety, transportation, health care and more. Each year, cities see their populations grow, thus increasing the number of people to whom they must now provide those public safety, transportation or health care services. The problem is that most cities aren’t seeing the same increase in budgets, leaving them with taxed resources and an ever-growing mission.

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The latest on FirstNet and its future opportunities

By Rachel Eckert, SLED consultant

The new year is upon us and with that comes a flurry of activity for FirstNet now that all 50 states and territories have opted into the network. If you haven’t been following FirstNet let me catch you up.

To start, FirstNet will be the nationwide first responder interoperable broadband network. The FirstNet Authority and its partner AT&T (who was awarded the build-out contract) will be building out and/or upgrading the broadband infrastructure across all 50 states and territories to ensure that in the event of an emergency, first responders can communicate and respond effectively.

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3 tech opportunities in health and human services

SLED, ITBy Rachel Eckert, SLED consultant

Connecting the dots between the news and opportunity can be a tricky endeavor, but those headlines can often translate into an opportunity if you know where to look.

We took a close look at state and local opportunities in the IT sector during immixGroup’s recent Government IT Sales Summit. The session on Selling to SLED—Updates and Innovations included insight from Robert Mancini, chief information officer for Prince William County, Va., and Garrett Histed, senior director of State, Local and Education at VMware.

Below are three areas where technology can have a major impact on the health and human services market:

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