Fed Initiatives Mean Promising Opportunities for the Savvy
For many small businesses, sales are focused on the here and now…the next win. This is understandable since cash flow and keeping staff off the bench are priority #1. When it comes to the Government’s long term initiatives, small businesses often ignore those plans and focus on what’s available to bid on today in order to ensure being around tomorrow when those plans are put into effect. Again, this is logical thinking, but it does not mean that small businesses should cede the opportunity to drive future change and thereby be a front runner on future opportunities. Understanding where the government is headed will help your firm position itself for both near term and long-term opportunities. By becoming acquainting with the government’s plans and initiatives, small businesses can:
- Begin positioning themselves as thought leaders or implementers of the types of programs being initiated.
- Modify standard proposal language to incorporate the themes expressed in these initiatives thereby increasing the likelihood of awards
- Obtain GSA contracts that will put them in front for these opportunities.
Smaller Budgets Sometimes mean Great Opprtunity
You may wonder what the new climate in Washington will do to opportunities for contracts. Many government contractors are disheartened by impending budget cuts, but in the midst of this chaos lay opportunity. Take for example the government’s IT reforms initiatives moving forward. The government is actively cutting ineffective IT programs but it is also seeking to close the technology gap that exists between the private sector and public. Technologies and management approaches that deliver efficiency and cost savings will be actively sought by government agencies in the coming years. And such opportunities are not limited to IT firms, but also management consulting, financial management firms, trainers and others. Take a look at some of the government’s initiatives in the IT area alone:
- Government Initiative: Increasing Engagement with the IT Community.
Government, led by the OMB, will be launching a “myth busters” campaign to promote greater engagement with industry and remove barriers to communication that are hurting our productivity. OMB will also develop mechanisms for sharing best practices and solutions between agencies and IT community on a regular basis.
What this means for you? This spells opportunity for you to become known as a thought leader and innovator in your field of expertise. Begin reviewing the OMB CIO agenda and participate in upcoming industry/government meetings. Review the CIO Council’s agenda as well and if you have ideas, contribute them. Minor suggestions can be put forth in blog and emailed suggestions. More substantial ideas and concepts should be written as white papers and mailed to major IT managers in various agencies.
- Government Initiative: Adopt Light Technologies and Shared Solutions.
Government is reducing its data center footprint by 40 percent by 2015 and shifting the agency default approach to IT to a cloud-first policy as part of the 2012 budget process. Consolidating more than 2,000 government data centers will save money, increase security and improve performance.
What does this mean for you? If you are in the cloud computing and SaaS space, many opportunities exist if you can deliver cost-savings. If you do not have a GSA IT Schedule (Schedule 70), now is the time to get one. If you already have a Schedule 70 contract, make sure to update your price catalog so that it emphasizes these themes. Review the other literature you may have (Capabilities statements, brochures) and revise your marketing campaign so that it promotes your cost savings benefits and technologies related to this initiative. And for HR and Management consulting firms, assisting with employee issues and change management is going to be more important than ever.
- Government Initiative: Strengthening Program Management.
OMB is creating a formal career track for professional program managers and will green light IT projects only with effective program management teams hardwired into the agency’s organizational structure.
What does this mean for you? If your firm has program management and financial management capabilities, you should learn more about this initiative and present your capabilities statements to government agencies. Several GSA schedules have provisions for program management. If you already have one of these contracts, make sure you have the correct SINS. If you do not have a GSA contract, then consider one of the following schedules:
o MOBIS (Schedule 874) – SIN 874-7 allows firms to provide services to assist agencies in planning, initiating, managing, executing, and closing out mission-oriented business programs and projects. Demand for training programs for program management and change management consulting will increase.
o FABS (Schedule 520) – multiple SINS allow you to provide program and financial management services to agency teams.
o IT (schedule 70) – SIN 132-51 allows you to participate in both technical services as well as IT project management,
o Other schedules, such as LOGWORLD (Schedule 874 V) have program management SINS that may be useful in some projects and the HR Schedule (738 X) will likely play a role.
So the takeaway from all the upheaval in government is to seek opportunity in chaos, help bring order, and assist agency managers cope with change. Review both your long term strategic plans and short term tactics to position your firm for these emerging opportunities. Make sure your literature reflects these themes and change your GSA Schedule price catalogs accordingly. Seek opportunities to put forth ideas to CIO’s and senior managers (e.g., through presentations at conferences, blogs, and industry magazine contributions). Update contracts to include the proper SINS or obtain new GSA contracts so that you have the contract vehicles in place to exploit upcoming opportunities.