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Recapping the National Association of State Technology Directors (NASTD) Conference

As the 2013 National Association of State Technology Directors (NASTD) Conference wrapped up, both vendors and state IT officials may have left Charleston, S.C., with one message pounding in their heads: Watch out for storm clouds on the horizon.
Concerns over cybersecurity, employee retention and the pending roll out of FirstNet – the national public safety broadband initiative – dominated this year’s conversation as NASTD officials packed sessions with multiple speakers on each topic. Each subject has been more or less driven by a combination of current events and long-term trends.
The long-awaited wave of retiring baby boomers is finally underway and wreaking havoc on the ability of federal and state agencies to replace experienced personnel and retain institutional memory. After four years of planning and design, federal officials are getting ready to tally the number of states that will opt in to the federal FirstNet broadband plan and those that will build their own network. States received a wakeup call in October 2012 when nearly 4 million social security numbers and credit card data were hacked from South Carolina’s state government. The cyberattack brought to life the warnings that cybersecurity officials in the public and private sector have been quietly raising for years.
Most of the speakers opted to take an awareness approach and attempted to lay out the dire problems and statistics as plainly as possible; not because they were dodging the issues, but often because there are no obvious solutions to these problems. Besides, that wasn’t necessarily their job. Ultimately, these challenges are going to have to be addressed by the people who were sitting in the audience.
The dominant themes among these kinds of conferences for the past few years has been the recession, budget cuts and figuring out how to maintain service levels with fewer resources. The conversation has begun to shift, but the major themes of NASTD 2013 demonstrated that the end of one crisis often provides state IT officials with just enough breathing room to prepare for the next.
Cybersecurity in the age of cloud adoption and the mobile workforce will be one of the preeminent issues state and local governments deal with over the next 3-5 years. The volume and sophistication of attacks directed at state governments is rising at an alarming pace every year, which means that more state CIOs are going to be expected to pursue aggressive security strategies over the next few budget cycles. More attacks similar to the South Carolina hack will ensure that funding and budgets for these areas are robust. Dedicated network penetration and training for staff to help identify common phishing techniques and personnel security measures were two methods that most security officials stressed at the conference.
In the public safety realm, vendors should be on the lookout for another handful of RFIs dealing with FirstNet development and implementation. Whether a state opts in or out of the federal plan, the NTIA foresees a considerable amount of private sector involvement for this project over the next few years, which is good news for vendors nationwide.
For the full version of the National Association of State Technology Director's Conference Recap, click here (subscription required)

The nation’s capital preps IT endeavors for years to come: Education a primary focus

As part of ongoing efforts to expand GovWin IQ’s State and Local Lead Alerts product, Deltek analysts have been researching capital improvement plans (CIPs) nationwide to uncover potential business opportunities for vendors across vertical markets.
This month, we’ve focused heavily on Washington, D.C.’s fiscal year (FY) 2014-2019 CIP, which includes more than 100 IT and/or IT professional services projects in the years to come. These projects range from general IT upgrades, cybersecurity modernization, to crime-fighting technology.
From a vertical standpoint, general government services and education (primary/secondary) comprise the bulk of opportunities in the nation’s capital, as depicted in the graph below.

Education is clearly a major focus for D.C. in the coming fiscal cycles, with more than $9 million allocated toward IT projects for public schools. While details on specific technology requirements are minimal, the current CIP lists more than 70 elementary, middle and high schools with funds assigned to audio-visual and IT upgrades through FY 2019. Considering the heads up before the start of the 2014 fiscal year, vendors should take note of the facilities listed and begin building relationships with school officials to determine the types of IT projects planned, specific budgets, timelines, and how they can assist.
Drilling D.C.’s CIP down to a requirements level, Deltek identified more than 25 primary and secondary offerings that run the gamut from laptops, to geographic information systems, to surveillance equipment. Here is a look at the top 10 identified IT requirements.

Values of the projects detailed range from $250,000 for server consolidation, $4.1 million for enterprise resource planning services, to $28 million for enhanced 911 communications upgrades.
As a reminder, state and local leads coverage includes:
  • 50 states
  • 366 metropolitan statistical areas (Nearly 3,000 cities and counties)
  • Special districts, public universities, and independent school districts
Projects details in a Lead Alert include:
  • Project value: Funding identified by government agency
  • Lead year(s): The year or range of years a project is budgeted
  • Associated documents: The source from which the lead was generated (budget, CIP, article, etc.)
  • Key contact(s): Primary and secondary contacts associated with a project
  • Project ID: Government-specified project number or code
  • Related GovWin IQ content: Tracked Opportunities, Bid Notifications and Lead Alerts
  • Primary and secondary offerings
  • Vertical classification
For more details on Lead Alerts, check out our recent blog.
GovWin IQ subscribers can read further about the projects listed in the provided links. Non-subscribers can gain access with a GovWin IQ free trial

Florida's FY 2014 Budget

What a difference a fiscal year makes! For the past two budget cycles (FY 2012 and FY 2013), Florida Governor Rick Scott has been requesting deep cuts to health care, education and public safety to curtail the state’s declining tax revenues and multibillion-dollar deficit. Now, Governor Scott is touting a $4 billion surplus, and the fiscal year 2014 budget recommendations Scott released on February 6 actually add funds to state programs for the first time in six years. Also, in a reversal from years passed, Scott’s top budget priorities for FY 2014 include health care and education, both of which were once on the chopping block. 
 
The governor’s FY 2014 state budget recommendation, also called the Florida Families First budget, asks for a pay raise for K-12 teachers and state workers, an increase in funding for state universities, and, surprisingly, accepts federal funds to support the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA). If adopted, the Republican governor’s FY 2014 budget would be the largest in state history, at $74 billion.
 
 

 
This economic upswing has allowed Scott to tailor his budget around job creation by cutting business taxes, investing in workforce training programs, and calling for $8.3 billion in transportation projects. Scott has also added $3 billion to higher education, essentially restoring funds to pre-recession levels. Additionally, Florida’s unemployment rate dropped to 7.7 percent, signifying an increase in revenue from income taxes. The combination of less spending and larger revenues has resulted in this unexpected surplus.
 
Now that the state is seeing a fruitful recovery, there is more push from department heads to restore services and programs and take on new projects. Despite cries for relief, Scott’s budget largely resists large-scale funding restorations; instead, he has smartly decided to split the difference by recommending a smaller increase in spending while opting to replenish the state’s once-dry emergency fund.
 
 

 
The top vertical increases in Scott’s FY 2014 budget recommendations (compared to FY 2013) focus on higher education (66.2 percent), transportation (33.7 percent), and public finance (24.3 percent) verticals. The Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle Department within the transportation vertical received a $20.6 million increase compared to FY 2013. This increase includes a $4.9 million funding request to procure a new motorist service system that is expected to be implemented over multiple years.
 
The top vertical decreases in the FY 2014 budget recommendations are for natural resources (-5.8 percent), K-12 education (-7.3 percent) and social services (-9.6 percent) verticals. The bulk of losses for social services are represented by a $575 million decrease from the Elder Affairs and Children and Family Services departments, stemming from reduced public services and pending layoffs. However, the IT expenditures under the social services vertical actually see a 7.9 percent increase from FY 2013, due in large part to projects such as the state’s public assistance eligibility system and the child dependency information management system.
 

 
One of the bigger gaffes Florida faced during the 2013 fiscal year was the defunding and decommissioning of the Agency of Enterprise Information Technology (AEIT). Last year, Scott vetoed legislation that would have replaced AEIT with a new central information technology agency that would have focused more on the state’s data center consolidation effort. Scott justified the veto by stating he believed the new agency’s scope was too narrow. Even though both Scott and the legislature promised to work together for fiscal year 2014 to avoid another misstep, it seems the House and Senate have each introduced competing legislation – though each is requesting a new agency, the agencies would have differing scopes and oversight schemes. An aide in Senator Jeremy Ring’s office confirmed that, despite political maneuvering, the hope is to create a central agency to manage the state’s IT efforts and oversee nearly $51 billion in IT contracts, rather than have 19 different state agencies inefficiently managing their own. 
 
There are two major differences in oversight and scope between the House and Senate bills. Senate Bill 1762 calls for the head of the new agency to report to the governor alone, while House Bill 5009 calls for the head of the new agency to report to the governor as well as the cabinet. There’s also a difference in scope, as the House bill would pare down the new agency’s ability to influence IT purchasing decisions, while the Senate bill would create a department with robust authority including oversight of all IT purchases that involved multiple state agencies. Ultimately, HB 5009 would really only allow the new agency to track and analyze IT purchases and draft IT strategic plans in more of an advisory role. Since Governor Scott has yet to throw his support behind either bill, this battle will likely continue into the summer.
 
For an extended version of this article, please go here. 
 
For more information on Florida FY 2014 budget, visit the state profile here.
 
Not a Deltek subscriber? Click here to learn more about Deltek’s GovWin IQ database and take advantage of a free trial.

 

Highlights of the President’s FY2014 Budget Request

Today President Obama delivered a $3.8 trillion spending plan to Congress which includes a $1.2 trillion request in discretionary funding levels and nearly $82 billion for information technology for FY2014.  The budget focuses on jobs creation, economic growth and to strengthen the American middle class.

The budget proposal also includes $1.8 trillion in additional deficit reduction measures over 10 years to reach a total deficit reduction of $4.3 trillion.   The proposed deficit actions would reduce the deficit to 2.8%of GDP by 2016.

Additionally, the budget proposes $400 billion in cuts to health programs including Medicare.  Savings and cuts would come from negotiating better prescription drug prices, fighting waste and fraud, and requiring the wealthiest seniors to pay more.

The table below shows the FY2013 enacted budget levels and the proposed FY2014 levels.

 

Other budget highlights:

  • Includes $50 billion for upfront infrastructure investments to invest in repairs to highways, bridges, airports, transit systems, and to encourage innovative infrastructure projects 
  • Invests in in education reforms and training with a commitment to early childhood education
  • Simplifies the tax code and raises $580 billion for deficit reduction by limiting tax benefits, but not raising tax rates
  • Creates new “ladders of opportunity” to ensure that hard work leads to a decent living by developing pathways to jobs and partnering with communities to rebuild after the recession 
  • Includes $200 billion in savings from other mandatory programs, such as reductions to farm subsidies and reforms to retirement benefits 
  • Proposes $200 billion in discretionary savings from both defense and non-defense programs 
  • Offers $230 billion in savings from changes in the way the government calculates inflation for annual cost-of-living adjustments for benefits programs

Information Technology

The president’s budget proposes nearly $82 billion in IT funding, a 1.8% increase from the FY 2013 CR and a 2.1% increase over FY 2012 estimated level.

IT-related budget highlights:

  • $575 million in savings is anticipated from DoD Data Center Closures. 
  • $324 million is being cut from the DoD’s Global Hawk UAV program. 
  • $22 million is being cut from Computer and Information Science and Engineering Research Programs at the National Science Foundation; CISE is the organization responsible for promoting R&D on big data.  NSF’s budget takes big hits for its small size, which will affect grant spending on technology R&D.  
  • $81 million is being cut from the DoD’s Precision Tracking and Space System, which is part of Ballistic Missile Defense at the Missile Defense Agency. 
  • $38 million in savings related to the Joint Polar Satellite System is anticipated at the Department of Commerce. 
  • $29 million in savings is anticipated from IRS Business Systems Modernization at the Treasury. 

All told, the president’s budget request includes 215 cuts, consolidations, and savings proposals, which according to the administration, are projected to save more than $25 billion in FY2014.  The budget proposal outlines the administration’s priorities and proposed methods for generating more revenue, cutting costs, and reducing the deficit.  However, it joins competing budget plans in the House and Senate.  Serious Capitol Hill budget negotiations are not likely to take place until this summer.

 

 

 

 

Surviving Sequestration: The 2nd Half of FY 2013 Could See $300 Billion in Federal Contract Dollars

Increasingly, we hear from companies in the federal marketplace that they struggle to plan and forecast their business prospects. There have been so many delays, false starts, and misaligned priorities that it is sometimes hard to know what opportunities are real and how to position your firm to compete. Now, the impacts of sequestration are beginning to ripple through an already skittish market, adding to the uncertainty. Yet, there are some things to consider that might indicate the contracting potential for the rest of fiscal 2013 and beyond.
Whenever things get unbearably uncertain it is important to have access to good data and information, plus a little creative thinking. It is the only way I know how to keep from making reactionary decisions and to get into proactive mode. So when it comes to thinking about the business prospects for the remainder of fiscal year (FY) 2013 it helps to build some historical context.
To get a sense of the historical pace and relative magnitude of federal spending for the remaining two fiscal quarters of 2013 I looked at the reported quarterly contract obligations across the federal government for the last five years. As I have noted in the past, we have seen a shift in federal spending to later and later in the fiscal year. Spending in Q1 and Q2 (in varying degrees) has shifted to Q3 and Q4. Even with some yearly fluctuation, the trend has been fairly stable. (See chart below.)
These shifts have occurred during a period where we have seen increasing use of continuing resolutions (CR), omnibus appropriations and other delays to funding federal agencies. FY 2013 is not particularly unique in this respect, so it does not seem unreasonable to conclude that the trend will hold this year as well. 
Projected Spending for the Rest of FY 2013 – a Possible Scenario
Now that we have received data for the first two quarters of FY 2013 it becomes possible to perform some rough projections of what might be still on the table for Q3 and Q4. I used FY 2012 data as a basis to make these projections. For FY 2012, adding together Q1 and Q2 departmental obligations and then dividing that sum by the department’s total obligations gave me the relative percentage of total obligations that occurred in Q1 and Q2. (See the table below for the top 20 federal departments and agencies.)
Assuming that agency contracted spending in FY 2013 will be at least 90% of what it was in FY 2012 (sequestration may represent about a 7% cut, so this 10% difference seemed reasonable to me) I followed a similar approach to calculate estimates for Q1 and Q2 percentages and potential remaining obligations for the remainder of FY 2013. 
For example, in the table below the Army had combined FY 2012 Q1 and Q2 obligations of $41.6 billion, which was 38% of their total FY 2012 obligations. The Army had a total of $17.8 billion in contract obligations for Q1 and Q2 of FY 2013, which represents 18% of the projected potential total FY 2013 spend, using my 90% of FY’12 assumption. Applying the percentage left over (i.e. 82%) to my total FY 2013 estimate results in a potential remaining obligation balance for Q3 and Q4 of $79.6 billion for the Army.
 
Granted, performing estimates at this macro level has its limitations and it requires certain broad assumptions for consistency, like a comparable year-over-year obligation rate and that, to some degree, these expenditures are for recurring needs. Some departments have a measure of cyclicality that is underrepresented in a chart covering just a few years. For example, Energy tends to run cyclically between 40% and 68% for Q1 and Q2 every other year or so like a pendulum. Further analysis into the specific contracts is needed to understand why.
Implications
Comparing the 2012 and 2013 percentages reveals that nearly all of the top 20 departments are behind in obligating funds, even with an assumed 10% reduction in spending from FY 2012. While the one-two punch of delayed budgets and sequestration might explain much of this it still remains that these agencies will need to obligate their remaining budgets by the end of the fiscal year. Even (or especially) in this uncertain budgetary environment, agencies will not likely leave money unspent. It is still a “use it or lose it” world out there. So there may likely be some significant pent-up demand that we could see play out in the remaining two quarters.

If this simple analysis holds even close to reality the potential remaining total contract obligations across all federal departments and agencies could be over $300 billion in Q3 and Q4, or 70% of total FY 2013 contract obligations. The second half of fiscal 2013 could potentially see federal contract dollars really flow.

New Jersey FY 2014 Budget Analysis: Superstorm Sandy just one ingredient in mounting budget problems

Of all the budgets rolled out by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie during his four years as governor, the 2013-14 plan might be the most important of his career. A maelstrom of structural funding issues, political ambition and environmental acts of God have placed the Garden State’s finances in a precarious position – one with no clear path to closing the estimated $2 billion revenue shortfall that analysts forecast by mid-2013.
It was just last year that Christie’s administration confidently predicted more than 7 percent revenue growth as part of the “New Jersey Comeback Plan,” and aimed to push through additional tax cuts. However, much of that growth failed to materialize, and by late September, the state found itself more than $250 million short of initial estimates. After Superstorm Sandy wreaked havoc across the Jersey Shore, the resulting economic fallout ballooned the state’s deficit woes to $451 million.
While emergency federal funds passed in January 2013 will help staunch the bleeding from that particular blow, the state still faces some daunting headwinds: a pension crisis that is expected to cost an estimated $5.5 billion annually starting in 2018; the fourth highest unemployment rate in the nation; a perilous choice on Medicaid expansion, and a strong aversion to tax increases or deep spending cuts on both sides of the aisle to help balance the ledger. Adding to this volatile equation is a governor with national ambitions and all 120 state legislators being up for reelection in November.
All-Funds Spending
 
Faced with this mix of contradictory incentives, Christie unveiled a budget on Feb. 26 that calls for more than $70 billion in all-funds spending for fiscal year 2014. This represents a nearly 9 percent, or $5.8 billion, increase over the 2013 proposed budget. However, when compared to actual spending totals provided by the governor’s office for FY 2013, that increase shrinks to a little more than $1 billion. While topping the $70 billion mark – something not seen in the past five budget years – the state’s general funds are actually operating at around 2008 levels, something Christie boasted about in his address to the state legislature.
The largest gains from last year’s proposed budget were found in the Department of Human Services ($1.78 billion; 13.3 percent increase), the Department of Labor and Workforce Development ($1.58 billion; 32 percent increase) and the New Jersey Transit Corporation ($809 million; 48.8 percent increase). The funding increases in these three departments combined make up more than 70 percent of the increase from last year’s  proposed budget. Not surprisingly, the Department of Human Services saw a big increase year over year. With responsibilities for Medicaid and other health care spending, New Jersey is like every other state in the nation struggling to keep up with rising health care costs that threaten to crowd out other budget priorities.
Christie’s decision to embrace Medicaid expansion (and the gobs of federal subsidies that go with it) will yield $227 million in savings this next fiscal year. Built into Christie’s all-funds budget for the department is a $1 billion increase in federal funding, most of which will go toward expanding health coverage to 104,000 previously uninsured, low-income citizens. The overwhelming majority of the non-state appropriated portion of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development goes toward unemployment insurance and bond funds, with about $900 million coming from the state, federal government and other funds. The budget documents do not break out funding for the N.J. Transit Corporation, but the hefty increase may reflect an underestimated price tag for running the state’s public transportation infrastructure in last year’s budget. Though the governor only recommended $1.6 billion of funding in FY 2013, the corporation wound up spending more than $2.4 billion, just $37 million less than what is proposed for FY 2014.
Environmental priorities took the biggest hit in this year’s budget cycle, with the Department of Environmental Protection losing $180 million (18 percent) of funding compared to last year. Funding for the quasi-independent New Jersey Schools Authority nearly dropped off the map, going from $200 million in proposed funds for 2013, to just $435,000 for this upcoming fiscal year.
For the complete version of this state budget analysis, please download or purchase the complete Analyst Perspective here.

Sunshine Week: Virginia Transparency IT Spending for FY 11 and FY 12

Welcome to day three of Deltek’s Sunshine Week transparency blog series. In the lead up to our upcoming transparency report on IT state spending habits, to be published later this month, the general government services state and local team is providing a sneak preview of a handful of states included in the report. Today we will look at the commonwealth of Virginia, which spent more than $348 million on information technology systems, equipment and services in fiscal year 2012.
 

  

 

Contractual services make the lion’s share of the commonwealth’s IT spending totals, with $286 million dedicated in FY 2011 and $281 million in FY 2012. This fact bodes well for the vendor community, though it should be noted that a large chunk of Virginia’s contract spending for common IT needs is likely purchased off of existing term contracts as opposed to one-off technology procurements. Of that contract portion, information management program design and development services ($219.7 million), telecommunications services ($43.9 million) and computer software maintenance ($13 million) are the three largest expenditure categories, and together represent nearly 80 percent of total state IT spending in FY 2012.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From just a cursory look at the data, two things immediately jump out: IT spending overall remains remarkably consistent between FY 2011 and 2012, and the amount spent on specific technologies over this two-year stretch are all over the map. While the state reports only $14,823 of spending on vendor-related computer operating services in FY 2011, that figure jumps to $227,989 in FY 2012 – a more than 15-fold increase. Computer operating services performed by the state’s consolidated technology agency (VITA) is a mirror image, with more than $1 million of contract spending support in FY 2011 compared to just $4,095 in FY 2012.  
In isolation, this would make sense and could simply reflect a change in strategy for managing the state’s technology infrastructure. However, this trend shows up over and over again for other spending categories, contractual or otherwise. Technology infrastructure contract spending saw $213,495 in FY 2011 compared to $1.29 million in FY 2012. The state spent $53,973 on computer software rentals in FY 2011 and $313,309 in FY 2012. Computer software purchases rang up $5.7 million in FY 2011 and nearly doubled ($10.8 million) one year later.
Analyst’s Take 
From this (admittedly limited) sample, it is possible to make several inferences regarding Virginia’s IT spending strategies. First, that Virginia IT officials prefer to practice binge spending on specific technologies within a given budget year, making upgrades or legacy replacements all at once instead of  staggering the purchases according to schedule or individual need. Second, that if you deal with a specific type of IT product (say software rentals or microcomputers) and you want to do business with the commonwealth, you are likely to only get one chance to respond to RFPs or sell your wares every three to four years during the technology upgrade cycle.  
Finally, this makes future Virginia spending habits easier to predict, especially since the state updates its IT spend for FY 13 on a quarterly basis. Taking a look at the latest quarterly spending figures and comparing them to last year’s totals can help vendors determine which technologies have been given the purchasing green light by state officials for 2013. For instance, in the first two quarters of FY 2013, the state has already spent significantly more on network servers and network components than it did for all of FY 2012.  
The following opportunities are currently being tracked in Deltek’s system and have anticipated solicitation releases in the near future:
Deltek will publish a full-length report, “State Government Transparency Report 2013,” providing detailed itemized IT expenditures for the state of Virginia and many other states in the coming weeks. 
GovWin IQ subscribers can learn more about these statewide contracts in the provided links. Non-subscribers can gain access with a GovWin IQ free trial

Texas-sized budget proposals are back in the Lone Star State

As the saying goes, everything is bigger in Texas – and from vehicles, food portions and clothing accessories, to the chief executive’s time in office and the economy – the adage lives up to reality. Nowhere is this more apparent than with a cursory glance at the state’s budget. In 2011, at the height of the fiscal crisis that plagued states, Deltek parsed through the political rhetoric to report on the health of Texas’ budget. In that report, we examined Governor Rick Perry’s proposed budget and found that a budgetary deficit of $27 billion had prompted him to slash spending in nearly every department and vertical, minus public finance. In retrospect, we can report that the depth of the cuts proposed by the governor for the FY 2012-13 biennium were not borne out in the actual expenditures from FY 2012. Indeed, the governor’s current biennium budget proposal contains a near complete restoration of funding to 2011 levels.

In the FY 2014 – 15 biennium budget, we gain an excellent opportunity to compare the proposed budget with actual expenditures. At face value, Governor Perry’s proposals reflect a high point in FY 2011, with massive cuts in FY 12-13, and a near restoration of funding in FY 14-15 (Figure 1).


Click on image for full-sized version

However, the real story, reflected in Figure 2 below, is far different. Yes, the governor proposed a budget for FY 12-13 that was severely cut vis à vis FY 11, but when one observes the actual expenditure data, it becomes clear that the state found it quite difficult to slash the budget across all verticals as originally proposed. The actual expenditures show an increase in funding for the health and human services, general government, natural resources, and public safety verticals. This is a far different picture of fiscal health than the one painted in Governor Perry’s original budget proposal. .

 
A full analysis of the Texas proposed budget is available here. Non-subscribers can gain access with a GovWin IQ free trial.

 

 

 

 

NASCIO divulges state CIO priorities in annual survey top tens

The National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) recently published its 2013 State CIO priorities and priority technologies, based on its annual state CIO survey. The survey is a valued peak into the minds and wish lists of state IT executives, and when compared against past priorities, we can see that consolidating existing IT infrastructure and optimizing it for the future (particularly for the cloud) will be among the highest priorities for CIOs this year.
 
 
In this year’s top three, we see a fairly consistent pattern among the states of shifting away from the budget cutting, cost-saving measures of the post-recession years, toward much-needed reinvestment in long-term IT infrastructure. Among last year’s top three, consolidation/optimization remains number one, but budget and cost control falls to number five, and governance drops off the list completely. The second spot this year goes to cloud services, which didn’t even make the list until 2011. Security makes a triumphant return to the top three after being a middle-of-the-pack priority since 2009. In my opinion, these three priorities are all connected and track fairly well with what Deltek has seen in the market over the past few years.
Initiatives to consolidate or upgrade existing data centers have been, or are taking place in Oklahoma, Texas, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania and North Carolina. Among these states, New York, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Texas require significant cloud capabilities for their new consolidated data centers. In many cases, states are looking to the private sector to implement these initiatives and guide them on the right path. Of course, as the importance of cloud-based IT services rise, so do concerns about secure technologies. While security is no longer the barrier to cloud entry that it has been in the past, it is and will remain one of the top concerns for CIOs as they continue integrating the cloud into their existing IT infrastructure.
2013 CIO Technology Priorities
NASCIO also queries its members about their top 10 priority technologies. While the shakeup from last year’s top three is less pronounced, we continue to see a distinct pattern emerging in the minds of state CIOs. It is clear that many envision a future government workforce that is mobile, virtual and able to access workplace resources from anywhere on the planet. While this likely falls short of representing a harbinger of doom for the face-to-face,  brick-and-mortar way of doing state business, the investment in these top three technologies may very well be laying the groundwork for such a future.
 

 Not surprisingly, the new top technology pursued this year is cloud-based services. This comes as no surprise to Deltek, which has seen an explosion of cloud-related procurement in the last three years, as well as procurements for other technologies with specific cloud-integration components built into solicitations. We are quickly approaching the point (if we have not reached it already) where cloud integration requirements for state technology RFPs are the norm, not the exception.
Also notable is the journey of mobile workforce technologies, which hung around as a low-level CIO priority from 2007-2009, dropped out of the top 10 entirely in 2010-2011, and returned this year with a vengeance as the number two priority technology. As cloud computing continues to make it easier for government employees to virtually access their workplace from remote environments, governments are planning to put some serious dollars into making sure their workforce has the mobile computing tools necessary to take advantage of this new environment.
 For the full version of this AP with a complete breakdown of policy and technology priorities, click here (subscription required)

General government state and local ballot initiatives: Education

While media outlets nationwide concentrate heavily on how Tuesday’s election results will affect federal government spending, contracting and state and local funding, I would like to shine a light on a series of state and local ballot measures that will certainly fly under the radar in the wake of President Obama’s reelection, but may nevertheless have major impact on business, procurement and IT needs. Here’s a breakdown of several measures that are sure to affect the state and local education landscape, lottery and gaming operations, and procurement law:
 
EDUCATION
 
Illinois:
-       In Chicago, voters have tentatively passed Ballot Measure E, which would provide $78 million for improvements to Chico Unified School District campuses. That is a hefty amount, and there is sure to be a fair amount put toward upgrading the district’s technology infrastructure.
 
Arizona:
-       Prop 204 would have approved a 1 cent per dollar sales tax hike. Approximately 80 percent of the revenue from the tax hike would have gone toward bolstering education funds; contractors within the state largely supported its passage. The measure failed by a 2-1 margin.

Coconino County, Arizona:
-       A measure to increase the operating budget for the Page Unified School District in Coconino County would have led to a $1.16 million increase in funding through 2017-18. The measure failed to pass.
 
Maricopa County, Arizona:
-       The West-MEC bond will lead to almost $75 million in bonds to pay for new campuses and vocational training centers for the Western Maricopa Education Center. The initiative will also result in new facilities in Buckeye and North Phoenix, and improvements to existing facilities in Glendale and Surprise. According to the Phoenix Arizona News, the measure was overwhelmingly approved.
 
California:
-       The passing of Governor Brown’s proposition for a sales and income tax increase (Prop 30) was a major win for education. The measure is expected to raise $6-$9 billion in additional revenue for schools. Brown’s measure will raise taxes on high-income earners and be retroactive to all revenue earned since January 1, 2012. This measure will presumably stave off massive cuts to California’s education system that would have had devastating long-term effects on education procurement in the most populous state in the nation. 
 
-       Butte County’s Gridley Unified School District failed to pass a measure to borrow $11 million to “improve student access to computers and modern technology.” 
 
Many states and localities had ballot initiatives seeking to secure funding for education and schools through the issuance of bonds, tax increases or other forms of borrowing. In the vast majority of these cases, the intention was not to find new money, but rather find ways to continue status-quo funding or bolster large funding shortfalls. While this will not necessarily result in a wave of new spending on education or education IT, at the end of the day, the money will be used to preserve existing programs and contracts that would otherwise be canceled or discontinued without new sources of revenue. This represents more of a “staunch the bleeding” act for many governments, but if it means that existing contracts have enough funding to be re-bid moving forward, that will still result in a net gain for government contractors.

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