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GovWin Recon - February 28, 2013

GovWin Recon, produced by Deltek's Federal Industry Analysis (FIA) team, is designed to support awareness and understanding of the issues impacting the government and the contractors that serve it. Recon highlights key developments surrounding government technology, policy, budget and vendor activities.

Headlines beginning with an * include quotes from Deltek analysts. 

Federal IT:

Agency News:

Vendor News:

Cybersecurity:

Cloud Computing / Data Center Consolidation / Virtualization:

Health IT:

Mobility:

Waste, Fraud and Abuse:

Defense / C4ISR / Embedded Technology:

Contracting / Acquisition:

Budget / Sequestration:

State and Local:

GovWin Recon is Deltek's daily newsletter highlighting federal government contracting news and analysis from around the government contracting world. Get it delivered to your e-mail inbox, free!

 

 

Sequestration Effects on State and Local Opportunities

Several state programs could be in jeopardy beginning March 1st if the sequestration takes place. Programs that rely more heavily on grant funding through FEMA, such as emergency preparedness and disaster recovery, are more likely to be affected. Although, at this point, it is hard to determine the long-term effects; sequestration could potentially stunt any progress that has been made on these programs.
 
As previously highlighted by Kristin Howe, sequestration will have an impact on the public safety sector. Funds that have been set aside for relief of disasters such as Hurricane Sandy could be cut including the Disaster Relief Fund (DRF).  In addition, state 911 programs and emergency communication plans could also feel the aftermath of sequestration. States including: Massachusetts, California, Colorado, Michigan, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Kentucky, Florida, Kansas, New Hampshire, North Carolina, South Dakota and New Jersey have all been making diligent efforts to implement or upgrade current 911 technologies to Enhanced or Next Generation systems. Some of these projects have already been put on hold in order to secure additional funding. Sequestration could potentially prolong that process.
 
Cuts to homeland security could diminish funds to the Assistance to Fire fighters Grant (AFG) program as well as state and local law enforcement grants from the Justice Department such as the Justice Assistance Grant (JAG). These cuts could harm a variety of  information sharing initiatives taking place in Arizona and Kansas as well as offender management projects taking place in Kansas, Oregon, Connecticut and Vermont.
 
Analyst’s Take
It will be interesting to see how sequestration could affect the extent to which localities move forward with projects. Many localities who have expressed desire to update 911 systems and emergency communication capabilities are prolonging their efforts in order to align with the state. Sequestration may diminish trickling funds and localities may instead look for opportunities to piggyback off statewide contracts.
 
Vendors should also note that there are other ways to get around DHS grant funding for projects such as NG911 and emergency communications. While there are other grant options available for NG911, many state agencies may choose to rely on increased surcharge collections to obtain additional funding.
 
GovWin IQ subscribers can read further into sequestration here. Non-subscribers can gain access with a GovWin IQ free trial.

 

GovWin Recon - February 27, 2013

GovWin Recon, produced by Deltek's Federal Industry Analysis (FIA) team, is designed to support awareness and understanding of the issues impacting the government and the contractors that serve it. Recon highlights key developments surrounding government technology, policy, budget and vendor activities.

Headlines beginning with an * include quotes from Deltek analysts. 

Federal IT:

Agency News:

Vendor News:

Cybersecurity:

Big Data / Analytics:

Mobility:

Waste, Fraud and Abuse:

Defense / C4ISR / Embedded Technology:

Contracting / Acquisition:

Budget / Sequestration:

State and Local:

GovWin Recon is Deltek's daily newsletter highlighting federal government contracting news and analysis from around the government contracting world. Get it delivered to your e-mail inbox, free!

 

Geospatial Solutions in the Cloud: What Agency Moves are Telling Us

Several years ago, geospatial technology was touted as the new must have capability. Federal agencies agreed and today every department operates a geospatial program to one degree or another. Geospatial data is now also one of the areas where a shared services approach is being implemented in earnest. The Geospatial Platform, a program run by the partner agencies of the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC), collects agency data and makes it available to users as a cloud service run by the General Services Administration. The shift of geospatial services to the cloud is an under-the-radar step in the evolution of federal cloud computing. Halting agency efforts to move email, collaboration, and content management capabilities to the cloud get much more attention and yet the development of cloud-based geospatial services is arguably more important because geospatial data interfaces with many mission critical capabilities. The movement of these capabilities to the cloud blazes a trail for the migration of other mission critical applications. Similarly, the sharing of geospatial data by agencies illustrates the viability of a shared services approach, a path other applications are sure to follow.
Despite the move toward shared services there is also a contrary trend to consider. Some agencies are either migrating their geospatial data to the cloud independent of FGDC related efforts or they have been acquiring cloud-based geospatial capabilities into their own data centers. By my count six agencies so far have begun testing or otherwise working with geospatial capabilities in the cloud. Table 1 below lists the agencies and the names of the projects.

Table 1: Federal Agency Geospatial Cloud Projects

What exactly are these projects and what can being familiar with them tell us about the ongoing evolution of the federal cloud market? Details on most projects could not be found, but information is available for a couple of them. Even this limited data, provides insight into how the landscape of cloud-based geospatial capabilities is changing and where viable future business opportunities may be found.

This BAA, awarded to LMN Solutions in April 2012, is a consulting engagement intended to help the Army Geospatial Center understand how cloud computing can be used to fulfill the mission goals of the Army Geospatial Enterprise. The AGE supports the “Army's Mission Command networks and systems by facilitating the dissemination of relevant geospatial information to every echelon across the operational environment.”
Implication – The Army is actively researching the viability of using cloud solutions in tactical combat environments. Geospatial data is already critical for combat operations, but delivering this data via the cloud is new for the Army. The result of these research efforts could be future investment in cloud services for the AGE, if not for other elements of Army Mission Command as well. Vendors positioned to provide these solutions, especially with zero or near zero-latency, may be able to develop business in this area. The demand is clearly there.
Although this market research released in 2011 did not turn into a formal contract opportunity, the research announcement indicated NASA’s interest in how a cloud-based approach could be used to collect and process climate data. The idea behind the project was to build a virtual climate simulation supercomputer that incorporated local citizen input on climate change, resulting in the development of new climate change models and simulations that utilize geospatial data. The data, processing power, and visualization capabilities requested were to be provided in a cloud environment.
Implication – NASA’s Climate @ Home approach illustrates the rapidly approaching nexus of cloud computing and big data. NASA never proceeded with the project, but the interest expressed in the market research shows how agencies like NASA are looking for new ways to collect, parse, and analyze data via the cloud. Many of the desired goals and capabilities listed in the Request for Information fall under the category of big data analytics. I suspect the Climate @ Home RFI is but a sample of the demand at agencies with scientific missions for analytics solutions in the cloud. Vendors that can demonstrate value and a rapid Return on Investment of cloud-based analytics that work with geospatial data will certainly find interest at NASA, the DOE, and elsewhere. 

 

FedRAMP Looks to Update, Privatize Assessment Program

Following on the heels of updates to federal information security guidance, the General Services Administration (GSA) recently released a Request for Information (RFI) on incorporating updates into its Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP).

The Third Party Assessment Organizations (3PAOs) undergo an accreditation process to verify their ability to provide independent reviews of cloud service provider (CSP) system security controls. According to the RFI published mid -February 2013, “the purpose of this notice is to allow the vendor community the opportunity to provide feedback, input, and changes to FedRAMP’s 3PAO Program Requirements.” At the time the RFI was issued, 16 organizations have received 3PAO accreditation.

On February 5, 2013, the National Institute of Standards and Technology released a final draft update on information security (Special Publications 800-53). The changes included in the latest version include additional security controls related to cloud computing. Those familiar with the FedRAMP program will recall that the program’s security baseline draws on the controls from the previous version of this document. The release of this latest draft raises questions about whether (or rather, how soon) FedRAMP security controls will be updated.

In the early phases of establishing the program, FedRAMP officials suggested that the program’s security controls would evolve along with guidance and technology. Ultimately, this adaptability becomes the burden of 3PAOs and authorized CSPs, both of whom are responsible for ensuring systems continue to comply with FedRAMP requirements, even as they change. Communication with federal customers regarding any change to service or risk management will also be a factor

Officials also explained that they would look to improve program operations and move toward a self-sustaining model. Considering that goal, their recent reference to privatizing the 3PAO accreditation process comes as little surprise. Vendor engaged in the FedRAMP process, either as 3PAOs or CSPs with accreditations or awaiting the results of applications, would do well to consider and share the impact of this move to their business and services, both in terms of operations and costs. Questions regarding the RFI for 3PAO Program Requirements are due by February 26 and responses are due March 8, 2013.

 

GAO Updates High Risk Federal Program List

GAO recently released its biennial list of federal high risk programs, to include 17 programs that have been on the list for 10 years and 6 programs that have been on the list since its inception in 1990.

On February 14th, US Comptroller General, Gene Dodaro, addressed the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to discuss progress for federal high risk programs.   During this update to GAO’s report, two programs were removed from the list and two programs were added bringing the list total to 30 programs. 

GAO removed interagency contracting and IRS Business Systems Modernization from the high risk list.  GAO recently commended the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) for its new policy framework for interagency contracting, and recognized that most of the 24 CFO Act agencies had issued guidance and performed internal reviews.  GAO also removed IRS Business Systems Modernization because sufficient improvements had been made in the areas of financial and IT management to include establishment of effective practices for investment management and project oversight.

GAO added two federal program areas to the list:  Limiting the federal government’s fiscal exposure by better managing climate change risks and mitigating gaps in weather satellite data.  Due to the federal government’s extensive infrastructure, emergency aid programs, and flood insurance program, climate change poses serious financial risks.   GAO believes the government needs leadership and strategy to mitigate these risks.

Gaps in satellite weather data may begin as soon as 2014 and last for more than two years leading to concerns regarding weather forecasts and warnings.  GAO recommends that contingency plans be developed and implemented.

Deltek believes some program areas, such as those that are benefits based, may offer opportunities for technology contractors.  In our recently released report Technology Strategies for Federal Waste, Fraud and Abuse we analyze the government’s progress in cutting WFA and map out ongoing needs.  Federal demand for IT solutions to combat waste, fraud and abuse will continue to increase over the next several years.  Such products and services include technologies for pre-screening and identity authentication; data capture and processing; examination and detection; and investigation, prosecution and recovery.

Through Congressional oversight and legislation, along with OMB leadership and agency accountability and corrective actions, vast improvements have been made to areas remaining on the high risk list.  Continued diligence by agencies in implementing GAO recommendations will lead to continued progress and elimination of federal program areas from the list.  

 

GovWin Recon - February 26, 2013

GovWin Recon, produced by Deltek's Federal Industry Analysis (FIA) team, is designed to support awareness and understanding of the issues impacting the government and the contractors that serve it. Recon highlights key developments surrounding government technology, policy, budget and vendor activities.

Headlines beginning with an * include quotes from Deltek analysts. 

Agency News:

Vendor News:

Cybersecurity:

Health IT:

Big Data / Analytics:

Mobility:

Defense / C4ISR / Embedded Technology:

Contracting / Acquisition:

Budget / Sequestration:

Mergers and Acquisitions:

State and Local:

GovWin Recon is Deltek's daily newsletter highlighting federal government contracting news and analysis from around the government contracting world. Get it delivered to your e-mail inbox, free!

 

GovWin Recon - February 25, 2013

GovWin Recon, produced by Deltek's Federal Industry Analysis (FIA) team, is designed to support awareness and understanding of the issues impacting the government and the contractors that serve it. Recon highlights key developments surrounding government technology, policy, budget and vendor activities.

Headlines beginning with an * include quotes from Deltek analysts. 

Federal IT:

Agency News:

Vendor News:

Cybersecurity:

Health IT:

Big Data / Analytics:

Mobility:

Waste, Fraud and Abuse:

Defense / C4ISR / Embedded Technology:

Contracting / Acquisition:

Budget / Sequestration:

GovWin Recon is Deltek's daily newsletter highlighting federal government contracting news and analysis from around the government contracting world. Get it delivered to your e-mail inbox, free!

 

 

Armed guards and video surveillance: A quest to further secure our schools

In the light of the recent shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., governments across the United States are in hot debate over how to implement stricter security standards within our nation’s schools. This proactive approach to school security has led to the proposition of using armed security personnel such as police or trained guards to prevent the occurrence of any future tragedies. Another option brought to the table involves the implementation of extensive video surveillance networks in schools. Both approaches to increasing public safety standards have led governments to draw additional funds to help thwart these types of incidents.
 
Agencies across the nation, including the state of Virginia, are calling for budget discussions in efforts to restore funds that were previously cut for officer presence at schools. While personnel costs remain an expensive investment for governments to maintain, many feel the benefits will outweigh the extra costs in the long run.
 
Due to cost concerns, many states and localities are also considering arming teachers and other school staff to supplement having to hire additional law enforcement officers. This recommendation has generated a lot of questions among policymakers regarding liability, types of weapons, training, and standards that would differentiate between school staff and police officers. Schools are also considering hiring additional school resource officers (SROs), which are certified law enforcement officers assigned to a school district. The House Appropriations Committee has also announced a proposal for the inclusion of additional money to increase SRO presence within schools.
 
The spike in personnel needs also parallels the call for additional technology resources; some schools are considering increased surveillance measures such as linking video systems to police departments. While schools already utilize video surveillance systems for preventing criminal activity such as vandalism and theft, this is a first step to linking real-time feeds to law enforcement centers.The city of Atlanta, Ga., proposed integrating Atlanta Public Schools into the police department’s growing surveillance network. The goal is to have live video feeds transmitted into the city’s video integration center that is actively monitored by officers, and increase response efforts to any school-related catastrophe. By using this method, departments may have to increase their expenditures on employees to monitor the video feeds.
 
Analyst’s Take
 
These various steps to enhancing school security will surely offer vendors an opportunity to build business in the public safety market. Armed-personnel presence may push governments to purchase additional technology such as mobile/portable radios, and officer-worn cameras to improve operations. On the other hand, vast surveillance networks in schools could lead to the formation of private-public partnerships and additional systems integration with public safety departments. Cities and counties may even begin generating funds for the build out of real-time crime centers.
 
As part of continuous efforts to partner law enforcement and school districts, many schools will be eligible for additional grant funding for public safety infrastructure. Vendors should be on the lookout for grant programs that may be created or expanded, including the SRO program, to assist localities in paying for additional resources.
 
GovWin IQ subscribers can read further about surveillance projects here. Non-subscribers can gain access with a GovWin IQ free trial.

Social media impacting state & local procurement as related contracting opportunities set to rise

In December 2012, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google + were estimated to have over 1.7 billion combined users, an increase of over 500 million for the year. When something takes off in social media, things move, people notice, and change happens. The combined power of social media numbers, communication, and technology has certainly gotten the attention of state and local government, as agencies increasingly use it as a tool with which to engage citizens.  
 
In 2011, state and local government’s use rates for Twitter were over 60 percent and for Facebook over 90 percent, with annual growth rates closing in on 300 percent. From 2010 to 2011, social media use by the 75 largest city governments grew faster than any other interactive online tool. Looking ahead, over 80 percent of state and local government employees expect their agency’s use of social media to increase in the next 12-18 months. 


 
As government’s interest grows, so do the related business opportunities. In our previous analysis at the end of Q3 2012, Deltek projected the number of social media-related business opportunities to continue climbing upward closing out 2012 and moving into 2013 (see Figure 1, below).
 
Figure 1
 
  
 
Since then, Deltek conducted a deeper analysis, finding even more social media-related business opportunities for comparison. In our new analysis (see Figure 2, below), 2012 showed a slowing in new social media opportunities, especially in Q3 and Q4 (note, these are calendar year quarters, not the fiscal year quarters often associated with state budget cycles). Considering that FY 2012 was one of the toughest overall all funds budget years for states, some of this slowdown is not a surprise. When also factoring in the fiscal cliff negotiation uncertainties with overall Q4 reductions in GDP, some scaling back in new solicitations closing out Q3 and Q4 make sense.
 
Figure 2
 
 However, good news continues to abound in state government finances, with 3 straight years of general fund revenue and expenditure growth. States have made the cuts they needed and almost all are operating again with balanced or surplus budgets.
 
With this positive economic outlook in the states in mind, looking to January 2013 and beyond shows promise. The number of identified new social media-related business opportunities in state and local government increased 82% (from 17 to 31) from January 2012 to January 2013 (Figure 3). Even better news, January performance is projected to rise in years to come (Figure 4).
Figure 3 
Figure 4
 
Taking another look at solicitations by month, Deltek discovered that January has a very strong correlation (r2 = .89) to overall yearly contracting opportunities for the state and local government social media market. Looking back at previous years, it also appears that months in Q3 and Q4 have much weaker correlations to overall yearly counts. With this in mind, the slump from Q3 and Q4 in 2012 is even less discouraging and the January 2013 bump holds even more promise for future performance. Projecting yearly social media-related solicitation totals from January solicitation totals shows growth looking ahead (Figure 5).
Figure 5:


Conclusions
 
·         The social media market in state and local government holds tremendous potential for contractors.
·         Social media-related features and functionality are being used in every conceivable state and local government IT system and all vertical areas of service.
·         Market slowdown or saturation is unlikely; new technology and application possibilities will continue to expand contracting opportunities.
·         Deltek’s basic projection of growth in social media-related solicitations from state and local government remains unchanged; continued growth in 2013 and years ahead.
 
Recommendations 
1.     Make plans to grow your state and local government-related business through the emerging social media technology market.
2.     Collaborate and partner with government to develop social media solutions.
3.     Get in on the ground floor now by developing social media functionality that integrates with your current products and services.
    1. Start with the lower hanging fruit by integrating third party social media and social media-like features into your existing government-focused applications
    2. As part of your solutions, develop purpose-built mobile apps with social media components and social media-like features.
·   Help government directly engage with citizens, deliver services, and gather date wherever their citizens are through their smart mobile devices.
·   Move away from only Web-based or supplement Web-based with mobile app-based.
·   Integrate mobile with social media and social media-like features into every IT solution; it will be a contract winning differentiator.
·   Assist government in integrating the big data from your (or your competitor’s) mobile apps with social media/social media-like features.
  1. Work to develop new social media and social media-like features in IT growth areas and areas of natural fit
    • Health care IT
    • Emergency communications
    • Content management
    • Customer relations management
    • E-commerce
    • Educational technology
    • GIS/location-based services
    • Human resources
    • Student information systems
    • Transportation IT)
For more information, download the free summary of the Deltek Report on Social Media in State and Local Government, here.
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