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GovWin Recon - August 29, 2014

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:

Mobility:

Defense / C4ISR / Embedded Technology:

Contracting / Acquisition:

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 - August 28, 2014

 

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:

Big Data / Analytics:

Mobility:

Defense / C4ISR / Embedded Technology:

Contracting / Acquisition:

State and Local:

AEC News:

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!

Federal Acquisitions – Challenges on Both Sides of the Equation

The federal acquisition landscape and procurement processes are complex, to say the least, and people on both sides of the process – government and industry – have their own perspectives on what works and what could be better. At an industry event focusing on federal acquisitions, the similarities and difference in perspective among both sides of the equation made it clear that the challenges to improve federal acquisitions will persist for some time.

Recently, I attended AFCEA International’s Defense Acquisition Modernization Symposium: "Better Buying Power: Do We Have It Right?"  The two-day event featured several keynote presentations from current government acquisition leaders, like Frank Kendall, Under Secretary of Defense, Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, as well as former government leaders and industry professionals with insight into the current and future state of the federal acquisition environment and best practices. Approximately 70% of the attendees were government personnel and most of them were from the federal acquisition community, which gave the symposium a different tenor than so many industry events that are predominately attended by those from industry.

In his opening keynote, Frank Kendall outlined his thoughts on where he would like to see acquisitions headed, including better aligning contract incentives with performance so that profit follows performance. He also wants to build stronger partnerships with the industry community to improve both acquisitions as well as the solutions government is procuring. For his part, Kendall does not see acquisition as the source of the problem for program delays and failures. The root cause of delays is in the plan and execution itself, not acquisition, in Kendall’s view. He sees sequestration as still an issue, due to the uncertainty and inefficiency it introduces, but when asked if he thought it would be lifted he gave it no chance because Congress can’t agree on how to move forward. Kendall said that sequestration costs in FY 2013 for DoD were $37 billion and the same was true in FY 2014. In FY 2015 he sees it costing DoD about $10 billion. In FY 2016, however, the sequestration impact is still unclear. 

Throughout the event several themes became clear that highlight some of the challenges, differences and similarities:

  • Lowest Price, Technically Acceptable (LPTA) – The increased use of LPTA has challenged both sides of the acquisition table and both sides say that they would like to see it used less than it is, but that pressure still exists to use it. Both sides find fault with LPTA – industry for its one-dimensional focus on price, and government because they are not confident in how to use it and don’t like what they are getting for their money.

  • Communication – Government acquisition personnel continue to struggle with knowing when and in what way they can interact with industry, even years after the launch of OMB’s Myth Busters campaign. This lack of accessibility and awareness of their prerogative frustrates the industry side that is looking for information in order to respond to agency needs. Some in industry tend to lead with capability statements rather than seeking to understand the agency’s perspective.

  • Disconnects – On some issues government and industry seem to have very different perspectives on the same issue. For example, government perceives they communicate effectively on program requirements and effectively leverages draft RFPs. Industry often sees draft RFPs that are incomplete or insufficient to provide guidance in designing solutions.

Whether from within government or industry, presenters suggested that the best approach going forward was to focus on improving acquisitions from within the current system rather than asking and hoping for large scale acquisition reform because the complexity of the issues make it difficult to gain consensus in Congress and reform measures tend to have unintended downstream consequences that further exasperate problems.

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Originally published in the GovWin FIA Analysts Perspectives Blog. Follow me on Twitter @GovWinSlye.

GovWin Recon - August 27, 2014

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:

Cloud Computing / Data Center Consolidation / Virtualization:

Big Data / Analytics:

Defense / C4ISR / Embedded Technology:

State and Local:

AEC News:

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!

Cloud Spending on VA’s T4 Contract Vehicle

Over the last month I’ve been posting series of brief analyses of cloud spending on some of the federal government’s largest task order contract vehicles.  So far this series has focused on Government-Wide Acquisition Contracts like Alliant and on Blanket Purchase Agreements like GSA’s cloud BPAs.  This week I’ll narrow the focus to an agency-specific multiple award contract, the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Transformation Twenty-One Total Technology (T4) vehicle.  Since its inception in 2011, T4 has assumed an increasingly important role in VA’s acquisition of information technology support services.  In fact, with 23% of overall agency IT spending going through T4 annually, one could say that T4 has become the go-to procurement vehicle for VA customers.

Within this context cloud computing has assumed an increasingly central role in the VA’s IT environment, a development reflected in spending on cloud computing on T4.  Since fiscal 2010 the VA has awarded contracts for cloud computing with an overall value of $189 million.  This figure comes from data I keep for Federal Industry Analysis clients and it is not comprehensive.  A lot of work is going on behind the scenes that I haven’t been able to capture due to a lack of reporting by the VA.  Nevertheless, I believe the $189 million figure approximates a good portion of the awards made so far. 

Of this total, cloud contract awards made via VA T4 add up to $153 million, basically the lion’s share of the work.  VA customers have awarded an additional $29 million in cloud contracts via GSA’s Schedule IT 70, and just over $1 million apiece for sole source and set-aside awards, so you can see just how central T4 is to cloud procurement at VA.

How does this break down by project?  Here are the top ten programs by total award value.

  1. Cloud Computing for Mobile Device Management and Mobile Application Environment - $49M
  2. Mobile Infrastructure-as-a-Service - $34M
  3. Cloud Computing Services - $28M
  4. Migration and Cloud Hosting Services for the My HealtheVet Application - $14.5M
  5. Veterans Relationship Management CRM Expansion Hosted Cloud Services - $13M
  6. Mobile Applications Collaborative Environment and Device Manager - $9M
  7. Cloud Hosting of Mobile Applications Collaborative Environment and Device Management - $9M
  8. VA for Vets Program Cloud Computing Support - $8M
  9. Voice-as-a-Service Project Support - $7M
  10. Turnkey Cloud Computing Environment to Support the MI 7 New Model of Care HRA - $5M

As we can see from this list there are two areas in particular where the VA has been investing in cloud computing – mobile communications services/capabilities and health IT.  These are of course related as the infrastructure and capabilities for mobile communications will enable access to and use of health IT applications on mobile devices.  In this sense, the VA has been using T4 for precisely the purpose that it was developed – to speed the acquisition of core technologies central to fulfilling the agency’s mission.   It’s worth keeping an eye on T4 as it progresses through its lifecycle because if the VA continues to demonstrate successful use of T4 to accomplish its technology goals, it will serve as an example for other agencies seeking to establish MACs they can use to achieve their own specific goals.

GovWin Recon - August 25, 2014

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:

Big Data / Analytics:

Defense / C4ISR / Embedded Technology:

Contracting / Acquisition:

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 - August 22, 2014

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:

Big Data / Analytics:

Transparency and Performance:

Defense / C4ISR / Embedded Technology:

Contracting / Acquisition:

State and Local:

AEC News:

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!

Federal Busy Season – Which Agencies are Ramping Up to Spend in September?

August is here and that puts us right at the mid-point of the fourth and final quarter of the fiscal year – the federal “busy season.” But that doesn’t mean that half of this business is already accounted for. In fact, historical spending trends suggest that things are just ramping up for its climax in September and several agencies will have billions of dollars to spend on IT before they face expiring funds.

Recently, I showed how federal agency spending trends in Q4 accounted for an average of 39% of agency contracted IT spending for the year, translating into an average of $30 billion in IT products and services contracted during the fourth quarter. Yet, the spending is even more concentrated than that. Upon further analysis, we can see that federal contract spending is disproportionately large in September, the final month of the fiscal year. Agencies obligate 18% of their total contract dollars across all goods and services and 23% of their yearly contracted information technology spending in September alone. That works out to nearly 60% of Q4 IT contract spending and means that about $17.3 billion in IT is likely to be contracted in the month of September.

Twenty five federal departments and agencies account for about 99% of this IT spending. So which of these biggest spending departments and agencies will have the largest percentage of their IT dollars likely to go out next month? See the chart below.


Twelve of the 25 highest spending departments – roughly half – will obligate 25% or more of their FY 2014 IT contract dollars in September, based on a 5-year average. State and AID will obligate more than a third!  The FY 2009-2013 average September contract spending for these 12 agencies is provided below.


Again, we are looking at an average of over $17 billion in IT spending at these agencies in September. Not all of these funds will necessarily expire at the end of the fiscal year, but the historical spending data averaged over the last five years still supports the trend that these agencies will spend at or near these levels, as it reflects some of the spending impacts of recent trends like shifting and tightening budgets, program delays, and sequestration.

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Originally published in the GovWin FIA Analysts Perspectives Blog. Follow me on Twitter @GovWinSlye.

GovWin Recon - August 21, 2014

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.

Sequestration / Budget:

Federal IT:

Agency News:

Vendor News:

Big Data / Analytics:

Mobility:

Defense / C4ISR / Embedded Technology:

State and Local:

AEC News:

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 - August 20, 2014

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.

Sequestration / Budget:

Federal IT:

Agency News:

Vendor News:

Cybersecurity:

Cloud Computing / Data Center Consolidation / Virtualization:

Big Data / Analytics:

Mobility:

Defense / C4ISR / Embedded Technology:

Contracting / Acquisition:

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!

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