MA

Deltek Pulse: General government month in review, March 2014

Published: April 04, 2014

Cloud ComputingEducation (Higher)

A longer month brought an increase in solicitations released in the general government market in March. Approximately 2,700 solicitations were released, which is an increase from the 2,600 released in February. As we noted last month, February saw more solicitations released than January, so the swelling trend continues.

As the word cloud below shows, management systems, software development, and consulting opportunities trended in March.

Within the general government vertical, education had the most solicitations released, with more than 600 tagged as primary/secondary or higher education. In a close second and third were economic development opportunities (374) and natural resources projects (373).

 
Notable projects

  • The Illinois Department of Central Management Services released a solicitation for telecommunications installation and support. The state is seeking a vendor to provide statewide installation and move, add, and change activity for telephone systems, enhanced automatic call distribution system functionality, call recording systems, wiring, and other services. Proposals are due by April 29.
  • San Bernardino County, Calif., released a solicitation for an enterprise financial management system. The county released an RFI for the project back in July 2011, and is now seeking both software and implementation services. Proposals are due by May 19.
  • Montgomery County, Md., released a request for proposals (RFP) for consulting and technical services (CATS). The RFP will provide the county with a source of highly qualified IT firms to provide consulting services to the county in a project-oriented manner. Proposals are due April 18.
  • The Eastern Virginia Medical School released a solicitation for an integrated student information system. The school released an RFI for the system in March 2012 and is seeking a Web-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) academic information system to fill the requirement. Proposals are due May 30.
  • New York state released a request for information for an IT umbrella contract. The potential procurement envisioned by the state would consolidate a staggering array of IT services under a single contract, from software to professional services, hardware and consulting. The project is still in the early stages, but the establishment of such a contract by a high-profile state like New York has the potential to reverberate across the state and local landscape if successful.

Analyst’s Take

The increase in bids this past month brought several highly anticipated projects, as noted above. Projects that have been in progress for a year or more are now accepting proposals. Historically speaking, second quarters usually bring a flurry of procurement, so there’s more to look forward to this spring. If the trend continues, there will be a healthy amount of bids released this month.

The National Association of State Chief Information Officers and TechAmerica partnered to put out a white paper detailing consensus best practices for cloud procurement and contract negotiations.

Among the findings:

  • The number of states purchasing cloud services through an existing procurement vehicle, not specifically designed for the cloud, remains the norm, with 65 percent of CIOs reporting this practice. Forty-seven percent of states have taken the added step of creating a specific procurement vehicle for cloud services; 31 percent of states are leveraging cooperative purchasing contracts (twice as many as in 2012); 16 percent are using federally created cloud procurement constructs (nearly three times as many that reported the same in 2012).
  • Cloud email and storage continues to be the “gateway drug” of choice for many states looking to begin cloud implementation.
  • Outdated state laws, regulations and policies continue to be cited as one of the biggest obstacles to further cloud procurement. While this is informative, Deltek has also consistently argued that the gap between what governments and cloud vendors consider acceptable security risks remains one of the biggest impediments to cloud adoption.

For cloud vendors, utilizing RFIs, pre-bid conferences and solicitation Q-and-A periods is key to establishing a common baseline of expectations when it comes to security and data privacy. Many governments don’t have a firm grasp of the difference between “high standards” and “impossible standards” when it comes to service-level agreements and other contractual obligations, particularly at the start of the RFP process. Conversely, there is a certain point at which governments will abandon a cloud procurement and go in a different direction if they feel a vendor doesn’t understand when it comes to going the extra mile with regards to security. Every cloud vendor should enter an RFP process with the intention of educating the government about what is possible with regards to security levels being requested and the various tradeoffs in cost and efficiency that will come with meeting those requirements.

 

For instance, many CIOs have stated that they will automatically discard a cloud vendor’s proposal – regardless of how good the solution is – if the vendor is not willing to share a certain amount of contractual liability in the event of a data breach.

 

In March, Deltek released its “State IT Hardware Term Contracts Market” report. Learn about the WSCA-driven market and how to compete in the hardware industry by going here.