Montana's 2013 spending forecast

Published: May 08, 2013

Public Finance

Just four months into the year, Montana has already awarded 86 statewide contracts – 11 of which were IT related – according to the state’s transparency website.

The state started off the year slowly, only awarding a few contracts in January and February, one of which was IT related; but with more than half of the contracts awarded in April, Montana’s procurement cycle is picking up steam.

The beginning and final months of the year are always slightly slower with contract awards, while the start and end of the fiscal year (ending in June and beginning in July for most states) prove to be much livelier for procurement.

Last year, Montana’s awarded contracts had a bell-curve distribution; Q1 started off sluggish, the majority of contracts were awarded in Q2 and Q3, and activity died down again in Q4. If this year is any reflection of last year, we should look for an active next couple of months in the state.

As awarded contracts are growing in number, the Q2 spending trend becomes evident. Oftentimes states with a June-July fiscal year see a lull in spending at the end of the fiscal year, once funds have been used up. However, they typically see spending pick back up in July as project funds are approved and allocated. Therefore, vendors should be ready for high procurement activity ahead.

Most of this year’s awarded IT contracts are for software and software systems, and awarded vendors include Dell, High Point Networks LLC, and Hewlett Packard State and Local Enterprise Service. Further IT procurements include contracts for telecommunications systems, technological equipment, and professional services, of which CenturyLink, Compview Inc, and Northslope Capital Advisors are among the awardees. All of these vendors are pretty big players in the IT market, which means Montana contracts are fairly competitive and the state tends to do business with existing vendors. Smaller and newer vendors should take note of this.

The awarded contract values range from $17,000 to $500,000, and total approximately $1 million spent on IT contracts this year. Vendors should keep an eye out for more high-value contracts in the coming months as Montana still has a lot to spend.

Additionally, state departments just submitted their proposed budgets and bills for approval, and as Governor Steve Bullock approves them, procurement activity will rise. The Governor’s Information Technology Summary mentions a few projects the state is most interested in pursuing, including a statewide voter registration system, enhancing e-services for property and state taxes, and a computerized management maintenance system. The state outlined more than $15 million for these opportunities, as well as more than $14 million in long-term IT projects. Further opportunities can be found in the Montana state profile database.