Key Trends in Government Contracting Unaffected by the Election

A technology client recently asked us to summarize our opinions on key trends in federal government contracting.  We were happy to do so…and share the benefits of this with you.  Here are several key trends we’re seeing in government contracting:

  • More emphasis on shared technology and infrastructure (i.e. cloud computing)
  • More  justification that the chosen procurement vehicle is the best approach of all available contracts
  • More firm fixed-price (FFP) contracts
  • Greater emphasis mobility and working from home (teleworking)
  • Greater focus on IT security given more mobility and teleworking

Technology is driving many of these things as access, sharing, mobility, security, and other related trends converge.  We also don’t believe the election outcome will change the trajectory of any of these trends in a significant way.

What do you think?  What trends are you seeing that support or contradict this list?

 

 

Law Enforcement Takes Social Media Seriously

Social Media Outposts

Social Media Outposts (Photo credit: the tartanpodcast)

As covered by Government Technology, law enforcement is taking social media seriously.  A recent survey of law enforcement agencies shows most agencies use social media, and almost all agencies are interested in using sites like Facebook and Twitter to solve crimes. The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Center for Social Media released its third-annual social media survey on Oct. 2, revealing social media is a fast-growing trend in law enforcement.

Nearly 62 percent of the 600 agencies polled claimed to have a written social media policy, whereas two years ago only 35 percent claimed to have such a policy in place. More agencies said they believe social media helps improve community relations and help solve crimes than two years ago.

Overall, it appears that almost all law enforcement agencies are either using social media or interested, with 92 percent of agencies claiming to use social media sites, with nearly 70 percent of those not using social media planning to begin using it within the next year.

Satisfaction with E-Government at All Time High

According to an article on GovTech, E-government approval has reached an all-time high, government analytics firm ForeSee announced July 24.

On a 100-point scale used by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), the second quarter of this year earned a score of 75.6, taken from 300,000 surveys. The rating is up from 75.2 last quarter and up from a score of 70.9 in 2003.

Despite steady progress in satisfaction with government websites, the firm said there is still much room for improvement.

“Customers already interact with friends, family, companies and brands on multiple platforms. As consumers access the Web from mobile devices in greater numbers, it is natural for them to expect to interact no differently with the government,” ACSI Founder Claes Fornell said in a press release. “The federal government needs to connect with its users on multiple platforms or risk alienating them.”

The three websites with the highest user satisfaction rates are from the Social Security Administration: iClaim (92), Retirement Estimator (90), and Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Costs (90).

States Look to Develop More Mobile Apps

With more than 91 million smartphone mobile devices in the country, states are pursuing the development of mobile applications to meet citizen needs (discussed in Govtech here).

According to a February 2012 survey of 100 members of GovTech Exchange, an online community of senior-level IT pros from state and local government, many states are already moving forward.  The survey found that 38 percent of respondents planned to launch new mobile offerings within 12 months.  Of those planning new deployments, 55 percent said they will use development approaches that allow a single source of content to be viewed by multiple device types and operating systems.  Roughly half said they’ll create the apps using in-house developers, while the other half planned to work with outside developers.

 

New Realities of Government Contracting

A solid article by Steve Charles in Washington Technology, discusses the “new realities” of government contracting.  Some of the more interesting points include:

  • A greater preference for firm, fixed-price contracts
  • More scrutiny surrounding the use of interagency contracts requiring written justification that the vehicle chosen is the “best procurement approach” of all available interagency contracts
  • Greater focus on shared technologies, infrastructures and commodity purchases
  • Movement towards mobility and teleworking

We concur with all of these points.  Most of these trends are in line with what is happening in the private sector as well.  Technology is driving many of these things as access, sharing, mobility, security, and other related trends converge.

What do you think?  What trends are missing from this list?  We’d love to hear from you.

 

Government with its Head in the Cloud

Cloud computing icon

Image via Wikipedia

Michael Koploy,  e-Procurement Software Analyst for Software Advice, writes a solid article on cloud computing in the public sector in his State of the Union: Public Sector and the Cloud.  He makes a good case that the key to government movement toward cloud services is, and will continue to be, cost reduction.  With huge debt and significant budget cuts, government IT managers will no doubt be drawn to cloud services as a lower cost approach to on-site management.

So why aren’t government IT managers flying full speed into the cloud?  Michael says threats to security, and a loss of ownership are key barriers.  It only takes a couple of well-publicized security breaches to make IT decision makers in the government squeamish.  Recent hacking incidents raise questions about just how safe the data is when it’s “outside the walls.”

From our perspective, we continue to be bullish on contractor cloud opportunities.  The commercial world is embracing it dramatically, and, like other trends, government will lag behind, but follow.

It goes back to one of our key principles related to selling to government buyers:  they don’t like risk.  IT contractors will need to double efforts at securing networks, data, etc. (and double efforts at convincing buyers).

Government Technology’s Five Most Important Stories of 2011

The use of technology  in government is a common interest of our readers as the topic impacts a wide variety of government contractors.  As such, we recommend you check out this linked article from Government Technology magazine.  Here, they highlight what they consider to be the five most important technology stories of 2011.  The stories cover the gamut from cloud-based services, to social media in government, to ultra high-speed broadband.  It’s well worth a read.