Navigating the trend and changes in the year ahead
The Washington Technology 2016 Insider Report (download) offers us a quick reference guide to technology in 2016, divided into two sections – how the market is changing, and the changes your company must consider to remain relevant and successful.
How the Market is Changing
While last year had the expected ups and downs in the market with one of the trends being a lack of consistency across the market – since 2013 contract spending by civilian agencies increased by 11 billion, but contract spending on defense was down 36 billion. In good news, signs point to a more promising year. It is thought that defense spending may be back on the rise, the portents being spending targets from the latest budget agreement, with growth across all of the appropriation bills, and total defense appropriations rebounding with an increase of 30 billion. Money is also flowing into small business.
Market consolidation means fewer prime contract positions, but more money for the remaining positions. That means companies need to decide which contract vehicles they want to pursue, and they need to be smart about how they pursue them. Kevin Plexico, vice president of research at Deltek, says “Any growth-minded company needs to think about their capabilities, the customers they want to target and also what contracts they need to have so customers can reach them easily. It’s a three-pronged approach: capabilities, customers and contracts.”
Currently six trends are reshaping the market – the immediate need of the government for proactive security management and monitoring, a shift to data science focus (from a data management focus,) agencies moving to cloud management services rather than cloud hosting, new approaches to digital processes, the outsourcing of mobile device lifecycle management, and agencies’ interest in using the Internet of Things to improve asset utilization and processes.
The report makes five predictions for 2016: increased collaboration among federal,state and local agencies, the continued momentum of the citizen experience, heightened attention to outcomes and accountability, and the use of data analytics to support mission effectiveness and better outcomes.
How You Should Change to Remain Competitive
Based on conversations with companies created to understand what they are doing to acquire more business in 2016, the report recommends that companies engage in the following: Improvement and optimization of business processes that are designed for business development, business acquisition training for biz dev employees and also for project managers and technical personnel to assist with prospecting for new opportunities with existing customers. They also recommend creating focused pipelines that aren’t just full, but are also realistic because deals that were unlikey to bid or win are quickly discarded, putting more focused effort into customer contact including and especially into understanding customer requirements. Also suggested is improving qualification standards for bids including better qualification criteria to support decisions about deal pursuit. When it comes to proposals, updating pre-written, often used content is another area for improvement and, finally, if you haven’t done it yet, a year in review assessment and subsequent adjustment to your processes may be in order.
Next the report offers the 6 cyber best practices in the new year which include reviewing current access privileges, monitoring employees’ actions online, defending against malicious codes, implementing strategies for data backup and recovery, training employees to understand not just the policies but the consequences for ignoring them, and incorporating a continuous evaluation program.
When it comes to marketing, it comes down to three best practices: go mobile, deliver great content, and focus on social engagement with social media and social networks.
Another way to increase your business is to become a better business partner. The report offers six ideas including lowering your risk profile, making it easy to do business by being able to participate and contribute to things such as business development and proposal writing, approaching a potential prime the same way you approach a prospective customer: focus on a few critical skills and technologies and then demonstrate your expertise, understand that cost is king and show how you can bring efficiency or reduce costs on a project as part of demonstrating your value, and finally communication – within your business development team, cross functionally within your organization, and between your organization and the client.
To sum up, the report states “The message is clear – open communications, doing what you say you’re going to do, efficiency and transparency are the critical skills needed to be both a good prime and a good sub in today’s market.“