The 2016 federal fiscal year may, in reality, be only three quarters of a fiscal year, but at least Congress didn’t let things get delayed any longer. By finally passing a catch-all spending bill in December, Congress enabled agencies to start working on critical projects. This means that your federal customer should have its IT funding number by mid-January.
So how will these IT funds be spent? Here’s a look at the top four areas you can expect your customers to actually fund.
Cyber: Whether it’s security, detection, prevention, recovery or, in some cases, offensive capabilities, cyber spending will continue to dominate new IT spending in FY’16. This is where a lot of “Big Data” spending has gone as well. While a lot of that work will be done in the defense and intelligence market segments, literally every agency will continue to make cyber investments.
Does your company have a new way to protect vital records? How about real-time threat detection and remediation? These solutions are so valuable that they’re driving merger and acquisition activity. Either way, this translates into business opportunities for you.
Cloud: The federal cloud market has yet to mature so significant opportunities remain. One twist here is that what feds call “cloud” may differ from the traditional definition. Some feds may call an on-premise optimized data center a “cloud solution” as they have real concerns about security and are not keen on giving up control of what they see as important data. Expanding your definition to meet theirs will likely drive more business, especially in defense, intelligence and homeland security markets.
Cloud business will also have a significant new channel with the coming of GSA’s Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions contract. This vehicle will likely become one of the largest ways through which agencies buy cloud services. While that is particularly true of Unified Communications (UC) and other cloud-based voice products, don’t count out traditional cloud storage or other cloud projects.
Mobility: The federal workforce is becoming increasingly mobile as the feds look to shed physical real estate assets. Workers in most civilian agencies already spend some of their work week at remote or home bases. Washington area federal agencies decided two years ago to change their snow policies to reflect the expected ability of employees to work off-site. Some first generation solutions to support this, however, were incomplete or not well thought out.
These changes, coupled with the continuing mobile trend, equals continued strong opportunities for firms with mobile solutions. It’s not just work at home, either. Remember that thousands of feds, like Park Rangers, work in remote locations. If you want to take advantage of the opportunity this presents, make sure your mobile solutions are wide enough to meet customer demand.
Maintain Existing Assets: Despite calls from Federal CIO, Tony Scott, for agencies to scrap obsolete IT and march into the 21st century, there just isn’t enough money to replace everything. Also, some CIOs are risk averse and believe that keeping what they have is their best option. While maintaining existing technology isn’t as exciting as procuring new solutions, most federal IT dollars still fall into this category.
Making existing solutions more secure is a top priority and interoperability has taken a back seat. Software upgrades, equipment maintenance and the whole host of “keep my system running, please” opportunities will present themselves to your company from now till September 30th.
Bottom Line for Federal IT Spending in 2016:
Federal IT dollars may not grow significantly in 2016, but there will be plenty of business for dedicated companies who know where to look. Make sure that includes your business and be ready for the three quarters of the year that starts in early January.