2012 is here, and with it comes big changes in the Federal IT industry.
Carol Lane, VP of Washington Operations and Federal Relations at Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corporation, told WashingtonExec what she believes needs to happen in the business of government contracting.
Carol Lane: 2012 promises to be quite an interesting year. Poised on the threshold of a Presidential election, it is often difficult to see what will likely move forward in an election year. Uncertainty surrounds the Federal budget and how the Congress might deal with the mounting deficit that faces our economy. In the face of this uncertainty, and as the Federal agencies finalize their FY2013 budget, none of them appear to be preparing for prospect of sequestration. So plans appear to continue to be made by many departments and agencies, ignoring the implications of severe budget challenges. This is not to say they are not cognizant of the situation, because they are. Senior, mid-level and junior management in most departments and agencies are quite sensitive to upcoming budget discussions and constraints and the impacts it may have on their programs. The issue is that they do not have the authority and the tools to change the way they are doing business. There seems to be an acknowledgement that they will have to do business/contracting differently, but making the leap to what those new business models might be, is daunting. To do something different in the government means a lot of new justification on why the new way of doing business is better or cheaper or more efficient than the “traditional” way. Often the government doesn’t have the information to make that justification, so it become easier to continue down the same path they were on. Historically, this has led to a period of in-action surrounding a Presidential election. It is difficult to change cultures and business practices and to “try new things” that are fair and competitive in the government environment. But if we are to truly deal with the budget deficits we – both government and government contractors – must figure out a way to more quickly assess the value of procuring hardware and services in a new way and be willing to take the chance to try and improve the current system. It is an opportunity to be truly transformational.