WashingtonExec 2013 Government Contracting Outlook Series:
The new year brings big changes for the Federal IT industry, and WashingtonExec is back with its Government Contracting Industry Outlook Series.
We are giving local executives the opportunity to share their thoughts on where they see our industry headed this year and beyond. Leaders were asked a series of questions focused on cloud computing, healthcare IT, defense, mobility, and more.
Roja Kolachina, CEO of Synerteq, gave us her predictions for 2013.
WashingtonExec: What will next year hold for Government Contracting?
Roja Kolachina: I believe that there’s more uncertainty in the picture than there has been the past few years. We just had the threat of sequestration, which everybody knew was too horrible to contemplate, so then it was announced that there would be a solution before January 2nd 2013. The solution never really came, except that the due date was pushed out. The good news is that the solution is getting postponed in smaller increments of time.
WashingtonExec: More M&A Activity?
Roja Kolachina: If there is a significant drop in government spending, there is almost certain to be some realignment. Companies with cash will want to grow by acquisitions as it gets tougher to maintain revenue levels, let alone grow what they are doing with existing customers as those customers are tightening their budgets.
WashingtonExec: More IT budget cuts?
Roja Kolachina: I think IT budget cuts are a false economy. Well-planned use of IT should enable agencies to do more mission and mission-critical work faster and with fewer resources. Unfortunately, the value of strategic long-term investment is not always appreciated. Some budget experts just look at the numbers for this year, not at the impact that this year’s spending will have on future spending. Another complicating factor is mission growth, which seems to be inevitable, and often conceals the growth in capability to handle the increases with the same resources that well-planned IT provides.
WashingtonExec: What shape will collaboration take between industry and government in addressing tough issues: Healthcare, Defense, Big Data, Mobility, Cloud, etc.?
Roja Kolachina: There obviously needs to be collaboration between industry and government in these areas, no doubt. People in industry often see beyond the perspectives of people in an agency who only see the impacts of the way work is done in their particular agency.
Healthcare is certainly a starring player on the national scene. It is also, by the way, one of the areas where IT investment has shown the greatest benefits, and will continue to do so. The cost of healthcare for companies like mine is certainly an issue. It is going to grow, and frankly, I don’t have a problem with that as long as it grows for all of my competitors at the same rate as it grows for me. There’s no competitive advantage one way or another if everyone is impacted equally.
Big Data is getting bigger. It spotlights the importance and value of strategic investment in IT. If an agency tries to save money this year by postponing dealing with the Big Data issues, it will need to spend proportionally more next year, after a year of reduced performance because the solutions are not there.
One of the key ways our world has changed is Mobility. The lines between work and non-work are becoming less clear. We are essentially a 24-hour world now, and we need the systems to enable and support us in this, while still providing some semblance of difference.
The Cloud is an outstanding example of strategic investment in IT. Elaborate local networks in every workplace are giving way to one big file server called “The Cloud”, and the new technology costs less and works better. But we cannot get there from here without strategic investment first.