WashingtonExec 2014 Market Outlook Series
As we turn the page on 2013, we look forward to a new year and new opportunities for innovation and growth in the government contracting community. This past year we experienced budget sequestration, a 16-day-long government shutdown, and a perpetually increasing focus on cyber security and healthcare IT.
WashingtonExec reached out to those most knowledgeable and experienced individuals in the federal contracting space. We asked executives in and around the beltway for insight regarding where they see the government contracting community headed in 2014. Topics discussed include M&A activity, cloud computing, healthcare IT, defense, mobility, and more.
Chris O’Connell is the Vice President of Public Sector Sales at Appian, an business management software company that delivers innovations in social collaboration, enterprise mobility and portable on-premise/cloud computing:
2014 is the year on App Dev’s tombstone. Government innovation is suffering because the energy and money that should be devoted to new uses for technology is, instead, continually funneled into large, long lifecycle ERP and custom development applications. The monumental failures of these projects are well known: massive budget over-runs and multi-year delays to deliver IT systems that are brittle and antiquated the day they are (finally) delivered. In addition, such development initiatives require considerable operations and maintenance expenses over time (by some estimates, upwards of 70 percent of available IT budgets) – even while agency O&M budgets are being reduced by as much as 80 to 85 percent.
To improve innovation, government agencies IT teams must adopt a new approach to reduce the long lifecycle costs that drag them down, and reallocate their diminishing budgets toward utilizing modern technologies available today in the cloud and mobile realms. It is a waste of agency time and money to code and build single-use applications, or to integrate a dozen different products to deliver a single specific functionality. Technology vendors now provide efficient platforms to provide such services without the need for coding, instead visually “composing” applications that work on all devices, whether in the cloud, on premise or both.
Further, government’s ability to deliver innovative services to constituencies hinges on inter- and intra-agency collaboration. Collaboration across knowledge workers in the federal government has fallen victim to the outmoded but continuing practice of developing and using individual applications for day-to-day work, and looking at mobility as an add-on built device by device. The modern approach employs a single intuitive user interface across multiple systems and data sources to improve collaboration and decision-making, and to provide much better service to internal and external agency customers.
The Federal Government will embrace this shift in 2014 because the cost, speed and innovation benefits for agencies, their employees and the American people are simply too great to ignore.