WashingtonExec 2015 Market Outlook Series
We look forward to a new year and new opportunities for innovation and growth in the government contracting community. This past year we experienced an increased emphasis on cybersecurity, the government’s procurement process and a perpetual focus on doing more with less.
WashingtonExec reached out to those most knowledgeable and experienced 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 2015. Topics discussed include M&A activity, cloud computing, privacy issues, data collection, healthcare IT, defense and more.
Information Management Consultants Inc. Executive Vice President Suresh Shenoy discusses how technology and data are the new drivers of the economy because of the “exponential explosion of unstructured information.”
Suresh Shenoy: We enter 2015 with significant uncertainties and a ramp up to 2016 Presidential elections with enormous implications for generations to come. Here are just some things to ponder:
- It will be very interesting to see how the new Republican Congress and Senate work with a lame duck administration. How they conduct themselves will define the tone for 2016 elections. Will they try to address the serious challenges posed by entitlement programs? Will they attempt to bring down the debilitating and potentially crippling national debt? Or, will they wallow in trivia and ideologies rather than real issues posturing themselves for the big prize in 2016? Will true leadership evolve?
- How this Congress and the Administration work out their differences in implementing sequestration, raising the debt ceiling and making much needed amendments to the Affordable Care Act can be expected to dominate the headlines and add to the uncertainties for conducting business.
- The situation in Syria, Iraq, Pakistan and potentially Turkey, can only be expected to worsen as the amorphous “Islamic State” supplements Al Qaeda and numerous other terrorist organizations to disrupt trade and international travel and commerce. The U.S. could find itself sucked once again, into a costly battle with a faceless enemy and straining our economy.
While the above concerns are real and crying out for solutions with leadership and national commitment, there is much to look forward on the technology front with quantum leaps in science and engineering that will continue to accelerate changes in the way in which we communicate, share information, innovate, invest, conduct business, deliver healthcare, etc.
Twitter gets more information across its networks every two days than all the information currently housed in the Library of Congress! It would take 5 years for someone to view every video uploaded to YouTube every 15 seconds! One federal agency CIO remarked they expect the email traffic among its 80,000+ employees to ‘increase’ on average by 6 million each month!
This is an enormous and exponential explosion of unstructured information with rich data to mine and act upon. It is no longer cliché to say that technology is the new driver of the economy and data is its fuel. New and emerging technologies are allowing us to mine this information in ways that can add lots of value to business process through improved efficiencies, cutting costs and to make better and timelier decisions. Government contractors have a huge opportunity to help bring these new methods and adopt emerging technologies to manage this tsunami of data.
Children born in the late 1980s – the millennials – and those who grew up with social media appear to be less inclined to be concerned about privacy, and this is reflected in their online behavior. A Harris poll found that about 85 percent of millennials understand they are giving up some privacy when taking part in a social networking site.
As this generation begins to get into management positions, we will see a redefinition of what might be considered private information that must be kept confidential and secure (e.g. social security number, bank accounts, etc.) and that which is private but can be shared (such as preferences for food, music, shopping habits, etc.). There will also be that “class of information” such as health data that could be shared for the greater good and research, but anonymized to preserve privacy. All this translates into great opportunities for tech savvy companies who know how to assemble, manage and mine unstructured information.
Looking ahead at the future of GovCon, it is inevitable that old, obsolete programs built on legacy platforms will either be eliminated or cut back, and government agencies will be looking to adopt more cost-efficient, contemporary ways to serve its mission. Contractors who embrace emerging technologies and work with new business models such as shared services, cloud and outcome-based pricing, etc. and relate to the mission of their target agencies will see enhanced opportunities. Despite difficult political and budgetary constraints, this remains a large and attractive market to serve with lots of room for innovation and growth.