Deltek’s 10th Annual Government Contracting Clarity Industry Study

On June 25th 2019 Deltek started their webinar series for the 10th annual Deltek Clarity Government Contracting Industry Study. The results are based on a survey of more than 700 respondent in government contracting and designed to identify federal contracting trends and analyze market outlook, top trends in business development, human capital management, project management, information technology, manufacturing, procurement, contract management, finance, and compliance. The main takeaways from the study include…

  1. Attracting qualified talent and retaining top performers continues to be a major factor for success—and a high priority among the most successful companies.

Reasons:

  • High-performing talent is increasingly hard to find, hire, and retain in this economy. Firms are challenged by the ability to both match qualified candidates to open positions and retain top performers.
  • Accordingly, employee retention has emerged as a competitive response. Businesses are now increasingly focused on improving the entire employee experience with new Human Capital Management (HCM) technology, continuous performance management and robust career development programs.
  1. Cost of compliance for Contracting Purchasing System Review (CPSR) audits are on the rise.

Reason:

  • CPSR audits were indicated as a significant cost for firms in 2018, with 83% of respondents indicating it as a “moderately” or “more costly” compliance to meet. This is a relatively significant increase of 17 points from respondents last year.
  1. Growth and competition increase for most businesses.

Reason:

  • The overall market for government contractors remains healthy as government spending has continued to increase. Businesses are seeking to make the most of the bullish spending environment by pursuing growth and profit-maximizing strategies. Competition is up as contractors are expanding into new government agencies and looking to grow their customer base.

Link: https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/delteks-10th-annual-government-contracting-clarity-industry-study-results-highlight-challenges-and-opportunities-for-contractors-300874789.html

GSA Sends out RFI for MAS Consolidation

The General Service Administration issued a Request for Information in order to seek feedback from the industry on the upcoming modernization process of MAS. MAS Consolidation is one of the four cornerstone initiatives of the Federal Marketplace (FMP) Strategy, GSA’s plan to modernize and simplify the buying and selling experience for customers, suppliers, and acquisition professionals. The process began in November 2018 with the goal of consolidating the existing 24 Multiple Award Schedules (MAS) into one single Schedule. This ensures consistency while at the same time make it easier for customers to find solutions under one contract vehicle, ensure that the terms and conditions are met, and eliminate duplicate contracts.

GSA hopes that this consolidation program will be completed by October 2019. According to MAS PMO Director Stephanie Shutt, their goal was to do more than just remove duplicate provisions and clauses. “Streamlining our current terms and conditions, and making it easier for buyers and sellers to work with government is a big part of schedules consolidation,” said Shutt. “The feedback we receive from this RFI is an important building block for GSA’s new single solicitation.” Phase One of the project will be completed during FY19. The new schedule will be organized by categories mapped to the current government wide category structure. GSA is reviewing all of the Special Item Numbers (SINs) currently available under GSA schedules; once complete, the new proposed SINs will be available for public comment. Hopefully the feedback provided would assist GSA into improving their consolidation process. However, at the moment it is still too early to tell how well this consolidation process would go.

 

Source: https://www.gsa.gov/about-us/newsroom/news-releases/gsa-seeks-feedback-from-industry-on-consolidating-multiple-award-schedules-and-proposed-terms-and-conditions

Big Changes to Big Tech

From the time the personal computer became feasible in the 1980s to the present day, a great deal has changed in the tech industry. Names like Apple and Microsoft are still around, thriving in fact, but there are a few new players, the likes of Facebook, Google, and Amazon. With groundbreaking innovation comes the possibility of monopoly, which is what this blog aims to take a peek at. Specifically, the online services that we know and may or may not love, and how the federal government’s plans to delve into antitrust talks may affect consumers and small business owners.

The European Union has been going after American tech companies frequently as of late, as our President says, “Every week you see them going after Facebook and Apple and all of these companies … The European Union is suing them all of the time.” While this may come as a surprise, just think about how many viable alternatives you have concerning the services these tech giants provide. If you are a small business owner and want to advertise, the local paper does not quite cut it anymore. Or if you sell goods on the internet, you would be unwise to boycott Amazon. This type of control is concerning, which is exactly why the US Department of Justice and Congress have been making moves hinting at antitrust.

But who wins? Currently, consumers and small business owners can access free email with cloud storage and analytics with Google, but would that still be the case if it were split into five different entities with far less resources and capability? Would consumers and small business owners be able to reach each other efficiently if Facebook’s networking prowess was suddenly thwarted and split however many ways? And how about free next day delivery, would that still be a possibility if Amazon were broken up? These are all excellent questions that make us all say “Leave them alone!” But there is another side to the coin to consider.

The dark side of giving all of this power to these Big Tech companies would lie in the prospect of monopoly, which is why the federal government is considering the pursuit of antitrust legislation. Many small business owners already have trouble with competitor advertising on Google and Facebook, claiming that ads featuring their competitors show up on their website or next to their name when searched. If one company controls who sees what and for how much, small businesses may be in big trouble if no one takes action, as they could be monetarily bullied and unable to compete. If Amazon decides to charge vendors outrageous fees to sell their products on its website, it could put countless small businesses out for the count.

Regardless of our current situation, it is a very interesting technological time we are experiencing, and there are sure to be some big changes coming for in the near future. It is entirely possible that our favorite Big Tech companies may look completely different in five years’ time, or perhaps may not exist at all. With technology exploding at its current extraordinary rate, we are going to see some incredible advancements, whether the federal government gets involved or not.

 

Sources:

https://www.theverge.com/2019/6/10/18659619/donald-trump-facebook-google-amazon-apple-antitrust-european-union-eu

https://www.inc.com/jason-aten/the-federal-government-looks-ready-to-pick-a-fight-with-big-tech-heres-why-there-wont-be-any-winners-if-they-do.html

Voice-Search Optimization and Your Business

In case you needed a new acronym to add to your repertoire, I present to you VSO. If you don’t already know what this stands for, you will soon, as will the rest of the world. VSO or Voice-Search Optimization is taking the world by storm. It is likely that you already own and use this technology; Think of Alexa, Google Home, Siri, and Bixby, to name a few. As technological change continues to make our lives easier, though sometimes a bit more complex, this new technology allows users to simply speak commands rather than typing on a keyboard or screen. How much easier can it get? While this may be an exciting new feature on your mobile device or an unexpected gift from an in-law, the implications of VSO are widespread, ranging from everyday life to the realm of business; even privacy concerns. So, what does VSO have to do with your business? The answer is – an awful lot. The next question is – are you ready for it?

From a business standpoint, VSO provides a whole new world of opportunity for those looking to capitalize on an emerging market. There is a wide-open field for startups to run in many directions with this multifaceted technology. Take shopping for an example. Currently, 37% Millennials report that they usually shop by voice. For businesses, this capability is attractive to consumers, so to latch on early could give your business an edge on the competition. Another big-time market is in homebuilding and construction. With Amazon going all in with its Alexa VSO, many home-building companies will be able to get their piece of the pie by constructing Amazon-connected homes capable of integrating technologies like voice-operated lighting, garage doors, security, digital assistants, and more. At the end of the day, if you are a business owner, you want to be thinking about optimizing voice-search for your business, being that it is becoming the primary method for searching and finding goods and services.

Now let us take a look at how VSO affect your personal business. With the ease of access which comes with VSO technology, there are also looming security concerns. Whether or not these deter you from fully integrating into a VSO lifestyle, it is important to be mindful of the risks. These technologies do record conversations, they are listening for commands after all. It would be a good practice to learn about the implications of such technology before diving in with your clothes on. However, the pros with VSO may prove to greatly outweigh the cons. Think of a perfectly hands-free interface in your car, increasing road safety, and the gains from inherent multitasking capabilities; Or the benefits of having your own personal assistant, capable of managing your busy life. Ultimately, this new technology is exciting and opens many doors for both your personal and professional business.

 

Source:

https://www.inc.com/magazine/201906/amy-webb/voice-search-optimization-alexa-smart-speaker-retail-shopping.html