By Eric Klos, Principal at HealthTechture
As a 15 years plus Federal Health IT business development professional with a Capitol Hill background I view this upcoming year with a unique perspective, one that the savviest contractors are keenly aware of and act upon. I share these insights on 2016 in light of it being the last year of a two-term Administration and suggest three targeted activities that your competitors will be doing to leave you in the dust.
1. As this administration winds down, we can expect SES-level agency officials to be looking for early transition opportunities to the private sector, while retirement-eligible GS employees see the prospect of a new Administration as an opportune time to retire. Your competitors will be visiting with agency officials and ascertaining the emerging influencers and potential decision-makers who are most likely to assume key roles. Another activity to consider more worthy given the transition that will occur in government program offices are responses to sources sought notices or requests for information. Your competitors will be allocating resources and taking the time to respond to Sources Sought Notices and RFI’s in targeted agencies with new government leads for programs and projects that match their capabilities.
2. According to a recent presentation that previewed the Top 20 Federal Opportunities for FY 2016, the year preceding an Administration often has a plethora of GWAC and IDIQ competitions, and 2016 is no different. This year VA T4NG and CMS SPARC will be awarded in the 2nd and 3rd Qtr respectively with Task Orders to follow. An unprecedented number of GWAC and IDIQ’s will be competed in 2016 including CIO-SP3 SB OnRamp, Alliant SB OnRamp, VETSII, and more. All of these contract vehicles set the stage for opportunities in the near term, but their real value will be realized in 2017 beyond. In addition, GSA has announced its intention to create a new Special Item Number specifically for Health IT for the GSA IT 70 Schedule. Existing GSA IT 70 Schedule holders will have to qualify for the HIT SIN. Contractors across Federal Health IT see clear opportunity in this development. NOTE: Further details regarding the importance of GSA in your future plans will be the topic of a blog article I will issue next week.
3. While budget expectations are clearer because of the recent budget agreement achieved at the end of last year, the final year of an eight-year administration can be a challenging environment for new program or project starts. A large number of sustainment or O&M contract opportunities usually emerge in order to strengthen the contractor position and solidify the chances of sustaining project momentum under a new Administration. Aggressive contractors recognize that an effective strategy for winning business in a new agency is to sharpen the pencil and buy the business on these types of opportunities to establish position.
As you can see, irrespective of it being the last year of the Obama Administration, this will be a busy year as government project officers transition, GWAC and IDIQ awards and competitions proceed, and the budget agreement sets the stage for project and program contracts for 2016 and beyond.
About the Author: Eric Klos is the Managing Principal of HealthTechture, a business consulting firm providing strategic planning, marketing development, and competitive intelligence to Federal Health IT firms. Eric applies vast knowledge of the Federal Health IT market to position companies to seize new business opportunities.