Lesson in Following the Money - IT Budget Trends Thru 2017

For those of you not in IT, this PIPES still has a lesson worth paying attention to. While you are worrying about decisions on bids you made this year, and preparing to capture some end-of-year funds, do not forget to start your planning for the Governments 2017 programs. For those of you who are looking to get into the Government market, or you are still formulating your growth plans, the FY2016 year is over, start looking at FY2017.

In developing pursuit plans, whether you are starting out or have a mature business, you still need a market segmentation plan before you start looking for individual opportunities. With the possible exception of the top 50 or so Government contractors, no one has the resources to take on the entire Government, trying to chase anything anywhere gives you no leverage – but this is a topic for another discussion. The point here is that a place to start your planning is with the President’s Budget, which is now in place and available to be studied. Why – because every good pipeline pursuit program needs to have a plan, and that plan should follow the money.

Here is why. Every year, in every budget category, agency funds go up and down. So what? Well, if an agency budget is going down the incumbent contracting community at that agency is going to be fighting hard to hold onto their share – tough place to play if you are not already there (tough even if you are!) If things are steady state, and you have good reason to look to that agency for expansion of your business, be careful and prepare well. If the agency is experiencing a boost in its budget for the work that you do, then the opportunity for new players is at its best.

Agencies will use new money for several things that can work together to offer opportunities. The money will find its way into key agency initiatives, it generally does not just get spread around. It will be used to fund new contracting opportunities that often have other agenda’s attached – for example does the agency need to increase its contracting actions with woman owned businesses? Will the money find its way to a field operation (if you are not in DC, this may be in your backyard) where they have placed the responsibility for a particular program?

There are lots of questions to be answered if you want to effectively follow the money – but it starts with knowing who the winners and losers are in the President’s budget. Don’t be fooled by the total (remember, segmentation is key) although it is nice to know the total IT spend is going up. First, a chart on the total – then some details on the largest agencies, and how they will fare: