2012 has been a tough year for the Federal government – and the 2013 Federal budget numbers look even more challenging:
- The White House reports a 4 percent reduction in contract spending during FY12 – a $20 billion cut
- Federal discretionary spending for FY13 is down $54 billion from FY12 spending; and projected debt held by the public for FY13 is 77.4 percent of the Gross Domestic Product
- Less volume on many government contracts will result in higher per-item or per-service costs, resulting in agencies paying much more for much less
The clear message – Federal spending is tight and it’s going to get tighter. That means a series of tough conversations – about things like volume pricing, LPTA, SLAs, FFP, and FDCCI – all focused on changing how Federal agencies do business. The key question: How do government leaders and their industry partners make these conversations win-win instead of lose-lose? Here are three suggestions based on my recent experiences:
- Get Real: Expect and prepare for budgets to be at the core of the conversation. The more direct the conversation about funding, the more likely we are be to deliver a solution that does more for less
- Think Differently: Now is not the time for more of the same. We need to consider every conversation an opportunity to find new ways to solve a common problem
- Be Candid: Honesty is the best currency. For government, if a solution isn’t fiscally feasible – say so. For us industry folks, if product modifications, volume discounts, and/or special financing aren’t available to that agency, we need to be honest
Finally, start having these conversations today – our problems won’t look better in three months. That may be a little harsh, but straight talk isn’t always pleasant. It’s just straight talk.
Want even more straight talk? Follow me on Twitter @AKRobbins2010.
Anthony Robbins is the vice president of Federal for Brocade.