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Steve O'Keeffe

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Posted: 6/28/2012 - 4 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]

Minimum Wage…?

What’s the new four-letter word in government contracting? Yep, it’s LPTA - Low Price Technically Acceptable. The fowl language is flipping both government mission owners and contractors the bird. Sadly, contracting shops’ definition of TA is causing folks to call these contracts Tragic Acts.
Consider the recompete. An aggressive new contractor low bids an incumbent by 20 percent. The assailant’s proposal is predicated on rebadging all of the incumbent’s personnel - and hiring them at 30 percent less than they’re currently paid by the incumbent. That 10 percent is all profit margin. The government contracting shop awards to the assailant. The new contractor offers the existing workforce their same jobs at 30 percent less money. Who’d take a cut below their minimum wage? The existing workers quit their cubicles. The new contractor can’t perform. The government mission owner is compromised. Now the legal nonsense starts - and it’s not a quick process. As if its not enough that new primes are failing to honor their own teaming agreements and stealing from incumbent subcontractors...
Is it important that the government gets value for every dollar? Yes. Is competition good for America? Yes. Is LPTA making Uncle Sam penny wise...? Too often, yes.

Oh, and by the way, many good incumbent contractor companies, with strong past performance, are being ruined by this contracting lunacy.  No wonder LPTA is being redefined as Lousy Product Tragic Act...

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Posted: 6/21/2012 - 2 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]


Who strummed the banjo and sang?
“Dressed in colors pink and pleasant,
Glows in the dark ‘cause it’s iridescent”
Yes. It’s Paul Newman in Cool Hand Luke. How many times have you struggled to find a movie line? Microsoft is fixin’ to help out. Have you heard about MAVIS? That’s slang for Microsoft Research Audio Video Indexing System.
MAVIS allows you to search full-motion video and multimedia content - like Google allows you to search the web. So what? Well, think beyond helping you win "Name That Tune," MAVIS opens up a world of possibilities. Turn up that hearing aid - 508-compliance on steroids. How about searching CCTV for dodgy schemes? The possibilities are mind boggling.   
Yes, I too feel the shudder of George Orwell. That said, MAVIS opens up a world of new possibilities that take us one step closer to HAL - for better or worse…
Now, Microsoft isn’t the first company that springs to mind when we think of innovation. Perhaps the folks in Redmond should open up the doors to their labs more often? What we have here is a failure to communicate
There’s a lot more than Outlook and Word bubbling in Bill’s test tubes.

Magic stuff this technology.

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Posted: 6/12/2012 - 4 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]


A comedian and a magician walk into a party in Las Vegas. Sound like the first line of a bad joke? Well it’s pretty much turning out that way across the Federal IT market. Since GSA slipped on the banana peel in Sin City, the reverberations of its fall are being felt everywhere. Last week’s new IG report on GSA travel didn’t make things better. Out-of-town conferences are grounded. AFITC cancelled. National Guard NGB JC4I shuttered.
On June 3, DoD froze all large conferences and travel. That means decimation for the LandWarNet gatherings. AFCEA West should eek through - a lot of local attendees. Dare I say it, is the luau at AFCEA TechNet Asia-Pacific in danger of drowning in the tsunami? Surely GSA Expo is extinct. And, with the election looming, the beat down on Feds ain’t letting up any time soon.
What does all this mean? Well, first off, the airlines and hotels will feel the sting - even at per-diem rates, that’s billions in revenue. Second, many of these out-of-town conferences aren't cancelled, they’re finished. That said, government and industry still need to talk - so it’s going to mean more small events that draw local audiences. It’s going to tax the marketing community – it’s time to get more creative. According to the GovMark Council, industry spends 30 percent of its marketing budget on shows. Splashy booths are out. Content is king. Serious, micro-targeted programs are in. Yes, watch out, that means still more conferences in D.C. Will webinars get a boost - certainly. But, I still don’t see senior decision makers eating their lunch in front of a computer screen when they can invite vendors into their office for in-person briefings any time. Attend the GovMark Council luncheon on July 12 to learn new marketing magic tricks for government IT.
Oh, and what does it mean for ELC? Now Williamsburg ain’t Vegas, but it is a nice resort. I’ve attended the conference for the last 20 years - right back to FGIPC. It's always been a great event. That said, most of the government attendees come from GSA. No Federal employee wants to be photographed with a pint glass or golf club in their hand. ELC will need to make some significant changes. I’m guessing it’s RIP for the traditional format. Seems big conference managers will need help from that magician if they're to pull rabbits out of their hats...

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Posted: 6/7/2012 - 1 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]

Networx - Smooth Operator?

What's the forecast for GSA Networx and Federal telco? Dare I say it -- cloudy, according to a recent MeriTalk study - Off the Hook - fielded at this year's Suss Federal Networks conference.
Crossed Wires
Industry and government aren't disputing the phone bill. Considering 2011 spending and revenue - 50 percent of government Networx customers increased spending vs. 44 percent of industry increased their contract revenue. However, wires are crossed on future calling plans. Eighty-six percent of Networx suppliers predict 2012 revenue will rise. Only 13 percent of government see their Networx spend increasing. Thirteen - unlucky for some. If industry plans to meet sales quota, contract holders better hope that 13 percent spends a lot more.
Friends & Family
But, it makes sense to place a call outside GSA's immediate area code to hear voices beyond the Networx Friends & Family plan - agencies that don't currently use Networx. Everybody agrees that the contract is easy to use, but 52 percent of Feds see Networx adoption on hold. A whopping 71 percent of respondents say their agency has not made any purchases on the contract.
Collect Call
In today's budget-constrained world, Feds are shouting the cost savings imperative. Sixty-four percent are much more focused on cost savings than last year. Thirty-one percent are more focused on cost savings than last year. Only five percent say the savings priority is the same year on year. Industry is picking up the receiver - 60 percent say they’re delivering more value for the same cost. But only one in three plan to reduce their prices.
IT Phone Home?
And, buyers and suppliers aren't on the same line when it comes to where to look for savings. Twenty-five percent of Feds voted for telework as the hottest cost cutter, followed by data center consolidation at 19 percent. Forty-three percent of industry voted for data center consolidation as the best penny pincher - only eight percent pinned their savings hopes on telework.
Can You Hear Me Now?
One message that came through loud and clear - mobility cometh. Feds and industry agreed that Uncle Sam will quickly embrace mixed use/BYOD. Thirty-nine percent of government and 56 percent of industry anticipate BYOD across government by 2014. Counterpoint, 34 percent of government and 24 percent of industry respondents believe that personal use of government-furnished phones is more likely.
Before you hang up, how relevant is Networx? Is Networx the Zack Morris phone? What's the future in a cloud UC world? Looking at savings, government needs to act differently, not just give lip service to austerity message. Then industry will get the message - and change its behavior and/or pricing. Recognize and reward innovation, please. Feds are adding telework on speed dial. Mobility matters. And cloud…well, it might just be your “smooth operator.”  And before you ask, no, that’s not my ring back tone. 

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