IT contractors split on likely effects of Obama policies

A new survey of federal information technology contractors finds them divided over the impact of Obama administration policies, with smaller firms expecting more competition on procurements and larger firms expressing concern about proposals aimed at reducing the role of contractors in government.

The survey, by Chantilly, Va.-based research firm Market Connections, questioned more than 220 IT managers from firms doing business with the government about their expectations of the new administration. Nearly 60 percent of the respondents said dealing with changes in agency strategies and Obama initiatives would be their top challenge during the next 12 months, while 44 percent said achieving growth in the sluggish economy was their biggest concern.

One-third of respondents identified attracting and retaining employees as a major challenge; the issue was the number one concern when Market Connections performed a similar survey in 2006.

Recruitment "has been superseded by some of the other factors," including the presidential transition and economy, said Market Connections President Lisa Dezzutti.

Respondents were split on whether the Obama administration would create more opportunities for contractors (46 percent), or set up more obstacles (40 percent).

"Interestingly, those with lower contract win rates were more likely to anticipate opportunities, while those with higher rates were more likely to perceive more obstacles," Dezzutti said. She attributed the split to a sense of optimism among smaller firms, due in part to the Obama administration's planned contracting changes, including a reduction in the use of sole-source and cost-plus contracts.

"There is a distinct sense that there is going to be a leveling of the playing field. Smaller firms who couldn't compete for large contracts in the past now feel more optimistic about the future chances for success," she said.

Contractors identified information sharing and cybersecurity as the top business opportunities in the government, with health care IT and enterprise architecture close behind. Most respondents said they were beefing up their marketing plans to try to capture some of the funds in the recently passed $787 billion economic stimulus package, though the increased transparency requirements for stimulus projects present challenges.

"Language in the stimulus bill requires free access to all data and personnel for contracts," said Lee Cooper, vice president of business development for Raytheon Technical Services of Waltham, Mass., during a discussion of the survey's results. "The anticipated impact on government contractors -- though we still need further direction from oversight agencies -- is higher costs for staffing and HR, increased data management and cybersecurity systems, and travel and legal fees."

Dezzutti said she was most surprised that 36 percent of respondents reported their companies win less than half the time when their contracts come up for re-competition. That indicates, she said, that federal IT firms should conduct regular customer satisfaction surveys.

"It's critical to know what your customers are going to say about you in your past performance reviews," said Tricia Iveson, vice president of business development at Reston, Va.-based consulting firm Vistronix. "Don't be caught off guard. That's where a third-party satisfaction survey can really help."

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.