The year ahead in government contracting . . .

In the meantime, Government Contractors know full well the game has changed (at least for the short to medium-term).  To use a football analogy, Government Contractor executives will need to decide whether they are trying to make a playoff run on their own or whether they should be looking for a winning team to join for their “post-season” strategy.   The larger industry firms have already begun and will continue to prepare for their post-season by aggressively looking to add superstar free agents (i.e., via expensive acquisitions) and jettisoning underperforming divisions.

from the WashingtonExec December 5th, 2011 post “Bob Kipps 2012 Outlook: GovCon Game Is A Lot Like Football” by Brynn Koeppen

Which direction will government contracting take in 2012?

As the classic song goes . . . this is the most wonderful time of the year, in that between eggnog and Christmas trees, turkey and warm feelings around the fireplace, it is also the time for industry pundits to don their prognosticative hat and tell one and all what the coming year holds for us . . . in the world of government contracting.

What is most interesting is that the public sector, and in particular government contracting, is potentially one of the most lucrative markets with which to deal yet it is also one of the most paradoxically frustrating – especially given the earnest shift away from relationship engagement as part of a misguided attempt at creating what amounts to a false transparency.

Add into the equation the advent of procurement contests (which I covered at length this past summer in a series of posts), and I would have to say that if nothing else 2012 does have the makings for a few interesting and perhaps even noteworthy developments.

Yes I know, many are suggesting that with the economic conditions and budgetary shortfalls in the coffers of governments at all levels – wasn’t it the Governor of Illinois who referred to his as being a deadbeat state, the main highlights during the next 12 months will centre on austerity.

While this may be true to a certain extent, developments relating to for example the GSA’s $2.5 billion cloud computing RFQ is certainly significant, especially given the corresponding study out of Washington which found that 92% of all government IT leaders have reservations about making the move to the cloud. Talk about an irresistible force meeting an immovable object.

As mentioned earlier, procurement contests are another interesting development as governments look to transfer both the risk and responsibility to competing vendors in terms of coming up with innovative solutions to solve specific problems.

It is an interesting twist in that while RFQ’s have been traditionally influenced by a trusted vendor with an inside track that ultimately limited as opposed to stimulated competition, the contest approach doesn’t start with the selection of a solution that qualified vendors can then bid on but, instead starts with a problem and let’s the vendors (within of course a pre-defined guideline) offer up what they believe is the best means by which the stated problem or requirement can be addressed.

Even though, and as demonstrated by the recent case involving a Colorado firm’s proposal for a Regional incineration project in Gatineau, Quebec, there have been points of contention as to the parameters of creativity afforded a participating vendor, procurement contests actually hold the promise for delivering to the public sector innovative solutions that might not have otherwise been considered.  Questions surrounding IP ownership notwithstanding.

Based on the above, while the news of strategic acquisitions of technologically innovative smaller players by the big boys is an interesting angle to be certain, I just do not think that 2012 is going to be the stand pat year that the WashingtonExec article’s writer is suggesting.

What are your thoughts . . . another year of same-old, same old bureaucratic manoeuvring or, the exciting start to a new era in government purchasing? Share your prognosticative musings in the comment section below.

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