For many in the government contracting arena, we came into 2013 with a mixture of fear and anxiety, and just a little bit of hope sprinkled in the mix. Like a dark sky of threatening clouds, sequestration hung over all our heads during the holiday break.
When New Year’s Eve came around, we thought something surely would give. And, something did happen: the deadline was pushed to March 1st. This gave us about one month to take a shallow breath of relief (January) and another (February) to fret about a still uncertain future.
Fast forward to almost June and where are we? Did the sky actually fall on government contractors?
As we have highlighted on FedPulse, we have seen a mixture of the good, the bad and the ugly so far in 2013.
The “good” is that many contractors are still winning contracts, so much so that we launched a “Winning Contractors” series on the blog. The “bad” is that many agencies still face furloughs and government is actively seeking considerable cuts . The “ugly” is that many contractors are still grappling under a dark cloud of uncertainty.
Lockheed Martin continues to be a strong voice in the marketplace — decrying the impact of the sequester and highlighting how the threat level against our nation has never been greater. We need more voices to help remind leaders that sequestration is an inefficient approach to increasing government efficiency.
As highlighted during the recent panel discussion at Market Connections’ 2013 Federal Media and Marketing Study breakfast, the sky is not falling.
[pullquote]“It is not all doom and gloom, and the sky is not falling on the contracting sector,” said Alan Boykin, chief learning officer, National Contract Management Association.[/pullquote] “It is not all doom and gloom, and the sky is not falling on the contracting sector,” said Alan Boykin, chief learning officer, National Contract Management Association, who was also a panelist at the event. “This is actually a time of unique opportunity where contractors can truly differentiate themselves by shining a light on past performance, and focusing on the best value and service combined.”
True, contractors and agencies continue to face challenging times, but there are still growth opportunities in emerging areas like cloud computing, cybersecurity, big data and health IT.
We simply need to be more nimble in servicing current government customers, as well as when seeking new opportunities. This can be achieved by:
- Implementing the right thought leadership programs
- Using research to test marketing messages
- Monitoring customer and contract satisfaction via third party independent research
- Seeing how you stack up against the competition
- Informing business development strategies with new pursuit and capture intelligence
Rather than taking comfort in knowing that uncertainty is the new certainty, it is time for the contracting industry to take control by applying actionable, market-based intelligence that informs operational, business development and marketing decisions.
The sky may not be falling in 2013, and staying ahead of the curve by applying market-based insights to your decision-making will help to keep the storm clouds at bay as you prepare for Federal fiscal year 2014.