Marketing IT Effectively to the Government

Marketing IT Effectively to the Government

In today’s rollercoaster economic times, it becomes more urgent – and more challenging -- to find new customers, even for the best solutions. There’s one customer that companies can count on that isn’t going to stop buying – that’s the government. They might look more aggressively for better value – after all, they’ve got that US$700 billion bailout to pay for – but the government is actively and effectively using technology to improve efficiencies, performance and productivity in many different areas, from the battlefield and homeland security initiatives to running the 'business' of government - human resources, payroll, ordering office equipment. Particularly in the war effort and homeland security initiatives, technology has moved to center stage of many discussions, seen as the enabler of many of the capabilities required to support the current ongoing military efforts, particularly in today’s economic downturn and tightening budgets.

Do you have a product or service that could help these government initiatives improve efficiency and performance? If so, do they know you exist?

The government marketplace has always been regarded as one with high barrier to entry - the perception was that you need to make a significant commitment of resources and manpower, there are a myriad of rules and regulations to comply with, that it's an extremely complex market to break into, requiring a long time before reaping a significant return on investment. Most of these perceptions are accurate - but the payoff is significant. And if you truly have a technology that meets current needs, the government wants to find you. So how do you break through?

First and foremost, the government marketplace is spending serious money on information technology --in particular, US federal agencies are expected to increase their spending on information technology security by 27 percent in the next five years, according to a recently released report from Input, a market research firm.

Input's report says the billions that US federal agencies now spend on IT security products and services each year will increase to US$7.1 billion by 2009. The spending increases will come through grants and routine budgetary recommendations, according to the Input report. The September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks changed the way federal agencies approach IT security. The amount of federal money spent on IT security had been increasing modestly before the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, but it increased dramatically after that — 100 percent in fiscal 2002 and 50 percent in 2003. And civilian agencies spent about US$1.6 billion on IT security in fiscal 2005.

However, along with this increased spending is a heightened sense of fiscal responsibility. Throughout the government — military and civilian alike — executives are under pressure to do more with less. There are transforming initiatives at work across all agencies, such as the President’s Management Agenda, the Office of Management and Budget's Federal Enterprise Architecture, and the Department of Defense's focus on Network Centric Operations. And with the imminent Administration change on the horizon, there are sure to be new initiatives and priorities.

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