The Emerging Use of Blockchain in Government

Blockchain is a complex technology that aims to streamline repetitive, data-intensive tasks. It has become more than a hot buzzword in government IT circles, it is already being put into practice.

One way to think of blockchain is as a database that is jointly managed by a distributed set of participants. Adding data requires the "sign off" of everyone in the chain, verifying that the transaction is legitimate. Because of this interconnectedness, it is inherently secure. Every piece is linked to another, changing one piece will impact the rest of the chain (just like that one bulb going out on your Christmas lights) alerting all owners to an issue.

Government agencies are drawn to the security and transparency provided by blockchain to improve the efficiency and stability of processes requiring strict audit trails. NIST has provided guidance to help educate as well as encourage organizations to begin trying out blockchain approaches. Continue reading

The Value of Professional Education

With the kids back to school, it's a great time to turn your attention to your own professional education. Lawyers, doctors, teachers and many other professions require periodic re-certification and have strict requirements for continuing education. Likewise, many government agencies and specialty programs like the Presidential Management Fellows, require their employees to attain a certain number of training hours a year, but for the majority of people, continuing education is completely voluntary.

For those seeking ongoing professional education, there are a number of classifications and categories of education credits available. Some of the most common include:

  • CPEs - Continuing Professional Education. Offered by universities, professional organizations and private companies, these courses are typically accredited by the organization's governing body and help professionals stay current with their industry and its changes.
  • CEUs -- Continuing Education Units. These credits tend to be related to licensed professions and are tied to the renewal of those licenses.
  • Certifications - Certifications are an official marker of knowledge, study and mastery and are typically tied to a specific skill rather than a field of study.
  • CLPs -- Continuous Learning Points. This form of learning credit was created by the DoD and acquisition communities. There is no central governing body or uniform set of standards for issuing CLPs making the process for offering and awarding CLPs less rigorous than that for CEUs.

The value in pursuing educational credits, even when not required, is in the outward expression of your desire to continue to grow and expand in your career. Having certifications as letters after your name provides a level of credibility. Continue reading

Now More Than Ever, Events are a Key Part of the Government Contractor Marketing Spend

Market Connections recently released the findings of their 2018 Federal Government Contractor Study. This year's study had a special focus on the collaboration between Business Development (BD)/sales teams and marketing departments.

When it comes to organizational structure, the study found that the respondent pool was split about 50/50 with half having BD and Marketing report up to different supervisors and the other half having a shared supervisor for the two functions. Interestingly, the study found that companies with separate reporting structures had a higher win rate than those with a shared structure. As one of the speakers said, "what this shows is that BD and marketing are generally rowing in the same direction, even if they are not in the same boat."

One area where both BD and marketing do seem to be sharing a boat (much to our delight) is event sponsorship. Of those surveyed, 86% said that event sponsorship was a part of their marketing spend for 2018. Not only are organizations spending money on events, but they are seeing a return on that investment -- 64% said event marketing was very or somewhat effective in filling the pipeline with qualified leads (making events one of the top five tactics for pipeline marketing). Continue reading

The Complexities of Government Acquisition

Acquisition-it's a complex topic for the government market. Private sector companies must navigate a complex system to make their solutions and services available to government customers. Federal acquisition professionals are working to ease this process and adapt decades old policies to meet the needs of modern technology buys such as cloud and as-a-service offerings. There are also new mandates and government-wide policies like FITARA that IT and procurement personnel have to understand and comply with.  Add to this the fact that the acquisition workforce is in an incredible state of turnover with older professionals retiring and new ones coming in without the guidance of procurement veterans.[Tweet "Acquisition - it's a complex topic for the government market. #GovEventsBlog"]

The ACQUIRE Conference and Expo that took place in June in Washington, DC was designed to help government agencies create, manage, and run successful programs. The conference program offered federal agency-led training sessions, and government & industry thought leadership panels and keynotes. At the event, the Professional Services Council (PSC) issued their biennial Acquisition Policy Survey that more definitively outlined the challenges detailed above. Some of the findings included: Continue reading