Welcome!

GovIT Authors: Carmen Gonzalez, Jnan Dash, Wallace Sann, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: GovIT, SOA & WOA, Virtualization, Web 2.0, Cloud Expo, Security

GovIT: Blog Feed Post

Selling to Government (Especially DoD) – It’s Not All About YOU!

My job is all about finding commercial solutions that will solve government problems

By

My job is all about finding commercial solutions that will solve government problems. Some of my favorite work experiences have been when I can connect a new technology to an existing government problem! Talk about satisfying! Although every company is unique in what it offers, the process is often similar. First, I strive to understand what the company can do. Then, I translate that ability into something that is applicable to DoD. And finally, I look for the place within DoD where that solution is needed. That may sound obvious, but from the perspective of DoD, it’s 100% backwards. And that difference in perspective can often derail the process. So bear with me while I explain.

sellingDuring my years on Active Duty, I concentrated on requirements and capabilities. I knew that defining my requirements was the first essential step that would lead to my success as a war fighter. It was often tempting to jump ahead on the process and start listing the solutions I needed. But I knew that I would never get far that way.

First, I knew that I was usually several generations behind on what the “art of the possible” was. As much as the movies like to show DoD with up to date capabilities, what we actually had in the field was way behind. Given that DoD spends a fraction of what Industry spends on R&D, that makes sense. Keeping my requirements clear and factual ensured that I didn’t self-select a lower-grade solution.

Secondly, the acquisition folks would never let me get away with writing specifications based on anything but my basic, actual requirements. There are plenty of examples where military “requirements” went uncontested and after the acquisition process completed, the final purchase was for something MUCH more expensive than it needed to be. That’s a big NO-NO in DoD and there is lots of oversight to prevent that from happening. Now more than ever!

Linking these requirements to the resulting war fighting capability is the piece of the process that is most important when trying to get funding. As a C5ISR expert, I had to learn how to make my seemingly endless list of requirements make sense to the folks that had decision-making power over the funding. These folks are mostly interested in what these requirements bring to the fight: the capabilities that will be achieved. Getting my message across depended on linking my requirements to the capabilities that would enable success in a military mission.

Now, overlay on the above Company X, who is really good at making Widget Y. Widget Y does something really cool, and Company X wants to sell Widget Y to DoD. I learn about Company X and how to use Widget Y, and I find a place in DoD where they might need that capability. A meeting is set up, and Company X visits the warfighter and gets their chance to showcase Widget Y. But Company X can’t get the message across! Because Company X is so in love with Widget Y they can’t stop and look at the requirement objectively and offer their educated inputs on how to satisfy that requirement to achieve the capability that is needed.

Every parent that drops off their 5 year old on the first day of kindergarten truly believes that they have just done something really wonderful for that school. It’s not until the first parent-teacher conference that it even occurs to them that their child might not be a perfect, 100% value-added addition to the class! So it is for Company X. But unlike the parent, Company X is not guaranteed a seat in the class!

DoD really and truly wants to hear from Company X, because they know that Company X is smarter than they are about their particular type of technology. But DoD only wants to hear how that technology can apply to fulfilling their previously identified and prioritized existing requirements. DoD is NOT interested in helping Company X figure out where to stuff their solutions.

To make this type of interaction between DoD and Industry successful, the company needs to be prepared to do some homework BEFORE they go in. They need to understand, as much as they can, what DoD needs. They need to be prepared to really listen when DoD talks. And then they need to be ready to interact with DoD to brainstorm ideas and offer expert advice. Obviously, the desired outcome is that Widget Y might be a solution that can help. But that’s something that can only be determined by clearly addressing the requirements first!

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Bob Gourley

Bob Gourley, former CTO of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), is Founder and CTO of Crucial Point LLC, a technology research and advisory firm providing fact based technology reviews in support of venture capital, private equity and emerging technology firms. He has extensive industry experience in intelligence and security and was awarded an intelligence community meritorious achievement award by AFCEA in 2008, and has also been recognized as an Infoworld Top 25 CTO and as one of the most fascinating communicators in Government IT by GovFresh.

@ThingsExpo Stories
IoT is still a vague buzzword for many people. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Kavis, Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Partners, discussed the business value of IoT that goes far beyond the general public's perception that IoT is all about wearables and home consumer services. He also discussed how IoT is perceived by investors and how venture capitalist access this space. Other topics discussed were barriers to success, what is new, what is old, and what the future may hold. Mike Kavis is Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Pa...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is rapidly in the process of breaking from its heretofore relatively obscure enterprise applications (such as plant floor control and supply chain management) and going mainstream into the consumer space. More and more creative folks are interconnecting everyday products such as household items, mobile devices, appliances and cars, and unleashing new and imaginative scenarios. We are seeing a lot of excitement around applications in home automation, personal fitness, and in-car entertainment and this excitement will bleed into other areas. On the commercial side, m...
Dale Kim is the Director of Industry Solutions at MapR. His background includes a variety of technical and management roles at information technology companies. While his experience includes work with relational databases, much of his career pertains to non-relational data in the areas of search, content management, and NoSQL, and includes senior roles in technical marketing, sales engineering, and support engineering. Dale holds an MBA from Santa Clara University, and a BA in Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley.
Almost everyone sees the potential of Internet of Things but how can businesses truly unlock that potential. The key will be in the ability to discover business insight in the midst of an ocean of Big Data generated from billions of embedded devices via Systems of Discover. Businesses will also need to ensure that they can sustain that insight by leveraging the cloud for global reach, scale and elasticity.
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
"People are a lot more knowledgeable about APIs now. There are two types of people who work with APIs - IT people who want to use APIs for something internal and the product managers who want to do something outside APIs for people to connect to them," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Performance is the intersection of power, agility, control, and choice. If you value performance, and more specifically consistent performance, you need to look beyond simple virtualized compute. Many factors need to be considered to create a truly performant environment. In his General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, discussed how to take advantage of a multitude of compute options and platform features to make cloud the cornerstone of your online presence.
SYS-CON Media announced that Splunk, a provider of the leading software platform for real-time Operational Intelligence, has launched an ad campaign on Big Data Journal. Splunk software and cloud services enable organizations to search, monitor, analyze and visualize machine-generated big data coming from websites, applications, servers, networks, sensors and mobile devices. The ads focus on delivering ROI - how improved uptime delivered $6M in annual ROI, improving customer operations by mining large volumes of unstructured data, and how data tracking delivers uptime when it matters most.
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, discussed how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money!
Cultural, regulatory, environmental, political and economic (CREPE) conditions over the past decade are creating cross-industry solution spaces that require processes and technologies from both the Internet of Things (IoT), and Data Management and Analytics (DMA). These solution spaces are evolving into Sensor Analytics Ecosystems (SAE) that represent significant new opportunities for organizations of all types. Public Utilities throughout the world, providing electricity, natural gas and water, are pursuing SmartGrid initiatives that represent one of the more mature examples of SAE. We have s...
Since 2008 and for the first time in history, more than half of humans live in urban areas, urging cities to become “smart.” Today, cities can leverage the wide availability of smartphones combined with new technologies such as Beacons or NFC to connect their urban furniture and environment to create citizen-first services that improve transportation, way-finding and information delivery. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Laetitia Gazel-Anthoine, CEO of Connecthings, will focus on successful use cases.
DevOps Summit 2015 New York, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete at launch. DevOps may be disruptive, but it is essential.
“With easy-to-use SDKs for Atmel’s platforms, IoT developers can now reap the benefits of realtime communication, and bypass the security pitfalls and configuration complexities that put IoT deployments at risk,” said Todd Greene, founder & CEO of PubNub. PubNub will team with Atmel at CES 2015 to launch full SDK support for Atmel’s MCU, MPU, and Wireless SoC platforms. Atmel developers now have access to PubNub’s secure Publish/Subscribe messaging with guaranteed ¼ second latencies across PubNub’s 14 global points-of-presence. PubNub delivers secure communication through firewalls, proxy ser...
The industrial software market has treated data with the mentality of “collect everything now, worry about how to use it later.” We now find ourselves buried in data, with the pervasive connectivity of the (Industrial) Internet of Things only piling on more numbers. There’s too much data and not enough information. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Bob Gates, Global Marketing Director, GE’s Intelligent Platforms business, to discuss how realizing the power of IoT, software developers are now focused on understanding how industrial data can create intelligence for industrial operations. Imagine ...
The true value of the Internet of Things (IoT) lies not just in the data, but through the services that protect the data, perform the analysis and present findings in a usable way. With many IoT elements rooted in traditional IT components, Big Data and IoT isn’t just a play for enterprise. In fact, the IoT presents SMBs with the prospect of launching entirely new activities and exploring innovative areas. CompTIA research identifies several areas where IoT is expected to have the greatest impact.
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
The Internet of Things promises to transform businesses (and lives), but navigating the business and technical path to success can be difficult to understand. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sean Lorenz, Technical Product Manager for Xively at LogMeIn, demonstrated how to approach creating broadly successful connected customer solutions using real world business transformation studies including New England BioLabs and more.
Connected devices and the Internet of Things are getting significant momentum in 2014. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, examined three key elements that together will drive mass adoption of the IoT before the end of 2015. The first element is the recent advent of robust open source protocols (like AllJoyn and WebRTC) that facilitate M2M communication. The second is broad availability of flexible, cost-effective storage designed to handle the massive surge in back-end data in a world where timely analytics is e...
"There is a natural synchronization between the business models, the IoT is there to support ,” explained Brendan O'Brien, Co-founder and Chief Architect of Aria Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 15th International Cloud Expo®, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The Internet of Things will put IT to its ultimate test by creating infinite new opportunities to digitize products and services, generate and analyze new data to improve customer satisfaction, and discover new ways to gain a competitive advantage across nearly every industry. In order to help corporate business units to capitalize on the rapidly evolving IoT opportunities, IT must stand up to a new set of challenges. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Kaplan, Managing Director of THINKstrategies, will examine why IT must finally fulfill its role in support of its SBUs or face a new round of...