Monthly Archives: April 2019


Federal agencies may allocate only 21% of their FY’20 IT budgets to IT modernization, according to a recent forecast from Bloomberg Government.  That’s down slightly from this year’s 23% and, while not a significant decrease, comes at a time when most believed that modernization spending would accelerate.  The total dollar drop would be about $1 billion, down to $14.5 billion.  Modernizing IT systems has been both an administration and CIO community priority.  GSA manages a small, revolving IT modernization fund to spark innovative solutions.  Considerable ink has been dedicated to modernization efforts.  Yet, as the tension over whether and how to update agency telecommunications solutions shows, there can be significant internal obstacles to truly modernizing.  In telecomm this has manifested itself in the form of agency concerns about workload, functionality, and cost.   Several agencies want nothing more than to “lift and shift” their existing telecomm infrastructure because that seems to be the easiest thing to do.   The downturn in overall modernization spending may be a result of the same line of thinking.  If so, industry has considerable work to do to show that new systems are not only safe, but easy to deliver and full of new, easier to use features that customers may not know exist.  It is apparently not enough that they are light years ahead in terms of security.  If a new solution is perceived as difficult to buy, install, and manage the customer may just keep their Model T solution.  It may be time to adapt marketing and sales messages accordingly


Many contractors know about the Federal Awardee Performance & Integrity Information System (FAPIIS).  It’s the official government web-site that is supposed to list information on a contractor’s failure to comply with a wide-range of rules and regulations – and not just those related to their contract performance.  FAPIIS, though, relies on contracting officers to populate the system, a group of people not known for being underworked.  In addition, FAPIIS information is segmented by DUNS number, so information on a company with multiple numbers can be tough to find.  The Project on Government Oversight (POGO), however, has its own contractor web-site that is a “must read” for every company.  The “Federal Contractor Misconduct Database” ( is an easily searchable site that contains information on both a company’s contract and non-contract related legal issues. The Nader-esque POGO bills itself as, “a nonpartisan independent watchdog”, but has consistently taken anti-business positions throughout its existence.   Information Allen Federal found includes cost data improprieties, time card issues, and overbilling problems, but also workplace discrimination and commercial industry legal events.  At least one company has records going back about 20 years.  Contractors should definitely be aware of what the POGO website says about their company, but can also use it as a tool to search on competitors.  It’s not clear whether or how much government contracting officer’s use this website, but it’s better to be aware of what it says so you can get out in front of any questions your company may be asked. 


You’ve prepped for today’s important customer meeting.  You know the topic, their needs, and how you can help.  Suddenly, sitting across the table from your customer, they throw you a curve ball.  “We’ve decided to move in a different direction,” they say.  You start to stew inside and wonder (to yourself) “why couldn’t you have just told me that in an e-mail and saved us all time?”  In addition, the person that you thought was going to be in the meeting may now be, “down the hall” and you’re actually meeting with people you may not know as well.  It’s always good to have a Plan B, or even a Plan C, when meeting with a federal customer.Not only should you be prepared to talk about the stated purpose of the meeting, you should also be ready to discuss related needs, and to have that discussion at a level appropriate to the people in the actual meeting.  Prepared contractors can actually come away with action items for new prospective business.  As recently as this week, one company with which we work was able to turn what could have been a ten minute “thanks for coming by” discussion into an hour-long meeting that ended with three solid follow-up action items.  The customer was impressed and no one’s time ended up being wasted.  Federal customers most certainly approach business from a different perspective from contractors.  Make sure you’re prepared for more than what just meets the eye


An annual training day on gift giving and ethics is most definitely a best practice for government contractors.  Although training may not prevent all mistakes, it is a sign that your company takes compliance issues seriously so, if something bad does happen, the consequences may not be as severe.  Ethics training doesn’t have to be like going to the dentist and enduring pain.  Allen Federal provides ethics and gift giving training that is humorous, interactive, and on-point.  You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, but you will also learn.  We can tailor training to your team on this and other matters.  Contact us today to find out what we can do for you at  


Whether or not contractors realize it, we’re already into the third quarter of the federal fiscal year.  Here are three things your company should be working on now as we build toward the all-important Q4. 1. Fill That PipelineYour tracking radar should be full of hits by now, whether they’re potential projects, industry days, RFI’s, or even real solicitations.  This is the time of year to cast your development net wide and begin vetting the projects you have the best chance at winning.  Winnowing down the list can come later, but for now, you want a full pipeline of potential work. 2. Meetings With PurposeIntroductory “meet and greets” should primarily be behind you now.  While some feds may still be able to sit down and hear about your firm for the first time, it won’t be very long before they have to spend all of their time on actual business.  Your meetings with prospective customers should be about specific solutions to specific problems.  Ideally, they should be tied to opportunities you’re tracking as well (see above).  Always know what you want out of any meeting before you go, but also make sure you’re prepared to listen.  3.  Ramp Up Your Marketing:Many companies wait until the end of the year to market.  That’s a tough time to get your message heard – and will only likely have a tactical impact. The best marketing campaigns are strategic.  They tell your message, but also establish thought leadership, market presence and trust. These are key factors that can help you get that critical meeting or improve a vital relationship.  Get your campaign ready now so you can launch it May or June.   Essentially, your company should be building a solid foundation now so that you’re ready to roll when business really heats up.  Take these steps and you’ll definitely be prepared.