Many commercial businesses who enter the federal space as a service integrator lack the breadth of institutional knowledge about federal agencies to effectively work around the unique IT environments and strict regulations. Blueprint understands.
Everyone has worked with partners that talk a big game about a capability or service but struggle when it comes time to apply that service to the projects you’re bidding on.
Maybe the project wasn’t as relevant as they thought, or they didn’t have the resources for the capture and bid and proposal cycles. Whatever the reason, when working in the federal space, it doesn’t take much to lose a contract. Service integrators need to work with subcontractors who stay in their lane and are experts at what they do, so they can meet deadlines and fulfill government contracts.
At Blueprint Technologies, we specialize in architecting and implementing modern data estates, increasing the value of data with analytics, data science and AI/ML. We won’t be your partner of choice for hardware or long-term sustainment contracts, and that’s ok!
The federal government works with thousands of service integrators every year to make and supply goods and services. But as technology advances and solutions and products require more niche specialties, the right service integrators, or contractors and subcontractors as they’re called, are necessary to help reduce the time required to develop these products and services, decrease overall costs and, most importantly, improve the chance that their efforts are successfully rolled out.
A federal agency working on a specific problem hires a prime contractor who knows all about that specific industry or line of business. Maybe it’s building airplanes or managing supply chains for the Department of Defense, whatever the objective, those contractors don’t have to be jacks of all trades. That’s where subcontractors come in. Subcontractors are companies with niche specialties that help solve immediate pain points for the prime contractor and in turn the federal agency.
Contracting in the federal space does not mirror the commercial space. While the services needed are similar to those in the commercial space, most of the work being done is unique. Prime contractors need to understand these unique requirements, but more importantly, they need to work with subcontractors who have deeper experience in the space.
Federal agencies have unique missions, which can require a city’s worth of people and equipment to be mobilized with next to no notice. They also have unique IT environments that house and secure critical data that the agencies can’t get rid of because of strict regulations. Many commercial partners lack the breadth of institutional knowledge to effectively work in these conditions, which is further complicated by the limited selection of commercial products that are certified for use in federal environments. The federal procurement process is also unique, and not built on the standard relationship-building common in the commercial space. There are Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) to create an even playing field and the proposal acquisition cycle for RFI and RFP response is much longer.
Having long been plagued by interminable timelines and slow progress toward actionable results, the federal government is now being pushed to modernize – especially its IT systems. The Government Accountability Office reported in 2019 that operations and maintenance spending accounted for roughly 80% of the $90 billion federal IT budget. As they age, legacy systems become more costly to maintain, more exposed to cybersecurity risks, and less effective in meeting their intended purpose.
There is more short-term risk involved in creating a new product or modernizing a legacy system than there is in sustaining that system. But in that risk lies opportunity. The federal space is primed for modernization, driven by the crucial need to be at the forefront of technology. To realize that opportunity, though, service integrators with the skills to help them do so efficiently are needed.
With a typical project requiring several multiyear contracts to see results from a new effort, the federal government needs contractors at all levels that are responsive, aggressive and have the technical knowledge to successfully implement the project, while allowing the solution to scale, grow and adjust as condition change.
Responsive: Prime contractors need a partner who can quickly and efficiently help with RFIs, RFPs and customer engagements. Understanding that each opportunity is different and requires its own shaping, technical solutions and engagement strategy is key. Blueprint begins an engagement by developing an understanding of the organization’s challenges before diving into the development of a technical solution. Blueprint has people on staff who not only understand the space but whose sole focus it is to integrate and enable those client partnerships, improving the relationship with the federal agency. A lot of technology contractors plan to ride out a long federal contract, but Blueprint’s culture is focused on innovation and preparation – one where we plan for a future in which we will no longer have to be there as support – working ourselves out of a job.
Aggressive: Blueprint takes an aggressive approach to ensuring immediate ROI. Rapid prototyping, the process of spending just 2 to 3 months to build a solution that provides real results with real data, is something that agencies like the Department of Defense aren’t accustomed to. Our approach, honed and fine-tuned with the help of our customers, ensures that either value is seen, or the project is halted. Smartly using resources by avoiding strategic missteps is incredibly valuable to any organization but especially to those in the federal space. We help make sure the chosen path is the right one.
Technical knowledge: The government seeks out companies like Blueprint to design and implement the data systems that can accomplish the goals of today, but perhaps more critically, the unforeseen goals of tomorrow. That built-in uncertainty means that partners are needed that have a record of demonstrated success. Blueprint has worked with a wide variety of customers across numerous industries, giving us a broad understanding of the technical solutions that exist and a depth of experience that allows us to identify which solutions are most valuable in any given situation.
Let’s have a conversation about what contracts you’re going after and how Blueprint can bring the technical and data expertise you need to ensure you land them.