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How federal law enforcement buys IT

May. 22, 2014 - 04:10PM   |  
By JENNIFER SAKOLE   |   Comments
Jennifer Sakole is the principal analyst for Federal Information Solutions at Deltek. Her experience spans 20 years in the federal market in various roles including proposal writer, pricing analyst, marketing manager and account manager. She has been with INPUT and Deltek for over a decade.
Jennifer Sakole is the principal analyst for Federal Information Solutions at Deltek. Her experience spans 20 years in the federal market in various roles including proposal writer, pricing analyst, marketing manager and account manager. She has been with INPUT and Deltek for over a decade. (File)

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I recently participated in the AFCEA Law Enforcement IT Day held in Bethesda, Maryland, as a panel member speaking during the small business luncheon.

As part of my presentation, I shared information about IT spending trends at three federal law enforcement-related agencies -- the departments of Homeland Security, Justice and State -- stressing the importance of agency-specific IDIQs, GWACs, and Schedule 70 in the departments’ IT procurement portfolios.

How much do these departments actually spend? DHS is the top spender of the three, with $3.6 billion spent on IT in FY 2013. This resulted in the department being essentially tied with Health and Human Services as the fifth highest-spending IT department behind the Army, Navy, Air Force and DoD.

DOJ’s $1.4 billion and State’s $1.3 billion reported IT spending results in the departments ranking at twelfth and thirteenth for the fiscal year. Together, the three agencies accounted for nine percent of the $66.2 billion of reported IT spending in FY 2013.

In previous posts, I’ve referenced the specifics pertaining to overall decline in federal IT spending we’ve seen since FY 2010. IT spending by law enforcement agencies followed this same trend, with DHS and DOJ reporting declines in FY 2013 at -6 percent and -7 percent respectively, while State’s IT spending declined by 1.5 percent.

During my presentation, I explained the increased importance of task order-based contracts in federal business development, citing the eight-percent compound annual growth rate in spending through task order-based vehicles from fiscal 2009 through 2012.

While the CAGR is slightly less for IT spending through task order vehicles – five percent for the same time period – the important things to note are that 1) usage has increased and 2) 39 percent of all IT spending in FY 2013 was done through vehicles.

For the law enforcement IT departments, the use of vehicles for IT purchases is higher than the 39 percent we saw for the federal government as a whole in FY 2013: 75 percent of DHS, 45 percent of DOJ, and 52 percent of State IT spending was done through vehicles.

Knowing the departments’ buying preference is part of the foundation of a company’s business development strategy, but the next question is typically, “Which specific vehicles does the department use for IT?”

As you can see from the chart at left, each department employs a unique mix of agency-specific IDIQ, GWAC and Schedule 70 contracts for IT purchases. Using this information, you can determine how best to approach the departments when proposing your IT solution.

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