Public CIO Upheaval and New IT Initiatives: Is Sales Ready?

Have you ever: after spending hours doing online research and making dozens of dead-end calls, finally connect with a top information technology decision maker only to find out on a follow-up call that she’s no longer in charge of that department?

Or even worse: find out a sale has stalled because there’s been an organizational change and the head decision maker who was your contact is no longer calling the shots in that department?

Of course, you have, especially if you’re in IT sales.  The aggravation and madness of trying to keep up with organizational changes within agencies is a constant source of frustration for many sales professionals.

Well, get ready because if you’re not prepared it’s only going to get more frustrating:

With the recent House approval of the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA), the shake up of public sector IT decision makers in the major agencies will be nothing short of dizzying, with the potential for insanity to set in!  If you’re not using real-time data to help keep track of these changes so your phone calls and messages are reaching the right decision makers, you and your sales team could end up losing big-time sales….

To be ready and prepared, here’s what you need to know:

Organizational Restructuring Means Contract Opportunities

We recently talked about the movement of one CIO at General Electric and the domino effect it had on the company’s structure and the numerous Triggers it created.  That was with just one company!  And movement like that happens much more frequently than you may realize.  Now imagine the number of Triggers potentially created with the movement of over 250 CIOs within the 23 major agencies… Well, that’s what FITARA is going to do by drastically changing the way most agencies are structured. Not only that, but it’s also changing how federal agencies purchase IT products and services.  The new, and renewed, sales opportunities will be staggering.  Which is why those leveraging our Government and Higher Education Dataset will be ready and prepared to capitalize on those Triggers…

So what specific changes are being made that will affect public sector IT purchasing decisions?

Public CIOs Get Real Authority With Real Budgets

Currently, there’s an average of over 10 CIOs within the 23 major agencies.  FITARA eliminates all but one CIO per agency, appointing one CIO with true authority who reports directly to the Director of the office.  This Act also makes the CIO position at major agencies a Presidentially appointed position and gives her effective budget authority over IT programs.

With this new structure comes new leadership, and where there is new leadership, there will be new sales opportunities. Public CIOs will now have a voice in the budgetary process and can act with authority on previously stalled purchases or initiate new IT purchasing strategies altogether.  And if you’re using an IT Organization chart with up-to-date emails and direct contact phone numbers, then you’ll be in significantly better position than other IT vendors to connect with those major IT decision makers.

FITARA Opens the Floodgates: Public Sector IT Initiatives

IT initiatives will be in abundance as FITARA paves the way for widespread change. The government currently spends over $80 billion on IT annually with over 10% of that spending lost on outdated and obsolete IT systems. FITARA will help public sector CIOs move away from those old outdated systems and encourage them to transition to newer cloud platforms. To encourage them, the Act establishes cloud service Working Capital Funds for the agencies that want to move away from the outdated legacy systems.  Which means CIOs will have the funds, and the ability to use them, to usher in new public sector IT programs and services.

FITARA also centers on acquisition and codifies the IT potential for proprietary, open source, and mixed source software technologies. Part of this IT program management process is the creation of the Federal Infrastructure and Common Application Collaboration Center (Collaboration Center) for the acquisition of IT infrastructure and business applications.  In addition, the Act mandates the creation of jobs, which will attract non-Government employees to the Federal Infrastructure, the Collaboration Center, and the Assisted Acquisition Centers of Excellence (AACE), which provides acquisition expertise for agencies.  This means even more sales opportunities will be created as a result of the additional jobs created by FITARA.

Imagine the IT Opportunities: Get Your Sales Team Ready Now

Carolyn Hollowell, Senior Director of Marketing at DiscoverOrg, recently talked about how purchasing and staff augmentation decisions made by executives which occur within an executive’s first few weeks on the job (71% of decision makers make 3+ initiatives within their first three months!):

“In the last five weeks, the following things have happened…Immediately following my hire, we purchased Basecamp, a web-based project management and collaboration tool; we signed an agreement with Marketo; we are hiring a PR Firm; contracted with a video production company, and finally hired a new employee. In five weeks our entire marketing department has undergone significant growth and transition, creating many sales opportunities.“ 

DiscoverOrg’s marketing budget pales in comparison to even the smallest government agency.  And as mentioned, the changes in leadership at DiscoverOrg lead to additional sales opportunities.  So imagine the exponential sales opportunities that will exist with the organizational changes at these bigger governmental agencies!

As you can see, the organizational changes that FITARA will inevitably create will lead to an abundance of sales opportunities.  And with all those changes you can either drive yourself crazy trying to keep up with them or you can be prepared to take full advantage of the Triggers they’re sure to create.  With Organizational upheaval on the horizon and the significantly bigger role public CIOs will have in budgetary decision-making, the value of our Datasets and the up-to-date Organization charts they include, can’t be overstated.

Be ready – be prepared:  Don’t let your competition act on government-related triggering events before you!

Henry has over 11 years of experience managing the sales and marketing activities of fast growing Information Technology ..read more