Combined Intel Strategy Pushes Contractors to Adapt
While still a contractor and budgetary darling, the Intelligence Community (“IC”) is not completely immune to sequestration. Similar to agencies across the Government, the IC has worked to identify ways to provide mission critical services at lower cost. In particular, the IC has not shied away from instituting major changes in the way in which it conducts business and utilizes government contractors. As an example, the IC will no longer procure common IT services individually—such as cloud computing, network services, and app stores—but rather pool their resources and share systems.
As part of its new IT strategy known as the Intelligence Community Information Technology Enterprise (“ICITE”), Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, is working with industry to break old habits. The IC will no longer try to estimate the amount of annual services / license requirements, as this can result in underused or occasionally limited supply during surges in demand or data storage needs. Instead, the IC is looking to buy IT software and hardware as a metered service, similar to civilian counterparts. Agencies would then only have to pay for the services they actually use.
The new strategy also defines additional services under ICITE and their designated providers:
- Desktop services – NGA and DIA
- Cloud services – CIA and NSA
- Transport services – NRO (will afford the infrastructure for data to travel across the network)
- Applications mall – NSA (will provide a central repository of apps that can be reused within the IC)
As the new IC IT strategy demonstrates, government contractors that want to remain competitive need to be comfortable operating in fundamentally different ways, and be willing to operate outside of legacy government practices. Though many businesses have thrived under a business model that requires agencies to purchase software licenses for each user, contractors may want to consider changing their business model to serve the IC as an enterprise, and offer services and hardware as many commercial parties already do. Success may soon come in the form of adaptability to this new paradigm, hopefully driving efficiency and lowering costs along the way.
Source: Federal Times