Tech-Connect lessons learned
As a follow-up to our post from last week, we noted some interesting anecdotes that were overheard at our Tech-Connect event about the challenges of bringing innovative commercial technologies to Federal government customers.
For technology companies looking to penetrate the Federal marketplace, and in particular the Intelligence Community, we think there are four key focus areas:
- Be top-of-mind – there is a rising flood of new ideas and technologies that address the mission-critical needs of the Intelligence Community. In some cases, there are more than a dozen companies that address the same needs in as many different ways. We find that companies often underestimate the business development effort and resources required to truly penetrate a very demanding and evolving customer.
- Be flexible – getting to the customer is critical and should be the priority, irrespective of the path. You must find or build an internal customer advocate, but that is only part of the answer. You also have to be in a position to know the contract vehicles that are available to the end-customer and have relationships with the prime contractors that hold these vehicles. While we see a continued evolution to a more COTS-style acquisition environment (or at least a customer preference for this ability), the evolution of the government acquisition infrastructure still has a long way to go.
- Be knowledgeable about the mission – the ability to effectively characterize the role of your technology within the context of the mission will undoubtedly reduce the barriers to entry. Every senior decision-maker we have heard speak has a consistent theme of “advancing the mission.” Whether it is infrastructure, security or widgets, technologies that provide the end-user the ability to more effectively respond, adapt and deliver are consistently finding advocates and funding.
- Be patient – if your technology really works, you will be found.