Welcome!

AJAX & REA Authors: Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, ChandraShekar Dattatreya, David H Deans, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: GovIT, SOA & WOA, Virtualization, Web 2.0, Cloud Expo, Security

GovIT: Blog Feed Post

Selling to Government (Especially DoD) – It’s Not All About YOU!

My job is all about finding commercial solutions that will solve government problems

By

My job is all about finding commercial solutions that will solve government problems. Some of my favorite work experiences have been when I can connect a new technology to an existing government problem! Talk about satisfying! Although every company is unique in what it offers, the process is often similar. First, I strive to understand what the company can do. Then, I translate that ability into something that is applicable to DoD. And finally, I look for the place within DoD where that solution is needed. That may sound obvious, but from the perspective of DoD, it’s 100% backwards. And that difference in perspective can often derail the process. So bear with me while I explain.

sellingDuring my years on Active Duty, I concentrated on requirements and capabilities. I knew that defining my requirements was the first essential step that would lead to my success as a war fighter. It was often tempting to jump ahead on the process and start listing the solutions I needed. But I knew that I would never get far that way.

First, I knew that I was usually several generations behind on what the “art of the possible” was. As much as the movies like to show DoD with up to date capabilities, what we actually had in the field was way behind. Given that DoD spends a fraction of what Industry spends on R&D, that makes sense. Keeping my requirements clear and factual ensured that I didn’t self-select a lower-grade solution.

Secondly, the acquisition folks would never let me get away with writing specifications based on anything but my basic, actual requirements. There are plenty of examples where military “requirements” went uncontested and after the acquisition process completed, the final purchase was for something MUCH more expensive than it needed to be. That’s a big NO-NO in DoD and there is lots of oversight to prevent that from happening. Now more than ever!

Linking these requirements to the resulting war fighting capability is the piece of the process that is most important when trying to get funding. As a C5ISR expert, I had to learn how to make my seemingly endless list of requirements make sense to the folks that had decision-making power over the funding. These folks are mostly interested in what these requirements bring to the fight: the capabilities that will be achieved. Getting my message across depended on linking my requirements to the capabilities that would enable success in a military mission.

Now, overlay on the above Company X, who is really good at making Widget Y. Widget Y does something really cool, and Company X wants to sell Widget Y to DoD. I learn about Company X and how to use Widget Y, and I find a place in DoD where they might need that capability. A meeting is set up, and Company X visits the warfighter and gets their chance to showcase Widget Y. But Company X can’t get the message across! Because Company X is so in love with Widget Y they can’t stop and look at the requirement objectively and offer their educated inputs on how to satisfy that requirement to achieve the capability that is needed.

Every parent that drops off their 5 year old on the first day of kindergarten truly believes that they have just done something really wonderful for that school. It’s not until the first parent-teacher conference that it even occurs to them that their child might not be a perfect, 100% value-added addition to the class! So it is for Company X. But unlike the parent, Company X is not guaranteed a seat in the class!

DoD really and truly wants to hear from Company X, because they know that Company X is smarter than they are about their particular type of technology. But DoD only wants to hear how that technology can apply to fulfilling their previously identified and prioritized existing requirements. DoD is NOT interested in helping Company X figure out where to stuff their solutions.

To make this type of interaction between DoD and Industry successful, the company needs to be prepared to do some homework BEFORE they go in. They need to understand, as much as they can, what DoD needs. They need to be prepared to really listen when DoD talks. And then they need to be ready to interact with DoD to brainstorm ideas and offer expert advice. Obviously, the desired outcome is that Widget Y might be a solution that can help. But that’s something that can only be determined by clearly addressing the requirements first!

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Bob Gourley

Bob Gourley, former CTO of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), is Founder and CTO of Crucial Point LLC, a technology research and advisory firm providing fact based technology reviews in support of venture capital, private equity and emerging technology firms. He has extensive industry experience in intelligence and security and was awarded an intelligence community meritorious achievement award by AFCEA in 2008, and has also been recognized as an Infoworld Top 25 CTO and as one of the most fascinating communicators in Government IT by GovFresh.

@CloudExpo Stories
15th Cloud Expo, which took place Nov. 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, expanded the conference content of @ThingsExpo, Big Data Expo, and DevOps Summit to include two developer events. IBM held a Bluemix Developer Playground on November 5 and ElasticBox held a Hackathon on November 6. Both events took place on the expo floor. The Bluemix Developer Playground, for developers of all levels, highlighted the ease of use of Bluemix, its services and functionalit...
Some developers believe that monitoring is a function of the operations team. Some operations teams firmly believe that monitoring the systems they maintain is sufficient to run the business successfully. Most of them are wrong. The complexity of today's applications have gone far and beyond the capabilities of "traditional" system-level monitoring tools and approaches and requires much broader knowledge of business and applications as a whole. The goal of DevOps is to connect all aspects of app...
The 4th International DevOps Summit, co-located with16th International Cloud Expo – being held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY – announces that its Call for Papers is now open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's large...
SAP is delivering break-through innovation combined with fantastic user experience powered by the market-leading in-memory technology, SAP HANA. In his General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Thorsten Leiduck, VP ISVs & Digital Commerce, SAP, discussed how SAP and partners provide cloud and hybrid cloud solutions as well as real-time Big Data offerings that help companies of all sizes and industries run better. SAP launched an application challenge to award the most innovative SAP HANA and SAP HANA...
Want to enable self-service provisioning of application environments in minutes that mirror production? Can you automatically provide rich data with code-level detail back to the developers when issues occur in production? In his session at DevOps Summit, David Tesar, Microsoft Technical Evangelist on Microsoft Azure and DevOps, will discuss how to accomplish this and more utilizing technologies such as Microsoft Azure, Visual Studio online, and Application Insights in this demo-heavy session.
When an enterprise builds a hybrid IaaS cloud connecting its data center to one or more public clouds, security is often a major topic along with the other challenges involved. Security is closely intertwined with the networking choices made for the hybrid cloud. Traditional networking approaches for building a hybrid cloud try to kludge together the enterprise infrastructure with the public cloud. Consequently this approach requires risky, deep "surgery" including changes to firewalls, subnets...
DevOps is all about agility. However, you don't want to be on a high-speed bus to nowhere. The right DevOps approach controls velocity with a tight feedback loop that not only consists of operational data but also incorporates business context. With a business context in the decision making, the right business priorities are incorporated, which results in a higher value creation. In his session at DevOps Summit, Todd Rader, Solutions Architect at AppDynamics, discussed key monitoring techniques...
Cultural, regulatory, environmental, political and economic (CREPE) conditions over the past decade are creating cross-industry solution spaces that require processes and technologies from both the Internet of Things (IoT), and Data Management and Analytics (DMA). These solution spaces are evolving into Sensor Analytics Ecosystems (SAE) that represent significant new opportunities for organizations of all types. Public Utilities throughout the world, providing electricity, natural gas and water,...
The security devil is always in the details of the attack: the ones you've endured, the ones you prepare yourself to fend off, and the ones that, you fear, will catch you completely unaware and defenseless. The Internet of Things (IoT) is nothing if not an endless proliferation of details. It's the vision of a world in which continuous Internet connectivity and addressability is embedded into a growing range of human artifacts, into the natural world, and even into our smartphones, appliances, a...
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
The Internet of Things is tied together with a thin strand that is known as time. Coincidentally, at the core of nearly all data analytics is a timestamp. When working with time series data there are a few core principles that everyone should consider, especially across datasets where time is the common boundary. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Scott, Director of Enterprise Strategy & Architecture at MapR Technologies, discussed single-value, geo-spatial, and log time series dat...
How do APIs and IoT relate? The answer is not as simple as merely adding an API on top of a dumb device, but rather about understanding the architectural patterns for implementing an IoT fabric. There are typically two or three trends: Exposing the device to a management framework Exposing that management framework to a business centric logic Exposing that business layer and data to end users. This last trend is the IoT stack, which involves a new shift in the separation of what stuff happe...
An entirely new security model is needed for the Internet of Things, or is it? Can we save some old and tested controls for this new and different environment? In his session at @ThingsExpo, New York's at the Javits Center, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, reviewed hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal a new risk balance you might not expect. Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, has more than nineteen years' experience managing global security operations and asse...
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, discussed how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money!
SYS-CON Media announced that Centrify, a provider of unified identity management across cloud, mobile and data center environments that delivers single sign-on (SSO) for users and a simplified identity infrastructure for IT, has launched an ad campaign on Cloud Computing Journal. The ads focus on security: how an organization can successfully control privilege for all of the organization’s identities to mitigate identity-related risk without slowing down the business, and how Centrify provides ...
The Internet of Things will put IT to its ultimate test by creating infinite new opportunities to digitize products and services, generate and analyze new data to improve customer satisfaction, and discover new ways to gain a competitive advantage across nearly every industry. In order to help corporate business units to capitalize on the rapidly evolving IoT opportunities, IT must stand up to a new set of challenges. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Kaplan, Managing Director of THINKstrateg...
"We help companies that are using a lot of Software as a Service. We help companies manage and gain visibility into what people are using inside the company and decide to secure them or use standards to lock down or to embrace the adoption of SaaS inside the company," explained Scott Kriz, Co-founder and CEO of Bitium, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"SAP had made a big transition into the cloud as we believe it has significant value for our customers, drives innovation and is easy to consume. When you look at the SAP portfolio, SAP HANA is the underlying platform and it powers all of our platforms and all of our analytics," explained Thorsten Leiduck, VP ISVs & Digital Commerce at SAP, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
One of the biggest challenges when developing connected devices is identifying user value and delivering it through successful user experiences. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mike Kuniavsky, Principal Scientist, Innovation Services at PARC, described an IoT-specific approach to user experience design that combines approaches from interaction design, industrial design and service design to create experiences that go beyond simple connected gadgets to create lasting, multi-device exp...
Enthusiasm for the Internet of Things has reached an all-time high. In 2013 alone, venture capitalists spent more than $1 billion dollars investing in the IoT space. With "smart" appliances and devices, IoT covers wearable smart devices, cloud services to hardware companies. Nest, a Google company, detects temperatures inside homes and automatically adjusts it by tracking its user's habit. These technologies are quickly developing and with it come challenges such as bridging infrastructure gaps,...