Editorial: Focusing on results

Small and midsize businesses are essential to the IT industry, often driving innovation.

We cannot overstate the importance of small and midsize businesses to the government information technology community. They are important to the economy overall, and they are essential to the IT industry.

Such businesses have driven IT innovation. They have changed the way we conduct our daily business. Many of the companies that are household names today started out in a garage somewhere in Silicon Valley or on other tech-fertile grounds. Take, for example, Apple Computer, Google and Amazon.com. Those companies changed the way everyone works and lives and had a major influence on the IT industry.

In the government world, the importance of small and midsize businesses has been a major subject of debate. In recent years, officials have taken important steps to open the federal market to those businesses.

One of the most innovative changes has occurred through the CIA’s In-Q-Tel, a venture capital company. In-Q-Tel funds technologies in their early stages with the expectation of creating products that the CIA can buy. In-Q-Tel has worked so well that it has become a model for other agencies to bring smaller companies into the government market.

Specific contracts also make the government market more accessible to small and midsize businesses.

We have praised the Bush administration’s American Competitiveness Initiative, which seeks to double funding for basic research in the physical sciences, make the research and development tax credit permanent, and ensure that students have needed math and science skills. The initiative fosters small business and creates new legions of entrepreneurs.

Many of the big government integrators have done a good job of giving small businesses a foothold on larger government contracts. The Navy Marine Corps Intranet contract, for example, provides incentives if EDS does a certain percentage of the work using small and midsize businesses.

New leaders have taken the small-business issue as a primary concern. Lurita Doan, administrator of the General Services Administration and a former small-business owner, appears focused on the plight of small firms.

And yet, overall, there still seems to be a disconnect between the government IT market and those businesses. To a large extent, the government cannot report how much contract work goes to such businesses because of ongoing issues with the contract database that is supposed to track those awards.

Small- and midsize-business owners have many complaints. We have heard too many stories from those who waited for months to be paid after completing requested work. That is inexcusable under any circumstances, and for small businesses, which often don’t have generous cash reserves, it can be devastating.

And then there is the procurement system. Yes, the government has streamlined the process in the past decade, but it remains far more complex than in the private sector. Much of that complexity is necessary. But as pressure increases to roll back reforms instituted in the late 1990s, the government should consider the effect that greater regulation will have on small businesses: It will drive them away.

Without small and midsize businesses, the government would lose a critical source of innovation, which often comes from those businesses, particularly in the IT world. Agencies depend on those innovations to overcome ever-changing technology challenges.

This issue is complex and does not have a simple solution. Small and midsize businesses need to be competitive, and they should be competitive because of the innovations they offer, not because of a set-aside.

— Christopher J. Dorobek,
cdorobek@fcw.com

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.