While tech procurements have been on the rise over the past several years, COVID most definitely fueled the flame. According to data from an analysis by Jeff Cook, managing director at Shea & Co., third-quarter 2021 tech deals hit nearly $2.2 billion. With much of that activity from strategic acquisitions. Government Technology, January/February 2022
The new year will likely see both large and smaller acquisitions continue with all being potentially significant. Cook expects, “the acquirers who’ve been active will continue to be active.” (ibid)
Apart from acquisitions, other factors have also fueled the growth. Although there is an abundance of bureaucracy in the government, the government is a stable source of sales and returns. While other areas of the economy may slow, the Government, both local and federal, will continue to operate. This coupled with the need to constantly update their tech requirements make the government a top contender for igniting tech growth. (ibid)
Another factor is the move toward cloud computing and software as a service. Google Announced in November of 2021, the launch of a cloud-based “sandbox” named RAD Lab. It is an instrument public agencies might use to test and develop their specific tools. As an added perk, Google provides support in a secure environment. (ibid)
Surveys of both cities and counties by The Center for Digital Government’s, in 2021, show greater movement to the cloud. Approximately one-third of cities report that about 30 percent of their systems and applications reside in the cloud. County migration is about 26 percent. Therefore, while movement is toward the cloud, there is an opportunity there that has yet to be tapped. (ibid)
Google is not the only game in town. Amazon is looking to take a piece of this market, as well. This shows how big tech is looking to add to their revenue from the gov tech space. (ibid)
According to Stewart Lynn, a partner at Serent Capital who leads gov tech practice, “many private-sector folks are finding new roles within government and have understood that the current systems in place are very antiquated and in need of an upgrade. As citizens have become more active online, you’re seeing governments being responsive to their citizens’ needs. Citizens today want the ability to go online and buy their permits, process their payments, understand what’s going with budget spending. And governments are responding to that demand by investing in digital solutions.” (ibid)
As with all new growth, comes a few hurdles and grey areas. According to Rita Reynolds, chief information officer for the National Association of Counties, “government technology vendors must be willing to update their terms of service and contracts to accept their responsibility and ensure that baseline essential security practices are in place to secure what they are hosting and providing to counties.” (ibid)
For counties, states, and the federal government, there’s a need for some flexibility within the procurement arena. An updated acquisition process and partnering with the private sector will go a long way to make this a win-win for both the government and vendors.
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