Editor’s note: As the end of the federal fiscal year approaches on Sept. 30, GPN reached out to Chris Wiedemann to learn winning strategies for firms seeking to land federal contracts. Wiedemann is a senior consultant with immixGroup, an Arrow company that helps technology companies do business with the government. Wiedemann focuses on public policy affecting the IT industry, as well as trends in the kind of technology civilian agencies are investing in. Chris Wiedemann’s views follow.

The end of the federal fiscal year always brings its share of turbulence as agencies scramble to make the most out of their “use it or lose it” money, and this year figures to be no different. In fact, given the truncated nature of this year’s omnibus funding bill, the situation on the buy-side has become even more chaotic, as customers try to move through FY17 appropriations and secure FY18 budget requests at the same time. Anyone in industry looking to navigate these waters will need to be strategic and focused in order to ensure the best use of the limited time remaining in the fiscal year.

Perhaps most importantly, this is the time of the year when it becomes crucial to leverage existing customer relationships. Realistically speaking, government customers are going to look to keep their procurements as simple as possible to guarantee that they can move everything through contracts by the end of federal FY2017, Sept. 30. In most cases, simple procurements mean agencies will be working with the tools and vendors they already have. Look to leverage internal sales data and target customers for cross-sell or upsell campaigns, rather than beginning new whitespace activity, especially if you can leverage relationships with program managers or anyone else on the acquisition side.

However, if you do plan on going after new business towards the end of the fiscal year, remember that procurements take time, and plan your contracting strategy accordingly. Government agencies will be feeling the pinch of an approaching fiscal year deadline and they will be looking for contracting methods that can move through the process quickly. In the federal IT world, this means more reliance on GSA schedules and product-specific government-wide acquisition contracts (GWACs). SEWP is an example of these kinds of contracts. SEWP is a GWAC authorized by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and managed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The SEWP acronym was originated in 1993 and referred to "Scientific and Engineering Workstation Procurement."

So contractors and vendors, make sure you have access to the right contract vehicles. These can be either through your own contract management activity or through the channel. You can use these vehicles to maximize exposure to possible year-end deals.

immixGroup helps technology companies do business with the government. Acquired by Arrow Electronics in March 2015, immixGroup is the largest value-added distributor of enterprise software and hardware products for public sector solution providers, systems integrators and U.S. government agencies.

Editor's note: GPN will be spotlighting government buying and selling opportunities as the end of the federal fiscal year approaches. The topic will be discussed in a series of four Use It or Lose It e-newsletters that will be deployed in July and August before the end of the federal fiscal year on Sept 30, 2017.

Please email michael.keating@penton.com if you'd like to submit a commentary on what federal buyers and contractors need to do before the end of the federal fiscal year, the federal marketplace or similar topic. Go here for a sample issue of the free Use It or Lose It e-newsletter.

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