As the end of the 2013 federal fiscal year approaches on Sept. 30, government market consultants such as Jennifer Schaus of Jennifer Schaus & Associates say that federal agencies are entering the busy federal buying season.

Here is another installment in GPN’s series on strategies for businesses that wish to sell more goods and services to federal agencies at the end of FY 2013. GPN caught up with government marketing expert Tim Larkins of McLean, Va.–based  immixGroup, Inc. to find out about end of federal fiscal year strategies.

Larkins is consultant-market intelligence at the immixGroup. The company helps technology companies do business with the government. Its public sector aggregation programs give software and hardware manufacturers the resources and expertise they need to grow their government business. Here are Tim Larkins’ views.

GPN: What message should government contractors and vendors deliver to federal agencies if they want to land more federal business?

Tim Larkins: The messaging that tends to resonate with most of our customers is around anything that is going to improve their efficiency efforts. So for the last several years, specifically within the Department of Defense, we’ve really seen a focus on consolidation, on interoperability  and on improving  communication. So I think continuing to push that agenda of supporting application rationalization, data center consolidation and collapsing networks is definitely going to help manufacturers and other contractors to close out deals towards the end of the federal fiscal year.

GPN: Are you seeing any IT acquisition trends at federal civilian agencies as FY 2013 draws to a close?

TL: I think that civilian agencies are really focused on leveraging strategic sourcing for IT commodities, and at the end of the fiscal year, strengthen their cybersecurity efforts, and really just improve the acquisition process and improve enterprise architecture effectiveness.

GPN: Are federal IT budgets safe from sequestration budget cuts?

TL: Based on our extensive primary and secondary research, we have concluded that federal programs that support the reduction of redundancy are going to be relatively safe. Likewise, programs that have been over budget or that have not met their scheduled timelines, are definitely going to be under scrutiny.

GPN: What can you say about IT buying trends at the end of the federal fiscal year?

TL: In the months of August and September, the federal government actually spends 35 percent of its IT budget in those 2 months. So, even under the absolute worst-case scenarios, if sequestration were to impact IT spend, about $25 billion is going to be spent on just IT alone, by federal agencies, as the federal fiscal year winds down. And I find that to be an intriguing statistic. 

GPN: For federal government IT vendors, what technologies offer enhanced or increased opportunities for vendors as the federal fiscal year-end approaches?

TL: Vendors should continue to offer cybersecurity solutions to federal agencies. I think that the majority of agencies, when they find out that they have some dollars left over at the end of the fiscal year, will really want to shore up their cybersecurity investments, focusing on infrastructure. Other areas of investment include consolidation of networks, applications and data centers. Related to those areas would be investments in cloud-related technologies.

Both military and civilian agencies are going to be investing heavily over the next several months in big data analytics. Agencies recognize that they have massive amounts of data that they have to collect, tag, store and figure out how to access later on.  

GPN: Thank you, Tim Larkins.

For vendors who want more info on getting started in federal sales, here is another resource. Steve Charles, co-founder and executive vice president of immixGroup, has written a book that covers the Washington IT marketplace. The book is “The Inside Guide to the Federal IT Market.” Management Concepts Press published the volume. For more information, visit here.

In this video, the immixGroup market intelligence team discuss the FY14 cybersecurity landscape and opportunities for IT companies.