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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...

About 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.

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Cloud Expo - Cloud Looms Large on SYS-CON.TV


Cloud Expo 2013 East Opening Keynote by IBM
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There will be 50 billion Internet connected devices by 2020. Today, every manufacturer has a propriety protocol and an app. How do we securely integrate these "things" into our lives and businesses in a way that we can easily control and manage? Even better, how do we integrate these "things" so that they control and manage each other so our lives become more convenient or our businesses become more profitable and/or safe? We have heard that the best interface is no interface. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Co-Founder & CTO at Octoblu, Inc., will discuss how these devices generate enough data to learn our behaviors and simplify/improve our lives. What if we could connect everything to everything? I'm not only talking about connecting things to things but also systems, cloud services, and people. Add in a little machine learning and artificial intelligence and now we have something interesting...
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SYS-CON Events announced today that DevOps.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's “DevOps Summit at Cloud Expo,” which will take place on June 10–12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. DevOps.com is where the world meets DevOps. It is the largest collection of original content relating to DevOps on the web today Featuring up-to-the-minute news, feature stories, blogs, bylined articles and more, DevOps.com is where the thought leaders of the DevOps movement make their ideas known.
There are 182 billion emails sent every day, generating a lot of data about how recipients and ISPs respond. Many marketers take a more-is-better approach to stats, preferring to have the ability to slice and dice their email lists based numerous arbitrary stats. However, fundamentally what really matters is whether or not sending an email to a particular recipient will generate value. Data Scientists can design high-level insights such as engagement prediction models and content clusters that allow marketers to cut through the noise and design their campaigns around strong, predictive signals, rather than arbitrary statistics. SendGrid sends up to half a billion emails a day for customers such as Pinterest and GitHub. All this email adds up to more text than produced in the entire twitterverse. We track events like clicks, opens and deliveries to help improve deliverability for our customers – adding up to over 50 billion useful events every month. While SendGrid data covers only abo...
Top Stories for Cloud Expo 2012 East

In this "Cloud Trends" Power Panel at the 10th International Cloud Expo, moderated by Cloud Expo Conference Chair Jeremy Geelan, Karen Padir, EVP of Products & Engineering at EnterpriseDB, and Aaron Hollobaugh, VP of Marketing & Communications at Hostway Corporation, map the hottest areas of cloud computing right now, and share real-world examples of offerings that are generating value. ... (more)

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While unprecedented technological advances have been made in healthcare in areas such as genomics, digital imaging and Health Information Systems, access to this information has been not been easy for both the healthcare provider and the patient themselves. Regulatory compliance and controls, information lock-in in proprietary Electronic Health Record systems and security concerns have made it difficult to share data across health care providers.
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It's a simple fact that the better sales reps understand their prospects' intentions, preferences and pain points during calls, the more business they'll close. Each day, as your prospects interact with websites and social media platforms, their behavioral data profile is expanding. It's now possible to gain unprecedented insight into prospects' content preferences, product needs and budget. We hear a lot about how valuable Big Data is to sales and marketing teams. But data itself is only valuable when it's part of a bigger story, made visible in the right context.
Cloud Expo, Inc. has announced today that Larry Carvalho has been named Tech Chair of Cloud Expo® 2014. 14th International Cloud Expo will take place on June 10-12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, and 15th International Cloud Expo® will take place on November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Everyone talks about a cloud-first or mobile-first strategy. It's the trend du jour, and for good reason as these innovative technologies have revolutionized an industry and made savvy companies a lot of money. But consider for a minute what's emerging with the Age of Context and the Internet of Things. Devices, interfaces, everyday objects are becoming endowed with computing smarts. This is creating an unprecedented focus on the Application Programming Interface (API) as developers seek to connect these devices and interfaces to create new supporting services and hybrids. I call this trend the move toward an API-first business model and strategy.
We live in a world that requires us to compete on our differential use of time and information, yet only a fraction of information workers today have access to the analytical capabilities they need to make better decisions. Now, with the advent of a new generation of embedded business intelligence (BI) platforms, cloud developers are disrupting the world of analytics. They are using these new BI platforms to inject more intelligence into the applications business people use every day. As a result, data-driven decision-making is finally on track to become the rule, not the exception.
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Cloud Expo was a fantastic event for CSS Corp - we easily exceeded our objectives for engaging with clients and prospects."
AHMAR ABBAS
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With our launch at Cloud Expo, we successfully transformed the company from a relatively unknown European player into the dominant player in the market. Our competitors were taken by surprise and just blown away. We got a huge number of really high quality leads..."
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We were extremely pleased with Cloud Expo this year - I’d say it exceeded expectations all around. This is the same info we got from partners who attended as well. Nice job!"
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We live in interesting times for sure. Who would have thought ten years ago that IBM and Apple would become partners? Here is the announcement as reported in eWeek: Apple and IBM surprised many on July 15, announcing a global partnership that will see the companies attempt to “transform enterprise mobility.” The announcement, punctuated with comments from Apple CEO Tim Cook and IBM CEO Ginni Rometty, served notice of the companies’ intentions to make Apple smartphones, tablets and mobile services pre-eminent in the enterprise, replacing the BlackBerry devices and security services that long held the dominant position in that market. The partnership only confirms what Apple has been doing for years with its smartphones, tablets and even its notebook and desktop PCs, moving deeper into enterprises. The company has been touting its success in the corporate world, saying that many of the top companies in the world are now using its iPhones and iPads. In the IBM announcement, Apple’s Cook said that the company’s iPhones and iPads are now running in more than 98 percent of the Fortune 500 and 92 percent of the Global 500. Both Apple and IBM expect those figures to grow with this new pa...
A key development for the Internet of Things will be the evolution and emergence of the ‘Cloud Name System’, a directory system for Cloud applications in the same way DNS (Domain Name System) works for the web and email. Lori MacVittie wrote a while back about the need for an ‘SNS’ – a Service Name System, a DNS type directory approach but for Cloud Services so that they can be entirely loosely coupled from their IT infrastructure. Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the web, himself described a scenario of ‘Socially Aware Cloud Storage‘ that applies this same ideal of abstraction to our personal data across all the social networks we use. This refers to a distributed (Cloud) storage service that is used to store personal user data for social networks, rather than the social sites holding it themselves.
When people talk about Big Data, the emphasis is usually on the Big. Certainly, Big Data applications are distributed largely because the size of the data on which computations are executed warrants more than a typical application can handle. But scaling the network that provides connectivity between Big Data nodes is not just about creating massive interconnects. In fact, the size of the network might be the least interesting aspect of scaling Big Data fabrics.
Do you avoid stores that have had a credit card breach? You are not alone. About 52% of people avoid merchants who have had a data breach according to a recent Lowcards survey. They surveyed over 400 random consumers to better understand the impact of identity theft on consumer behavior. 17% said they or a family member was a victim of identity theft over the last year with half the cases being credit card theft. 94% said they are more concerned or equally concerned about ID theft. They estimate that there were 13.5 million cases of credit card identity theft in the United States over the last 12 months.
Internet of Things is the current hip phrase of technology evangelists, geeks and all kinds of clairvoyants. If, according to tech blogs and websites, 2013 was the year of big data, then 2014 certainly is the year of Internet of Things. New projects, big funding rounds, the general hype and excitement are everywhere. And yet, we don’t really get the whole thing right. The general media seem more concerned with new smart thermostats design than how the concept of IoT is changing our lives. It’s time to approach this massive subject properly and start avoiding common misconceptions. The problem with Internet of Things is that everyone seems concerned only about the Things, maybe because the name, which kind of implies that.
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Cloud Expo 2011 Allstar Conference Faculty

S.F.S.
Dell

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Oracle

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AWS

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