Eye on the States: You know you're a state and local company if ...

Thomas Davies

Because I am switching from analyst to industry executive, this will be my last column. Consequently, I wanted to impart what I've learned over the past eight years writing this column ? a task, I soon discovered, that wasn't going to be as easy as I thought.

I needed something simple that encapsulated everything I've written about. It took awhile, but then it finally hit me: State and local government is a terrific market, but it's not for everyone.

You're probably thinking, that's it? After eight years, that's all Davies can come up with? No wonder he's moving on to do something else.

For many of you, this probably is quite obvious. For me, it's taken quite a lot of time ? with more trial and error than I sometimes would like to admit -- to come to this realization.

Perhaps it has been so difficult for me to see that state and local is not for everyone because I've been too close to the market. I got hooked early in my career on the adage that "state and local government is the laboratory of democracy." I certainly believe this is the case when it comes to technology.

But if state and local isn't for everyone, who is it for? Here's how I determine that.

Your company may have a future in state and local if:

  • Your company is in it for the long term, not just to make up for a lack of federal sales in the next 12 months. State and local is not a quick fix to a company's growth problems.

  • Your company has something of value that can be replicated across many state and local governments. A state and local business based solely on one-off deals, even if they are megadeals, just isn't economically attractive, no matter how you slice it.

  • You're willing to let the state and local business stand on its own as a separate unit. If not, you're probably hiding it among your other lines of business and not giving it the attention, nor making the commitment, that it needs.

  • You're willing to invest to go after the business, no matter where it is, even if that means building a customer base in Fargo, N.D. Too many companies are interested only in state and local business that's within a one-day drive of Washington or in a major state capital.

  • You aren't continually comparing your state and local business to your federal and commercial businesses. Doing so is like comparing your children: It may make you feel insightful, but rarely is anyone better off as a result. Hold state and local to a high standard, but realize it's a different market from the commercial and federal ones.

I would be remiss if I didn't express my gratitude to the many people who contributed to the "Eye on the States" columns, directly or indirectly, over the years. You have truly enriched my understanding of how to be successful in this market, and I deeply appreciate your trust and willingness to share your insights and experiences.

Thomas Davies is now senior vice president of business development for the Government Solutions Group at Affiliated Computer Services Inc. His e-mail address is tomdavies_global@yahoo.com.

Reader Comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

What is your e-mail address?

My e-mail address is:

Do you have a password?

Forgot your password? Click here
close
SEARCH
contracts DB

Trending

  • Dive into our Contract Award database

    In an exclusive for WT Insider members, we are collecting all of the contract awards we cover into a database that you can sort by contractor, agency, value and other parameters. You can also download it into a spreadsheet. Read More

  • Is SBA MIA on contractor fraud? Nick Wakeman

    Editor Nick Wakeman explores the puzzle of why SBA has been so silent on the latest contractor fraud scandal when it has been so quick to act in other cases. Read More

Webcasts

  • How Do You Support the Project Lifecycle?

    How do best-in-class project-based companies create and actively mature successful organizations? They find the right mix of people, processes and tools that enable them to effectively manage the project lifecycle. REGISTER for this webinar to hear how properly managing the cycle of capture, bid, accounting, execution, IPM and analysis will allow you to better manage your programs to stay on scope, schedule and budget. Learn More!

  • Sequestration, LPTA and the Top 100

    Join Washington Technology’s Editor-in-Chief Nick Wakeman as he analyzes the annual Top 100 list and reveals critical insights into how market trends have impacted its composition. You'll learn what movements of individual companies means and how the market overall is being impacted by the current budget environment, how the Top 100 rankings reflect the major trends in the market today and how the biggest companies in the market are adapting to today’s competitive environment. Learn More!