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By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

Some insider views on the stimulus winners and losers

The numbers connected to the stimulus package are huge and estimates of how much is information technology related range as high as $100 billion.

The stimulus package was a hot topic at a recent roundtable Washington Technology hosted with about 20 industry executives.

The backgrounder — so there are no names or companies attached to the comments in this post — brought together manufacturers, service providers, and businesses large and small.

Here are some predictions:

Winner: Holders of large task-order contracts

Much of the money needs to be obligated by the end of fiscal 2009 (Sept. 30), so agencies must move quickly. The need for fast action means agencies will turn to established contract vehicles. If you hold one or more of those contracts, you’re in a position to win more business.

Winner: Alaska Native Corporations

Again, the need for speed is driving this one. Agencies can direct no-compete contracts of any size to ANCs and tribally owned businesses. If you’re an agency and you need to spend $100 million quickly, an ANC might be the answer.

Winner: Hardware and software vendors … and their partners

The stimulus funds could open a flood of technology refresh spending. Need a new computer? Is it Energy Star rated? Here’s your check. Plus upgrading hardware and software is a relatively low risk endeavor.

Winner: Projects that meet the administration’s priorities

This is a well-known list — health care, the environment and transparency to name a few — but companies think the opportunities are real and not just hype.

But there are some worries, which reflect concerns both as a citizen and as a business person.

Worry: Managing this much money

A lot of the spending is going out through grants. Some agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency, have a long history of processing and managing grants, so they have the infrastructure in place. Others, such as the Federal Railroad Administration, not so much.

But this also could represent an opportunity for contractors who can go into an agency and help them manage spending programs.

Worry: Reporting requirements

Recovery.gov is good in concept, but there is a risk that the flood of information and reporting might make it even more challenging to spot waste and abuse. It is the “hide-in-plain-sight” theory.

Not a worry: A shrinking market

Despite all the anti-contractor rhetoric that can come out of the White House, the executives around the table that night still see the government market as a land of opportunity.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Mar 09, 2009 at 7:22 PM


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