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By Nick Wakeman

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Why CompTIA lost interest in TechAmerica Foundation

It may have only taken 10 or 12 days for the Professional Services Council to go from pitch to closed deal when it acquired the TechAmerica Foundation, but the roots of the deal go back much further.

While PSC is short on details, President and CEO Stan Soloway said during the press conference about the foundation acquisition that PSC had looked at TechAmerica Inc. – the parent association of the foundation – last year before TechAmerica was acquired by CompTIA.

PSC was most interested in the research and other work the foundation did because of how well it fit with PSC’s objectives. The rest of TechAmerica wasn’t as attractive because it had a strong focus on the state and local market and commercial areas that aren’t on PSC's list of priorities.

But those other areas were attractive to CompTIA, and they closed the deal with TechAmerica in May 2014. But by the Fall, the status of the TechAmerica Foundation, which produces the Vision research product, a technology awards program, and federal CIO survey as well as other work, was called into question.

According to an email that went out to its membership this week, CompTIA CEO Todd Thibodeaux described how the association conducted a “facilitated dialogue” with several federal member companies on how to best serve the membership.

Out of that November discussion came the decision to move the foundation to PSC, whom they approached in January with the idea. The deal came together quickly because there was no exchange of cash, only the transfer of control of the foundation from CompTIA to PSC.

As part of the refocused direction, CompTIA also has stopped work on federal contractor issues and has disbanded its federal public sector committee. The committee was responsible for topics such as procurement, defense, and the General Services Administration as well as networking opportunities.

CompTIA has stopped all of that work.

In the email to members, the association said its focus in the federal arena will be on policy around:

  • Incubating new and emerging technology platforms by advancing policies around big data, cloud and unified communications.
  • Skilled workforce issues.
  • Promoting tax and regulatory policies that spur innovation.
  • Secure internet based platform tech policy.
  • Broadband communications.
  • Expanding market access and sensible rules for global trade.

All of these are issues that can be important to government contractors, but have a much broader appeal across the spectrum of the technology industry.

When you look at those issues as the primary focus for CompTIA, it is hard to see where the work the foundation does, and the resources it needs, fits into those broader tech issues.

The need to find a home for the foundation becomes obvious.

CompTIA will continue with its focus on the state and local market through its State Government Affairs Committee and international issues through TechAmerica Europe and its trade and regulatory compliance practice.

Another interesting note from the email: The TechAmerica name will be downplayed, as the CompTIA name will be the primary brand for the organization.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Feb 04, 2015 at 8:57 AM


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