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By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

Can you navigate the new normal?

Last year, when the immixGroup launched their first Government IT Sales Summit, they asked me to moderate a panel on partnering.

Usually, these kinds of events peak in the morning, and then fade out after lunch. My session was in the afternoon, so I didn’t have high expectations. But that changed quickly. First, I struggled to find a parking spot at the hotel, and then I walked in, and it was wall-to-wall with people.

Our room was set up for maybe 75 people, and it was standing room only. Obviously, there is a hunger for what immixGroup is putting on, and this year’s event carries a similarly packed agenda with the theme of Navigating the New Normal.

The event will be held Nov. 19 in Reston, Va. Here is a link to the full agenda.

Full disclosure: Washington Technology is one of several media sponsors of the event.

I won’t be participating in any of the sessions this year, but I’ll be attending as a reporter looking for stories.

As part of the event, they’ve folded in their annual market intelligence budget briefings on defense and civilian spending. With the budget deal having passed last month, perhaps the new normal will include some broader growth.

One of the sessions that caught my eye is on picking the right contract vehicle. It’s an important question given the number of vehicles government agencies have to choose from. How do you guide your customer to the right one?

Being able to answer that question is a key to success in today’s market. The panel will give you insights into working with your customers to identify the right vehicle.

There also are several sessions on data including predictive analytics, data governance, and sharing threat data.

The theme of the new normal is admirable and is a topic I’ve heard discussed across the market. It might not have a single definition. The market has changed in the last five years with constrained budgets and a focus on affordability. The result is a hyper competitive environment with vendors facing multiple pressure points. There are no givens.

Perhaps budgets are going to loosen in the next couple years, but no one expects government buyers to become less focused on cost and efficiency or for the market to become less competitive. The current conditions are not a passing fad. In my opinion, this is the new normal.

And the best thing is to arm yourself with knowledge, which is what I see immixGroup trying to do with their event.

It also should be fun. The lunch keynote speaker is Walter Isaacson, president and CEO of the Aspen Institute. He’s the former chairman and CEO of CNN and editor of Time magazine.

He’ll be talking about innovation, another hot topic in today’s market. He has a new book out: The Innovators: How a Group of Inventors, Hackers, Geniuses and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution. He’s also written biographies of Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin and Henry Kissinger.

I’m sure he’ll be floating some big ideas out to the audience, and it’s always good to hear perspective from outside the government market.

So, if you see me wandering the halls of the Hyatt Regency in Reston next week, please say "Hi."

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Nov 11, 2015 at 9:33 AM

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