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HQ2 or not, Amazon already a major public sector player

Amazon has made its decision for the sites of its second North American headquarters and the decision is either not as bad as it could have been or not as good as you were hoping.

Because instead of one location, Amazon will split the so-called HQ2 into two locations: Arlington's Crystal City in Virginia and New York City's Queens.

Each location will expect to see 25,000 new Amazon jobs created over the next decade or two. The local governments should see their tax coffers increase even after factoring in the incentives Amazon is getting to put their new headquarters here.

I know government contractors have worried about the increased competition for talent an Amazon headquarters will bring.

But frankly, the talent challenges are here with or without Amazon. In fact, we have an event planned for Nov. 30 that focuses on the Talent Wars in government contracting.

And we planned that without much thought for Amazon, but I’m sure we’ll be talking about it. But again, they are just the biggest and latest challenge for already challenging job market.

Click here for more information on the event and how to register.

Now that Amazon has made its commitment, there are still several unanswered questions.

How will this impact Amazon Web Services’ competitiveness in the federal market? AWS is already a force. Once the HQ2 is up and running, I’m sure they’ll have a spiffy center of some sort to show off their capabilities.

But frankly, AWS is so strong now that I’m not sure the long term impact will change much. The train has left the station as far as cloud computing and its power to transform operations. HQ2 or not, that transformation is going to happen.

A more immediate question is whether the HQ2 decision will have any impact on the competition for the Defense Department’s JEDI cloud project. I can’t imagine it being a deciding factor in DOD’s choice between AWS, Microsoft, IBM, Oracle or any other prospective bidder.

But if all things were equal, it would have to be a plus to have the headquarters just minutes and practically walking distance from the Pentagon. But I think that is more psychological because any company is going to be hyper-responsive to DOD with a contract that large.

AWS also is already a community member as far as its level of activity with the various industry groups, so I don’t see HQ2 having much of an impact on that. Amazon won’t suddenly become an active corporate citizen because they already are.

The company also is already active on Capitol Hill, but again I think the impact could be psychological. A tech issue comes up and how easy would a field trip to Amazon’s HQ2 be or for a senior executive to pop up on the Hill?

So is Amazon coming to Northern Virginia a big deal? Sure it is, but mostly for the impact it will have on traffic and housing.

The job market is already hyper competitive and AWS is already a public sector player, so I don’t see much of an Amazon factor there because the company is already a major factor.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Nov 13, 2018 at 11:09 AM


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