If, Then: 2022 brings plenty of scenarios to ponder

Gettyimages.com/Nora Carol Photography

It is too easy to say contractors face a lot of uncertainty in 2022, especially considering all that we can be certain of and the different scenarios that those certainties will drive.

It is far too easy to put the word “uncertainty” up as what looms over the federal contracting market and leave it at that, when there are multiple threads to pull on stemming from that word.

So let’s get more specific with the scenarios to walk through for 2022 in this annual exercise of pondering them. As ever: disagreement, pushback and a dose of “hey, also consider this” are encouraged.

If the Biden administration’s ambition to increase federal contracting for small businesses by 50 percent over five years is a “doable but very tough goal” as said in this interview with someone who would know

Then there are a whole lot of small business founders and CEOs out there telling employees that more money doesn't mean it is any easier to win a government contract. It's tough. very tough.

If the administration wants to turn that ambition and vision of $100 billion in small business contracting into a reality…

Then these discussion items must be on the agenda for all agencies: contract consolidation and bundling, centralizing of procurement functions, and access to capital. Among several others.

If the problem of talent across the public sector ecosystem is shared equally between government and industry and is, as they say, their biggest challenge…

Then the public-private partnership needs to truly partner on solving that problem above so many others. Especially if everyone is after same talent.

If the restart of voluntary assessments under the defense industrial base’s CMMC cyber certification program is just around the bend

Then those that got prepared and did not get caught up in the Pentagon’s own intrigue should have little-to-nothing to worry about. Getting it done now equates to better focus on the mission outlined in the contract.

Also: Tweaks and changes are always something to watch for, but consider too that CMMC was always advertised as malleable. So did the internal mechanics of what companies had to do to get ready ever significantly change? Don’t fall for the social media sensationalism.

If the U.S. military’s new multiple-provider commercial cloud program replacing JEDI will indeed have this unique method of awarding task orders so as to work directly with the hosting providers…

Then the Defense Department’s unspoken message to federal systems integrators goes something like this: work on that value-add of services wrapped around the infrastructure. We're going to the commercial cloud regardless of acronym.

If the disappearance of one company off the public markets followed by another is disappointing…

Then here to save us is the SPAC, and especially the Space SPAC, that serves up public companies with one after another. Main thing to consider about a SPAC: giving shareholders their money back is not an option.

If private equity continues to serve up one roll-up of portfolio companies after another with the race to scale in the mix…

Then that would seemingly begat one sale to a strategic acquirer after another. Or to another private equity. Or an eventual public listing for those willing to try, including a SPAC.

If Oracle’s announcement earlier this week that it is acquiring Cerner at a company-record price of $28 billion took us aback…

Then our reaction pales in comparison to that of Veterans Affairs Department. We await it from them. As for the Defense Department also adopting Cerner’s electronic health record: steady as it goes apparently.

If there was one other acquirer we would highlight as one that was not expected, but probably should have been in retrospect…

Then it would be Comcast. It's acquisition of MicroTech's telecom business turned the cable, Internet and global media giant into a carrier on the government-wide EIS telecommunications vehicle. Many fair opportunities still await all nine carriers.

If the creation of “New Peraton” through its combination with two other big pieces was an eye-catcher:

Then putting a few big-ticket contract wins on the board in succession will cause those eyes to widen. Organic growth will be a main determining factor in judging their success.

If the 21st century version of The Space Race that is both a business rivalry and a personal one among the billionaires has one comparison to The Cloud Wars for government contractors to consider…

Then this section of quote from CSRA’s former CEO at an event of ours three years ago also applies: “a lot of us just want to get out of the bursting radius and be prepared to support customers whichever way they go.”

If nine out of 10 startup companies in the U.S. fail for reasons that have little-to-nothing to do with the technology they make or the government contracting system they try to navigate…

Then perhaps the government’s focus should be on relationships with the startup community that outlast the companies in it. Investment firms, technology accelerators and other organizations that know what good looks like in the venture capital world should take the lead.

If all the dramas around the vaccine mandate for federal contractors is dizzying to you all out there in the industry…

Then we are right there with you in being dizzied. We largely follow our colleagues’ leads at FCW and GovExec to keep us and you informed.

BUT: we did try our part in helping set the discussion and preparation in motion well before the mandate became a thing. Like with CMMC: preparing for several outcomes is never a bad idea.

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