Author Archive

Thomas Davies

Eye on the states: Create an advisory board, then shut up and listen

For many companies, staying close to their state and local customers is an ongoing challenge. Getting around to state capitals is easier said than done, especially for senior executives with pressing tasks at headquarters. And too often when they do have a chance to get out of the office to speak with state and local officials, it's to discuss current contracts and operational issues, not future customer needs and directions.

Eye on the states: Converging technologies, customers require new lens

Conventional wisdom asserts that state and local government is a market of niches. Among the more obvious ones are technology niches (data vs. voice), political niches (red states vs. blue states), policy niches (pro-outsourcing vs. anti-outsourcing) and market niches based on government programs (food stamps vs. emergency response).

Eye on the States: Lack of mega deals makes market dicey

If there is one characteristic of the state and local market that sets it apart from its federal counterpart, it's the absence of a healthy and sustainable market for mega deals. The lack of mega deals is the primary reason so many state and local systems integrators struggle to grow their sales.

Eye on the States: Are your customers dependable?

At this time of year, everyone tries to forecast state technology spending.

Eye on the states: Following the road map to CIO star power

The turnover of state chief information officers has reached unprecedented levels. As each new governor puts his or her own person in the top technology job, the average tenure of a CIO shrinks.

Eye on the States: The fine print of state health care BPO

I bet terms such as claims entry, system takeover, MMIS, fiscal agent or entitlements mean nothing to you. But multiyear contracts, recurring revenue, mega deals, ongoing operations, and guaranteed federally financed budgets ? now, there is language everyone understands.

Eye on the States: Lessons in wireless from the little guys

If you only watch the big guys ? those state and local governments with the billion-dollar budgets ? you can miss out on a lot in this market.

Eye on the states: Small businesses can thrive in this market

Most large technology firms focus like a laser on the biggest buyers in the state and local market. But for small companies, a similar marketing focus could result in missed selling opportunities.

Eye on the States: Homeland security business is closer, but still far away

The first reaction of many companies to 9/11 was to reorganize around the emerging opportunity. One lesson learned is that moving boxes around organization charts is a whole lot easier than designing, building and delivering new homeland security solutions.

Eye on the States: Don't be shy, state executives need your insights

Years ago when I served in a senior capacity with a fast-growing Sunbelt state, I always looked forward to meeting the top technology industry executives who came to town.

Eye on the States: Take advantage of your commercial, federal assets

Every company with a federal or commercial business that wants to expand into the state and local market faces this challenge: how to leverage those business assets into state and local business.

Eye on the States: Can you answer the 'dreaded question'?

"Does your company use offshore resources for any of its state and local business?" That's the most dreaded question for companies with business in this market ? and there is no easy answer to it.

Eye on the States: Don't get tripped up by these market traps

Every market has its sand traps, and state and local is no exception. Try your best to avoid these situations:

Eye on the States: Crack the code on federal grants

Federal funding is the tail wagging state and local technology spending. Unlocking this money has become a major issue for many companies selling into this market, and with good reason: Federal aid to the states and their localities is more than $350 billion annually and more than 35 percent of all technology-related spending.

Eye on the States: Money in the budget isn't cash in your hands

Scanning the headlines tells you that, depending upon whose numbers you believe, state and local governments spend between $46 billion and $50 billion annually on information technology. This puts the market up there with other heavyweights, such as global manufacturing and financial services markets.

Eye on the States: What's the big idea? You need to have one ? now

Tired of competing in these tough times? Is it rough making your company stand out in an increasingly crowded state and local market? Maybe it's time to gain an advantage over your competitors by capturing the strategic high ground.

Eye on the States: Reading the future is risky business

Nothing is more humbling than trying to foresee the future in state and local government. Here's what is keeping everyone -- especially yours truly -- on their toes:

Eye on the States: What color is your customer's money?

Having trouble getting your state and local customers to commit to more spending this year? A recent fiscal survey sheds some light on why. The National Association of State Budget Officers is projecting a flat growth rate for all state budgets in fiscal 2004 except for Alabama, Michigan, New York and Texas. This contrasts with an average annual historical growth rate of 6.2 percent.

Eye on the States: From bad to ... better? Where the budget deficits went

Welcome to the newest roller-coaster ride: It's called state budgets. These days, they seem to swing wildly from forecasted deficits one day to surprising surpluses the next.