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Old 12-31-2019, 02:21 PM
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Arrow Pentagon awards Govini five-year contract for data

Pentagon awards "Govini" five-year contract for data
By: Aaron Mehta - Defense News - 12-30-19

It seem's we have a new player in our Defense System. Company called: Govini?

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon has awarded data analytics firm Govini a $400 million contract — a move related to broader efforts to find savings inside the department and bring nontraditional players into the department’s orbit.

The contract, an indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity deal covering five years, allows offices throughout the Department of Defense to access data and analysis from Govini’s dataset.

The company has worked with the DoD in various ways since 2017, but this contract represents the largest award the company has received from any government customer. The competitive contract was awarded Dec. 10 through the Office of the Chief Management Officer, which is charged with spearheading an internal efficiency move.

The data will primarily be used to assist offices within the department to find savings and efficiencies, at a time that Secretary of Defense Mark Esper has ordered a large-scale review of the so-called fourth estate, which include 27 agencies, such as the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Defense Information Systems Agency and the Missile Defense Agency.

Esper has announced roughly $5 billion in planned savings from those efforts so far.

Tara Murphy Dougherty, president of Govini’s national security practice, told Defense News that the company’s dataset should minimize the need for expensive, external consultants, which often come with datasets that need to be used outside the Pentagon. The new contract should instead allow individual offices to play with the data on their own.

“This contract puts data directly in the hands of the true subject matter experts, who work within [the Office of the Secretary of Defense] and the services,” Murphy Dougherty said. “These decision-makers and analysts are best positioned to create the most effective, most actionable recommendations for reform. And yet, they are often at a significant data disadvantage. Despite the proliferation of data systems across DoD, direct access to authoritative data remains relatively limited for this community.”

The contract also fits into the Pentagon’s goal of trying to bring technology firms into the department’s orbit. While there remain some cultural differences between the tech and defense sectors, companies that are willing to work with the department and can survive the initial challenges of winning a contract can find the Pentagon to be a lucrative customer.

Govini now joins West Coast-based firms such as SpaceX and Palantir — the latter of which just received a $110 million contract for an Army program — as nontraditional players to receive large defense contracts. However, replicating that for businesses not targeting the government as a customer remains a challenge for the DoD.

“These big wins show DoD is willing to place big bets on tech companies outside of the traditional defense contractors, and big opportunities for American tech companies willing to work with DoD,” Murphy Dougherty said.

About this writer: Aaron Mehta is Deputy Editor and Senior Pentagon Correspondent for Defense News, covering policy, strategy and acquisition at the highest levels of the Department of Defense and its international partners.

Little History about this outfit

How new open-data policies enable start-up's business model

In government contracting, access to the right information can make all the difference. The biggest vendors rely on consultants and advisors with deep knowledge of the bureaucracy and networks of relationships inside government, but new open data policies are making government contracting and financial information accessible in new ways.

Govini, a San Francisco-based startup, is looking to shake up the market dominated by Deltek and a few other firms, by offering access to a wide array of contracting data at the federal, state, and local level, across a range of industries, including IT and telecom, defense, environmental, health care and business services. Govini acts as a portal into the maze of government contracting opportunities, allowing users to search across agencies for opportunities based on geography, size, sector and more.

Deltek is undoubtedly the 800-pound gorilla in the contracting information space, and firms like Centurion Research Solutions are seeking to carve out their own analysis-driven business.

But Govini is modeled more along the lines of companies like Jane's Information Group, which built a thriving business with military and aviation contract data, or McGraw-Hill, which created a market for national construction information based on data from building permits.

It's the kind of service that's only possible under new open data policies that put the onus on agencies to release information in uniform, machine readable formats. President Obama, in a July 8 White House event touting his new management agenda, named open data as way to use government information to generate private-sector economic growth. "We've opened up huge amounts of government data to the American people. Put it on the Internet for free," he said.

The ability to process large volumes of government data, "takes the friction out of the manufacturing process and allows us to deliver to the marketplace at a cost that was previously prohibitive, and that the legacy data and information services couldn't do," said Govini founder and CEO Eric Gillespie. Subscribers pay $3,600 for access to federal information of the type you'd get on Deltek GovWin or Bloomberg BGov, and just over $13,000 for federal, state and local information, plus analytics and information about competitors.

A raft of technological innovations makes this all work: the ability to aggregate large volumes of data as a result of bandwidth increases and new database software, the ability to visualize data using analytics, and the ability to share that information in the cloud. Finally, and crucially for Govini, is the deployment of large public sector datasets. These are the "four Vs" of big data – volume, velocity, variety and veracity. With the trend toward open government data in full swing, said Gillespie, "for the first time ever we have the four Vs working in unison."

At the same time, Govini is not just trying to build an information service. According to Gillespie, they are looking to disrupt the market for professional services in government contracting in much the same way that Google disrupted the market for advertising – by automating processes that were once handled in a one-off, non-repeatable basis. The historical data in Govini's systems are designed to give users a sense of what opportunities are worth chasing, based on win probability, value, and other factors.

"Most federal contractors hire professional services firms to come in and figure out market dynamics in a non-systemic and often times random way," he said. By replacing that bespoke work with automated, machine-driven analytics, Gillespie said, Govini could create a market potentially worth billions annually.

Govini does have consultants on staff, but they exist to help clients use the system. They don't place calls to contracting officers, make FOIA requests or produce bespoke reports, or offer specific advice on whether a user should or should not go after a contract. Of course, it is far from settled as to whether the players in the federal market will want to shift from relationship- and experience-driven expertise to analytics.

Currently, Govini has about 1,000 subscribers at the small- and medium-size business level, in addition to about half of the top 100 federal contractors in its client book. Most of the larger clients have multiple subscriptions. Gillespie wouldn't disclose any revenue information. Govini is a privately held company, and backed with investments by Silicon Valley venture firm Accel Partners.

One advantage is that potential new clients are contained in the data that Govini trades in. "Figuring out who plays in this space and who would be interested in doing that more efficiently, is pretty simple and pretty straightforward," he said.

About this writer: Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.

Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial roles at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, New York Press, Architect Magazine and other publications.


Comment: National Secrets going through 2nd and 3rd party systems. Cross-talking and shopping for the best deal - opens up a lot of data that - if in the wrong hands - could cause one more nations to fall if this data gets out. What security issues come into play going through outside sources rather than our departments? Curious what happens to the folks who used to work for the government on these projects. What type of "Security" will this outfit have to contain US government secrets? How does the government monitor their secret projects to ensure there are no internal leaks to the the bad guys?

I'm an engineer by trade (until I retired) and we really had to safeguard our product designs to prevent reverse engineering or pirated designs by others. Reverse engineering is common more-so now than ever.

National Secrets are just that National Secrets!
Let's face it even in our government - leaks get out come hell or high water!


O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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