A New Era For Gov Associations – Why They Need to Make the Change

The Professional Services Council (PSC) is shifting focus. They have just announced a substantial expansion of their policy and advocacy portfolio. The goal is to align the association’s issue and policy agenda with the shifting direction of the federal technology and professional services market. Translation, they are going to be focusing on services and not just hardware and other more traditional technology methods.

The shift is understandable considering the way cloud computing has transformed government contracting. But, the Professional Services Council is not alone. Many government and industry associations are undergoing major shift to keep pace with government transformation. 

Stan Soloway is the President and CEO of the Professional Services Council. He sat down with Chris Dorobek on the DorobekINSIDER program to talk about PSC's shift towards services and the shift generally going on in the association world. 

"Organizationally we are taking a more focused to technology business policy issues. What is happening in the marketplace right now is what drove us to take a much more intentional approach. There is a convergence going on now between the traditional professional services community and the technology space," said Soloway.

  • Example of the shift: "If we look at just what is happening in our membership, we had one very large, multi-national company that is basically known for routers and switches come to us a month ago and say, ‘Our world has changed. We are now moving into a services delivery model as opposed to a hardware or box delivery model.’ More and more folks on the services side, even those who are not doing technology, technology has been increasingly a part of what they do. Its role and the dynamics of the technology marketplace are such that it is changing business models and business approaches in a pretty dramatic way," said Soloway.

Shakeup in the association world?

"The association world is sometimes a lagging indicator of what is going on in the marketplace. We have been very lucky, we have grown every year, we’ve been profitable every year and we have a very sizable reserve fund. But we can’t just stay there. The questions is what are we going to be doing to be adjusting and adapting to the environment of the companies we represent have to deal in and our government customers have to deal in? That’s how we came into this whole area of convergence. What interested me most was not just the technology part of it, but companies of our that are completely outside our technology realm with whom this concept resonates so strongly," said Soloway. 

Acquisition moves in a new direction

"There is clearly a lot of activity around IT acquisition, but then there is another whole set of challenges that are coming for both government and industry. If you think about cloud as the beginning and not the end of the change, think of what that does to everyone’s business model. Think of what that means if we could get to a point where we would actually be in dynamic pricing for services. I can see that in certain categories not too many years down the road. It changes a whole slew of things," said Soloway. 

Are we ready for this kind of world?

"Yes and no. There are certainly pockets of government coming that are trying to adjust to it. They are increasingly recognizing it and changing business models, but for those who this is radically new, it takes a while to catch on. One of the things that we are uniquely positioned to do is to be a bridge not just between government and industry, but across different sectors of industry and parts of the government. Particularly the acquisition side of government that often operates within its own silos," said Soloway.

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