March 07, 2009, 11:29 AM — The economic stimulus package has passed, and there will be an enormous amount of money shooting out of Washington. Whether this will help the economy any is still up in the air, and even a few Democrats are saying it's just too much. The theory of course, is that the record-breaking deficit that the stimulus creates will eventually be reduced because the economy will turn around. And I have to admit, there are some worthwhile spending projects out there, once you weed out the waste and pork.
But regardless of your political views, there's no doubt at all that there will be some opportunities for VARs and other people in the IT business to get a piece of this largesse. So where's the trough and where does the line start? Let's see what we can get in on. There have been plenty of reports and speculation lately on how this money will filter down to the IT industry, and whether it will remain in the hands of a few large contractors or whether the little guy will get some of it.
It's important to remember here that the benefit will not just be going to government contractors. Sure, there's going to be a lot of fat government IT contracts, but there will also be a lot of indirect business as well in the private sector, which will be created. There's going to be a lot of hardhat jobs created out of this, which will help fix things like bad roads full of potholes, outdated bridges, and public buildings. But behind all those hardhat jobs are IT systems, working behind the scenes. The healthcare industry will get money for electronic record keeping, and this too will create some big opportunities; education will also be a big beneficiary--and hopefully we will see more things like technology-focused schools. And let's not forget the state level. Some of that federal money is going directly to states, which will be creating their own priorities; and these more localized initiatives will give the smaller, more local and regional VARs a chance to participate.