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Maryann, as always, the right questions. There is an alternative to trade shows and conferences for agencies seeking to better understand the state of the market and innovations. From 50,000 feet, Gartner and IDC are excellent sources for keeping up with technology trends, especially with big companies. At a more practical level, DoD must re-invest in IT standards bodies and other communities of practice where real innovators and practitioners gather. Frankly, we had too many conferences and much time wasted on both sides, recognizing that the quality of exchange if very low. One alternative is the rise of public/private partnerships and shared innovation labs where real research is getting done. INSA's newest report support DNI's IC-ITE addressed these very issues, recognizing that the entire public sector IT market is less than 2% of the Global $3.8 Trillion dollar market. DoD can no longer afford to rely on these closed community events to gain access to commercial innovations and the wealth of lessons learned being made available through these communities of practice. This is the model that the IT Acquisition Advisory Council (IT-AAC) has matured, and proving out there is a better way in these lean times.

Evidence of our success is the reaction we are getting from some of the old guard "trusted advisers" who have little incentive or connections into the fast paced IT market. Congressional funding for these keep them artificially relevant, but this too will change when agencies realize the little value they are getting from these closed communities. Cloud and other COTS innovations are game changers and are forcing many in congress and the white house to re-evaluate DoD's over reliance on the current Defense Industrial Complex.