The Software Alliance, also known as BSA, is taking on a new focus on procurement with Jessica Salmoiraghi, formerly of the General Services Administration.
The Software Alliance, also known as BSA – a trade group for software companies including Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, Cisco, Adobe and others – is announcing an expansion of its federal government procurement work with a new hire, Jessica Salmoiraghi.
Salmoiraghi is the group’s new senior director for IT modernization and procurement, both topics she’s familiar with already, having worked at the General Services Administration as chief acquisition officer and associate administrator from 2018 to 2021. Most recently, she worked at professional services firm, the Golden Key Group.
The following interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.
Nextgov/FCW: Why does BSA see a need for this role?
Salmoiraghi: I think it's additive to what BSA has been doing in the past. BSA has been really working for years on digital transformation of the economy, and the US government really plays such an important role on that, especially when it comes to IT and services.
Expanding BSA’s work on procurement is just a response to the member needs and the members’ request who want… BSA to take a more advanced focus on procurement and IT modernization, so it's really a reflection of how BSA is trying to evolve its value proposition to its membership.
Nextgov/FCW: What are your priorities in this new role?
Salmoiraghi: We're still working a bit on refining this. I think from the large, 50,000 foot view, we're really looking at digital transformation of the government, right? How can we take the current software model that we have, whether it's commercial off the shelf or not, and move it to the cloud, and make it secure, so that we're focused on both cloud software and multi-cloud solutions. In addition, it’s managing and leveraging data across the government, with again, cybersecurity and AI being a big portion of that too.
Nextgov/FCW: Will you be focusing on the executive branch, Congress or both?
Salmoiraghi: This is where I need to figure that out a little bit because I come from the place of, I've done all three legs on the stool, right? I’ve lobbied for the law to be implemented. I’ve worked in a regulatory agency that's taking that law and actually implementing it. And then when I was at Golden Key Group, I was actually on the other side of that working with the contract officers on how those laws were implemented, saying, ‘Hey, this isn't the congressional intent.’ So I think it's one of the things that again, going back to the procurement, its folks don't always see that full scope, so right now, it's a question of how are we going to get there?
One of the issues that we've got, especially when we're talking about IT modernization, is funding for it. We are in a place where the budgets are getting tight. But when you're spending 70 to 80% of your funding on operations and maintenance, instead of new stuff,… you've got a real problem. So that to me is a conversation that needs to be had on the Hill and then also with agencies. Agencies want to change, but the Hill also needs to understand why they're trying to do it.
Nextgov/FCW: In the executive branch, what can a trade group do to get agencies to focus on modernization? Is it about getting leadership engaged or is it more working with acquisition professionals?
Salmoiraghi: I think both. I think part of it is understanding it's a priority… So if you've got folks that are saying, ‘I need to change this,’ then you're able to focus those resources on what really needs to change.
One of the things that you'll hear from the [Federal Acquisition Regulatory] Council and you'll frankly hear from [Office of Federal Procurement Policy] is that acquisition officers are in desperate need of training on IT. But that, I'm not sure, if that’s some place where BSA wants to play, so that's something that we need to figure out moving forward.
Nextgov/FCW: What are you looking for from Congress? Do you have your eye on the Strengthening Agency Management and Oversight of Software Assets Act that’s seen some action in Congress?
Salmoiraghi: We've definitely been reaching out to our congressional partners, and that's where I'm getting started again… So yes, we have been active on SAMOSA, but we've also been active in talking with other offices about what they're trying to do… [tech policy is ] a popular topic in Congress right now.