Insights from our top stories of the month

Whether it's insights from a top executive, or news on the latest contract awards, what you read on our site says much about what worries and intrigues you have, and what you want to learn more about.

The month of March has practically come to a close, so I thought I’d review some the big stories of the month, and talk about any trends or patterns that they reveal.

Topping the list is our interview with Linda Gooden, the Lockheed Martin executive who steps down as executive vice president of Lockheed’s Information Systems and Global Solutions group on April 1, and officially retires May 1. She’s had a long career at Lockheed, and our interview explored some of her lessons learned and keys to her success.

Two other big traffic drivers were our round ups of the top 10 contract awards and the biggest hires of February.

A story on sequester cuts also scored well with readers, as did our ongoing coverage of the CIA-Amazon cloud contract.

Traffic to our website was strong around a story we had on the Eagle II contract awards out of the Homeland Security Department, and around two columns on business development and the hows and whys behind better communications with employees.

An overarching pattern or trend in all these stories and commentaries is the need for information about what’s driving the market, and how to be more successful.

From the Gooden interview, there is advice and insight. The top 10 contracts, the CIA-Amazon, Eagle II contracts and the biggest hires stories all show a strong interest in changes in the competitive landscape -- the pervasive who’s up and who’s down question. Like the Gooden interview, the columns are about the desire to do your jobs better.

Individually, these articles also have stories to tell.

The strong interest in Linda Gooden’s story didn’t really surprise me. First, it's Lockheed Martin, and people want to know what the biggest player in federal IT is up to, and second, it’s Linda Gooden, one of the markets better-known leaders.

Gooden proved her star power a few years ago when cloud computing was first being talked about as the next big thing. While it seemed lots of people were talking about it, we would do stories, and they would fall flat as far as readership was concerned. It got to the point that we tried to avoid using the term cloud computing in headlines.

In the midst of this, I got a pitch that Gooden wanted to write a guest column on cloud computing. No avoiding cloud in that headline so it went out as "Lockheed’s Linda Gooden makes the case for cloud computing." It was a monster hit.

I think it helped turn the tide of interest in cloud computing among Washington Technology readers. I just wish I could get her to write a column more often for WT.

The CIA-Amazon deal is big because Amazon is a large company that is seen as a trendsetter in the technology world, far beyond the government market. Nearly any action they take is seen as noteworthy, and when it involves the Central Intelligence Agency, well, people’s ears perk up.

I’ve heard several descriptors attached to this contract for a private cloud, most along the lines of “paradigm shift” and “game-changer.”

Interest is high in this story because while few doubt the veracity of the descriptors, what they mean, and the impact the contract will have, is still unclear. And everyone loves figuring out a good mystery. Stay tuned on this one; I know Frank Konkel, who broke the story at our sister publication over at FCW, is hard at work on the case.

The final two stories I want to comment on are our columns on business development and communications with employees.

As the market has tightened, business development is an increasingly in-demand skill, so we’ve seen great success with stories on this topic. Bill Scheessele writes a regular column offering commentary and tips on BD, and this latest one focused on how critical it is to get out ahead of opportunities, hence the “Time to move BD efforts to the left” headline.

The column by Eva Neumann on five ways to improve communications with employees also resonated with readers, and is a sign of these tough times. With so much uncertainty in the market, business leaders need to communicate clearly and honestly with employees, or you’re doomed.

To me, these eight stories are a microcosm of what Washington Technology readers care about. You want to know about opportunities, who’s winning and what it means. You want to do your jobs better.

So do we. So we’ll keep tracking the traffic and chasing the stories and topics that are important to you.