Guest blogger: Tim Stitely, IBM Vice President for Federal Healthcare
As the Former Chief Information Officer for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and a civil servant for over 20 years from the level of clerk typist through the Senior Executive Service, I have seen many "Modernization" initiatives to optimize and otherwise change Government. Sometimes this is process-oriented or people-driven, and usually lands a lot on technology. The initiatives have come under many names, including Reinventing Government and the President’s Management Agenda.
Disaster Response: Brings Out the Best in Feds. Government Executivecovered the SES Rank Awards ceremony. Both SBA Administrator Linda McMahon and Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Elaine Duke praised the dedication and response of thousands of career civil servants to the three major hurricanes in recent months.
The British government successfully pioneered the use of a national, semi-independent “surge team” to tackle large-scale technology-driven challenges facing it. The U.S. federal government adapted this approach to improve the success of its own operations in 2014, titling its top-level team as the “U.S. Digital Service.” It then created a small internal software development and service organization, dubbed “18F,” to support both USDS and individual agencies. And individual agencies are creating their own internal digital service teams, as well.
Information technology has made possible the availability of real-time data and the tools to display that data, such as dashboards, scorecards, and heat maps. This has boosted the use of data and evidence by government decision makers in meeting their agency and program missions. But what about the use of performance metrics by agency chief information officers themselves?
Many complex IT programs are encumbered by requirements that continually change over lengthy time frames. The results are often cost overruns and schedule delays. As a result, desired mission objectives are not achieved.
Jonathan Walters' report chronicles the Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) efforts to realign and centralize its information technology activities. Describing it as an "ambitious, audacious and arduous crusade," Walters makes it very clear that this is still very much a work in progress. There are significant hurdles ahead and certain significant adjustments will no doubt need to be made for this ambitious undertaking to be ultimately implemented and sustained by the VA.
The Department of Defense launched an ambitious effort to transform its vast network of back office mission support systems in 2001. It has since invested large amounts of funding in the effort. What progress has been achieved to date? What has been its impact? This report provides answers and insights into these questions as it assesses the progress of this effort.
Italy's new public procurement system, created through Consip--a public company owned by the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance--is the focus of this report. Consip created a new information technology platform and new operational procedures for public acquisitions that included an electronic catalog, online auctions, and an electronic marketplace. Working as a public company, Consip was designed to minimize red tape, recruit a highly educated workforce, and be more responsive to clients.