MeriTalk - Where America Talks Government
Anthony Robbins

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Posted: 3/26/2013 - 4 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]


Seventy percent.  According to the GAO, seventy percent of every IT dollar spent by the Federal government goes to supporting legacy systems and infrastructure.  The network infrastructure in the Federal government was designed around a single vendor more than 20 years ago.  Like anywhere else, less competition has driven higher prices and stymied innovation.  Agencies pay more, get less, and move slower than they should. 

What’s more, agencies admit to knowing better.  Brocade and MeriTalk partnered on a study and found out that 95% of Federal IT professionals agree there are benefits to using more than one manufacturer within an agency’s IT infrastructure, but 41 percent of Federal respondents noted that their agency wasn’t even considering introducing additional manufacturers into their network infrastructure.

Clearly, industry needs to do a better job of communicating the benefits of the multi-vendor model, and the government needs to be open to change.  Here’s why:

  • Nearly half (45%) believe that adding a manufacturer drives down acquisition costs
  • On average, respondents estimate they can save 20% of their agency’s IT budget by adding an additional manufacturer. That’s an annual Federal savings of nearly $15.8 billion

Despite the data, and let’s face it – enormous need – many agencies remain dependent.  Why?  A solid few said “it’s just the way we always do things” – but that isn’t going to cut it in this post-sequester world.  To truly set their IT free, Feds need to: 

  • Start at the RFP:  And stop naming manufacturers.  Instead, focus on getting the best solution for your environment.
  • Test, test, and test again:  Ensure new investments are compatible with existing infrastructure, but don’t be afraid to think outside the box when it comes to testing
  • Move to open standards:  Don’t perpetuate the three Ps: Proprietary Protocol Purgatory – talk to industry people that are committed to open standards.  And as for those in the industry, be upfront with government IT about when it makes sense to keep a proprietary protocol…and when it doesn’t

It’s my belief that government and industry can work together to set America’s IT free.  It’s time to step up and declare your infrastructure independence.

To download the complimentary study, please visit

Want even more straight talk? Follow me on Twitter @AKRobbins2010.

Anthony Robbins is the vice president of Federal for Brocade.



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