MeriTalk - Where America Talks Government
Steve O'Keeffe

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Posted: 7/26/2010 - 6 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]


Sent spinning up into the air by freak weather, the house comes down on the Wicked Witch of the East. Looking in on the passage of the new Telework Improvements Act on the Hill, it occurred to me that the Wizard of Oz is really about telework. Far from home, Dorothy travels down the long yellow brick road to meet the wizard, just to ask to go back home. Have to say, skipping on a yellow brick road is probably faster than your trip to the office these days - the average Fed commutes more than 50 miles roundtrip.

With the House passing Telework Improvements Act of 2010 - HR.1722 - Congress has really squashed the life out of mean, spiteful Federal managers, who for years have cast their wicked spells on telework.

Second time proved to be the charm for the "no-place-like-home" legislation. HR.1722 passed 290-131 on July 14. More support this time - 22 more votes to be exact. So what does it mean for Feds? Is this real change or just empty rhetoric from the "all-powerful wizard?" What do agencies need to do to make a difference?

First, Feds need to get telework courage - dare to embrace telework and expand existing programs. Second, agencies need to get a telework brain - set benchmarks, monitor performance, and guarantee that eligible employees can telework. Third, Feds need to get a telework heart - provide training for confused and recalcitrant managers as well as appoint a telework-managing officer to manage the operations.

Last, but by no means least, HR.1722 requires all agencies to integrate telework into continuity of operations programs. So, for the chance that freak weather hits your agency - remember the D.C. snowpocalypse - you'll know you can always go home. Agencies will be required to implement more robust programs and report progress.

But, we're not in Kansas yet. HR.1722 is not law today. The next step is to reconcile the House legislation with its counterpart, the Senate telework bill (S.707). The House and Senate will host a pow wow to resolve the differences between the two bills. The idea is, let's get this through - the sooner, the better. The administration recently directed agencies to "reduce your real estate" and "get your employees off the road" - so there's pressure coming at agencies from all angles.

If you listen closely, 1.2 million telework-eligible Feds are smiling, clicking their heels, and muttering there's no place like home. Want to get involved in the telework dialogue? Attend the Fall Telework Exchange Town Hall Meeting on October 7th. Ruby slippers optional...

Posted: 7/20/2010 - 3 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]


As the Vuvuzelas' din fades, fans are asking who's the new superstar from the 2010 World Cup? Dynamic Donovan, Vicious Villa, Mighty Mueller - nah. Paul the Psychic Octopus has to get the golden boot(s). From qualifying rounds to the final, this magnificent mollusk hit the mark with every prediction.

And, taking a tentacle out of his tank, it seems the spooks want to improve their grip on the future. The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity recently announced that it will let a series of four-year contracts to better understand the future and make smarter decisions.

So, what's the game? The Intel community calls this "Aggregative Contingent Estimation." It wants a "quantitative method for weighing forecasters' judgments according to their level of risk aversion, cognitive style, variance in judgment, past performance, and predications of other forecasters' knowledge." Figure eight heads are better than one. I'll pass on the horse-tipping opportunity, but can you say, do they have WMD? With all the variables, doesn't this seem like the mother-of-all-number-crunching apps?

Progressive contractors take note. But if you're thinking about subbing Paul the Mystic Octopus onto your team, you may need to think again. Rumor has it that the German zoo keepers gave him das boot after he picked Spain to beat Germany in the semi final - so don't order the calamari in Oberhausen.

Posted: 7/9/2010 - 1 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]


The only thing hotter and steamier than the weather in D.C. right now is the conversation about cloud. And, it's both tiring and confusing. There are more flavors of cloud than of coffee at Starbucks - private, community, public - not to mention IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS. Venti, double-caramel macchiato, skim-milk latte @ 190°...

Isn't it time we cut the steam and put some hard numbers into the recipe? The analysts are cooking up huge growth projections - Gartner says global cloud services will rise from $58.6 billion last year to $148.8 billion in 2014. IDC tells us the public cloud market will soufflé from $16 billion in 2009 to $55.5 billion in 2014.

So, as we sweat over the security, who's making the business case for the Federal cloud transition - how much can Uncle Sam save by putting cloud on the menu? Well, we've got an app for that. MeriTalk collaborated with the Feds - DISA, Commerce, Energy, GSA, Interior's National Business Center, NASA - to build the first Federal Cloud Computing Savings Calculator. More than 100 Feds have run their IT budgets through our gizmo - so we have real numbers on projected government-wide cloud savings. Tune in to the Inside the Cloud Megacast at 2 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, July 20 to hear from Tom Soderstrom, CTO at NASA JPL, about current cloud initiatives, learn how the calculator works, and see how much you can save.

Oh, and make sure that you're in an air conditioned room - 'cause this stuff is hot. Starbucks optional.