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Steve O'Keeffe


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Posted: 4/27/2011 - 3 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]

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Beefeaters polish crown jewels. Londoners pray for sunshine. What’s top of mind for the royal couple? Yep, William and Kate are wondering if cloud and data center consolidation - DCC - is a marriage made in heaven, or if Uncle Sam is getting trapped in a shotgun showdown. While President Obama won’t wing his way to Westminster to watch the Windsors’ wedding, we understand the young couple’s been texting Mr. Kundra’s iPhone with tough IT infrastructure questions. Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal article on unplugging 137 Federal data centers really piqued their curiosity. They’d do well to consult two new MeriTalk studies on cloud and DCC: The Federal Cloud Weather Report and Measure to Manage. Released in the last fortnight, these reports provide new insight on IT palace intrigue.

The Royal Nod?

So, what’s the skinny? Well, Fed IT’s blue bloods approve of the cloud push. Some 64 percent of CIOs say cloud will reduce cost and improve service - dubbing cloud a white knight for telework and mobility solutions. And, the aristocracy ain’t alone. Overall, Fed IT pros project Uncle Sam can save $14.4 billion in the first year through private cloud implementations.

The push for DCC gets a royal thumbs up too. Eighty-two percent of Fed IT pros say Uncle Sam can save money with fewer data centers - and they peg potential savings at $18.8 billion. Dropping beneath the strategy to the operational level, some 82 percent project they will achieve DCC goals in five years - two years beyond OMB’s 2015 deadline.

We Are Not Amused...

But, it’s not all wedding cake and champagne. Feds are not wowed by the prospect of being walked to their pew by the best man - Cloud First - for the cloud ceremony. Seventy-nine percent of Feds note that their agencies aren't using Cloud First today. Further, 36 percent of CIOs say they don’t plan to embrace Cloud First in the next two years. Only half anticipate meeting goals - 52 percent plan to move one service to the cloud in the next 12 months, and 48 percent will move two additional services to the cloud in the next 18 months.

And, Feds have significant misgivings about OMB’s data center “divorce” initiative. “Alimony” is a concern - just 41 percent say they’ve a clear picture of consolidation costs. Interestingly, 60 percent of those that feel they understand DCC costs say they don’t have the budget to consolidate. And, to add confusion to the proceeding, the data center study exposes the version-control issues in data center vows. There are three different definitions of what constitutes a data center in play. Further, Feds don’t have common metrics for how to measure data center efficiency.

Stranded at the Altar...

And, what’s the future for Mr. Kundra at OMB? In the recent senatorial hearing, Vivek ducked Sen. Brown’s (R-Mass.) question about his plans to stick around to operationalize the 25-Point Plan.  The Federal IT community wants to know if Mr. Kundra plans to leave cloud and DCC waiting at the altar.

And, as we tune in tomorrow to watch William and Kate jump the broom and head off for their honeymoon, who could miss the fact that two’s company - and three’s a cloud...

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Posted: 4/18/2011 - 1 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]

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As bikini season draws near, some new and eye catching vital statistics from last week. The e-Gov diet - Congress short-changed the e-Gov fund, just $8 million against a $34 million ask. Vivek Kundra outed the data center uglies - “duglies” - the 100 data centers picked for closure. The digital BRAC begins.

And, if you don’t fancy your chances in swimwear, try cloud chic. Master cloud designer Kundra announced that all agencies met their curtain call for Cloud First - OMB now has 75 new target cloud programs readying for the catwalk. If your fear of giving up control of your data is keeping you from getting into IT’s latest duds, Kundra’s looking to assuage your anxiety. He noted 4,700 Federal IT systems are now outsourced - so we’re already naked..? And, if the promise of secure cloud doesn’t turn your head, consider the alternative. GAO reports some 600 distinct HR systems in the Federal government - costing Uncle Sam $2.9 billion. Uncle Sam’s asking - do those HR numbers make my butt look big?
 
So, what does all this mean?
 
First, e-Gov funding. Word is that the annual price tag for usaspending.gov is $6.75 million - and it’s required by law. Not much lettuce for other programs. Is this the end of the IT dashboard et al? What role for the future of the e-Gov office at GSA? And, if e-Gov gets the cold shoulder, what chance for the 25-Point Plan without funding?
 
Second, does anybody know which data centers made the Fed 100 this year? How many from what agencies will be BRAC’d? What were the judging criteria? How much will we save - and when will Uncle Sam pull the plug on the duglies?
 
Last, when will OMB make the Cloud First programs public? It’ll be interesting to see how strong the security is around the list. Curious to know who signed off on these programs at the agencies - CIO, CFO, CISO? Is there a budget for each engagement, timeline for completion, and budget projection impact in terms of target savings? Also interested to see how they will interface with FedRAMP.
 
New data. New questions. A new take on the Fed 100. We’ll examine this and more at MeriTalk Innovation Nation on August 23 at the D.C. Convention Center - register today. Pass the sunscreen - it’s going to get hot in D.C. this summer. 

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Posted: 4/11/2011 - 2 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]

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I'm a simple fellow. I'm easily confused. I'm easily distracted. When I read OMB's 25-Point Plan to fix Fed IT my head hurt. 25 points. All with associated deadlines. The Almighty himself only had 10 - and no deadlines. Honor Thy Father and Mother - in six months. You Shall Not Bear False Witness Against Your Neighbor - in 18 months. Is OMB really committing to all these deadlines?

Just before Paddy's day we launched a survey of the Fed IT community. What do you make of the 25-Point Plan? How would you rate each point by desirability and doability? 269 of you took the survey - thank you. In today's Senate Subcommittee hearing, MeriTalk released the Join the Dots: A Point-by-Point Perspective on the 25-Point Plan report. You can read my testimony here and watch the Webcast here.

The net, the community feels all points are desirable, but questions doability. Govies are less optimistic about doability than industry. As you see from the study scattergrams, all points in the plan aren't equal. The evolutionary stuff scores highest - IT program management career path - the revolutionary stuff lowest - Cloud First. Data center consolidation hits in the middle of the pack. The government-wide data center marketplace fares poorly.
 
Fed IT pros estimate data center consolidation and cloud can deliver $14 billion in efficiency savings. Cloud and data center consolidation are the brains and stomach of the 25-Point Plan. OMB should focus on these initiatives.
 
OMB is asking for $25 million to fund program management and initiatives to fix Federal IT. With an I in pennies and an R in $10s and $20s, Congress needs to fund this program - the American tax payer will never get different results if Congress doesn’t provide for new initiatives. To make it work, we need to ask OMB to embrace the three Cs:
- Consolidate: Less is more
- Connect: Expand outreach and education to Fed IT leaders
- Calibrate: Measure performance - and hold executives accountable for positive and negative outcomes

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Posted: 4/4/2011 - 4 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]

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Who hasn't sat in Beltway traffic and fantasized about Scottie beaming them up? Who wouldn't swoon at the chance to get out of the gridlock? So, it only seems fitting that on Valentine's Day, more than 39,000 telenauts from all 50 states fell in love with a deep-space exploration mission - in their own homes. I'm not talking about NASA resuscitating the shuttle - I'm talking about National Telework Week. You may have missed them on the road - apologies in advance if the telenauts truncated your traffic trauma.

 And, what extraterrestrial lessons did our intrepid "untravelers" bring back from their home offices? Check out the report - but here are some notes from the Captain's log:
 
-       Rip in the Space-Time Continuum - Teleworking two days per week, our telenauts would save $3,439 each per year - that's a very real financial recruiting and retention incentive in the face of a two-year Federal pay freeze. And, there's more than money in play - teleworkers would save 200 hours per year. Rolling up those savings, Telework Week's Federal untravelers undrove 3.1 million miles, unpolluted 1,513 tons, and unwasted 126,000 hours of their lives - a significant factor for deep-space voyages. If all eligible Feds teleworked two days each week, the telenaut experiment points to $3.8 billion in Federal-wide annual savings opportunity.
 
-       Give Me Warp Speed Mr. Sulu - As we look for rocket fuel for the economic recovery, what about telework? Extrapolating from the almost 40,000 telenauts to the 62.5 million full-time, salary workers nationwide, two-day per week telework would save Americans $215 billion each year.
 
-       It's Only Logical - Employees and managers logged greater productivity, 76 percent report enhanced thrust.
 
-       It's Life Jim, But Not as We Know It - Telenauts logged improved work/life balance and job satisfaction readings - less bothering Bones in sick bay.
 
-       Kirk/Uhura Kiss - Telework Week research shows real cultural change. Some 60 percent of organizations said that management has turned the corner on telework - and is more open to, and encouraging of, telework versus one year ago.
 
Let's try to set the Trekky clichés aside for the close. Federal telework is at a tipping point. The momentum is apparent. That said, it's important to remember that progress is a two-way street. Federal telework must focus on measuring performance not just behavior - check out the upcoming Telework Exchange Town Hall Meeting on April 28th, themed, “Telework. Work Smart. Save Big.” And for those Feds who are on a mission to meet the telework law deadlines, take a lesson from PTO, GSA, and DISA. If Federal telework is to live long and prosper, agencies need to demonstrate how telework cuts Uncle Sam’s cost and boosts government efficiency.  

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