MeriTalk - Where America Talks Government
Steve O'Keeffe

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Posted: 5/26/2011 - 10 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]

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Excavating Pompeii, archeologists found three types of correspondence - love letters, shopping lists, and IG reports on failing Fed IT projects. But seriously folks, how long have we been trying to nail this jell-o to the wall? PMA, Watch Lists, Dashboards, TechStats… Who hasn’t scoffed at Uncle Sam’s IT management mayhem? Well, here’s your chance to get off the pine and into the game…

Enter new proposed legislation from Senators Carper (D-Del.), Collins (R-Mass.), Lieberman (ID-Conn.), and Brown (R-Mass.) - The Information Technology Investment Act of 2011 - S.801. Our first MeriTalk Digital Markup gives you a sneak peek at the draft legislation so you can provide recommendations on how to make it better. Don’t be intimidated by the number of pages - double spaced and an easy read.

My Two Cents

Keeping my trap shut clearly isn’t a core competency, so I’ll start the bidding. Overall two thumbs up. Dig the carrot and stick at the end. Turning up the heat on the CIO. Terrific fidelity on gross deviance - 40 percent from the original baseline. $500,000 annual spend for major IT investment projects may be low - may drive too many critical projects to manage? Only significant concern, the exemptions. Need to ensure not to leave too many get-out-of-jail-free cards on the board.

Let’s face it, IT’s complicated. But, we certainly can’t give up on management. You have my two cents - what say we give the Senate a dollar’s worth of our thinking on change?

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Posted: 5/19/2011 - 6 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]

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Between Arnie’s revelations and DSK’s advances, it’s been a tough week for the service industry. And, while shorter on hanky panky, the outlook for Uncle Sam’s help ain’t very romantic. Torn by a series of tech trysts - cloud, data center consolidation, consumerization, mobile apps - seems the Fed/contractor marriage is coming unglued. Around the Beltway and across America, SIs are waking up to the prospect of the single life. There are two types of SIs in the future - those that shift and those that shrivel.

Hasta La Vista - Baby?

This is more than the cyclical ebb and flow of insourcing. And, it’s more than budget pressure. Though both compound the couple’s woes. The simple truth of the matter is they’ve grown apart. Cloud jilts custom development. Data center consolidation means less bedside care. Mobile apps will hang up on call centers. Even the Fort and Pentagon ghost was shot dead in Abbottabad. Uncle Sam doesn’t need the help - and pointedly can’t afford it.

I’ll Be Back?

As D.C. kicks contractors to the curb, is it heartbreak for everyone? Don’t be so silly. Uncle Sam will need highly skilled help to support slick new IT models - and pointedly the transitions. But, he’ll do more with less. Those SIs that focus on the high-skill areas and really differentiate will win and prosper. Those that try to stick to the past will fade away. And, the winners have to anticipate sharing the smaller pie with pure-play cloud vendors - Google, Amazon, Rackspace - as well as OEM/telco cloud players - Microsoft, IBM, HP, Oracle, Terremark. And, to add insult to injury, the new FAPIIS database will make it tougher for SIs to shake old bad relationships.


So, what does all this mean for D.C. - is it a new beginning or the beginning of the end? I’m thinking the former. A highly skilled labor pool and abundant capital will find new inspiration as corporate America stirs from its beauty sleep. If you don’t trust me, check in with the match makers at Carlyle...

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Posted: 5/9/2011 - 3 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]

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Move over Beatlemania. Mobilemania’s off the hook. Fab Four - iPhone, Droid, Blackberry, and Windows. Here’s my take on the mobilemania invasion. Pains me to say it - feel free to tweet.

Army focus groups. Demo 18-24. Web sites are Yesterday. If you don’t have a mobile app, nobody’ll go.  Mobile’s not hip, it’s required - apps Here, There, and Everywhere. Important to live A Day in the Life. Wow. At 44 I feel 64 - real Nowhere man.

Stranger in new world - Revolution. Phone’s not a phone. Steve Jobs making bank. Out with Bberry - in with iPhone and iPad - Revolution #1.

Get smart. Wireless world - challenges digital divide. We’ve never seen this growth before. Much more than talk and mail. iExplosion. Apps economy explosion. Android in passing lane. PCs in the pits. Transaction platform. Angry Birds rock out.

What does this mean for Uncle Sam? A lot. More than 2,400 Fed Web sites. Need mobile apps. The Prez is asking for them - EO 12862.

What’s the response? GSA’s leading the civilian charge. 48 apps. Good start. A lot more needed.

What’s the future? How’ll Uncle Sam pay for new mobile apps with no money? The Taxman ain’t popular. Perhaps new models? Why shouldn’t industry sponsor apps? IRS brought to you by Kleenex. Medicaid brought to you by AARP. brought to you by Nyquil. After all, we’re already selling off Metro stops in D.C. and toilets on I-95. Why shouldn’t industry build and charge for apps? TSA Clear and toll roads present clear precedents.

Gen Y’s mobilemania may be its biggest impact on Uncle Sam. They say that with tech advance, nothing’s sacred. Development and funding models need to change. Revolution #9. Let IT Be not good enough. Time to Twist and Shout. Baby You Can Drive My Car - just don’t text.

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Posted: 5/5/2011 - 1 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]

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As part of its data center decimation initiative, OMB lopped 137 off the server-farm census last week. There are many hard questions and decisions on the road ahead for the Federal data center community...

Did OMB's cuts take the total population from 2094 to 1957? Were these soft targets - word is many were antiques and server closets? What's the strategic path ahead for cutting closer to the bone - and what's the support infrastructure for Federal data center leads facing tough decisions? How can government and industry dialogue and exchange best practices?

Working together with GSA and NIST, MeriTalk established a new public-private collaboration platform - the MeriTalk Data Center Exchange - DCX. Launched three months ago, the exchange brings together Federal data center leads and industry experts to talk about the challenges and opportunities that lay ahead, such as:

  • How do you measure savings?
  • How do you cut power costs if you don't see the electricity bill?
  • How do you access best practices across government?
  • How to operationalize Open Table?
  • How do you compare service levels and pricing before and after consolidation?
  • What about lessons from private-sector consolidation?
  • How do you make the connection between consolidation and cloud?

The DCX is working on these and other initiatives - as directed by the community. Working groups building a best-practices cookbook. Developers working on a transactional portal - think eBay for data center space. We invite you to participate in the debate - help the government make better decisions by raising your voice at the MeriTalk Data Center on a Dime conference, May 19 at the Ronald Reagan Building.

Join Sonny Bhagowalia, the government-wide data center lead at GSA; as well as Bernard Mazer, CIO, Department of Interior and co-lead for data center consolidation on the CIO Council; for a lively debate on making sense of the mandate and measuring success. Don't miss sessions packed with Uncle Sam's data center consolidation all-stars, including leads from Army, DHS, Energy, FAA, NASA, NRC, State, and VA.

And, mark your calendar for the next meeting of the DCX, co-located at Innovation Nation at the D.C. Convention Center on August 23. Sure, there are many difficult decisions on the road ahead for Federal data center consolidation. Whether or not to participate in the new exchange is not one of them. Space at the MeriTalk Data Center on a Dime conference is limited. We don't have 2094 spots - register now to make sure you don't get cut from the list...

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