MeriTalk - Where America Talks Government
Steve O'Keeffe


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Posted: 9/28/2011 - 2 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]

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OMB OMG

Is Fed IT better after Kundra? Are cloud, data center, and cyber working? Where should Steven VanRoekel focus? As Fed IT makes it through year end, is Dell down and Amazon up? We put these questions and more to the Fed IT community at Innovation Nation on August 23. The new study, Over to You Mr. VanRoekel, gives the new Fed CIO a sense for his inheritance.
 
Kundra Kritique
 
Vivek gets a solid B. Seventy-one percent say he made Fed IT better - grading vision as his strong suit. But the “Cloud Kid” scored poorly in operations. Fifty-nine percent said his OMB failed to provide funding to fulfill mandates, 44 percent said it put forth conflicting mandates, and 41 percent faulted Kundra's OMB for setting unrealistic goals/mandates.
 
Cloud, Consolidation, Cyber Confusion
 
And, the vision/operations mismatch was a recurring theme. Cloud first - pardon the pun. Ninety-two percent say cloud is good for Fed IT, but only 29 percent are following OMB's mandated Cloud First policy. What are the cloud challenges? Sixty-four percent point to security - where's FedRAMP when you need it? - and 36 percent pointed to culture and budget as major impediments.
 
Data center consolidation second. Ninety-five percent approve. But, 70 percent say Uncle Sam won't cut 800 by 2015. Of note, 85 percent say there'll be no data center savings without new investment. Need I to get R - what a concept...
 
Cyber third. Nobody knows who owns Federal cyber security. The voting: other, 35 percent; White House, 14 percent; DHS, 14 percent; OMB, nine percent; don't know, eight percent; industry, eight percent; NSA, six percent; DoD, six percent. Come now, do we need to start a new Department of the Internet?
 
Please, Mr. VanRoekel
 
So, the overall take, Fed IT pros are up for change, but a bit fed up and confused - the beatings will continue until morale improves... Speaking to the new Federal CIO, Feds make three wishes. Sixty percent ask OMB to reduce the number of mandates and deconflict. Fifty-three percent ask OMB to reassess goals/timelines to make success attainable. And, 46 percent ask for an ear - suggesting OMB listen to feedback/counsel from IT operators.
 
AKA - 4 CIO 2B MVP vs OBE keep IT real.

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Posted: 9/22/2011 - 1 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]

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Bing Bong - Googlicious Government

The Yellow Pages are so 1990. When America wants something, we hit a search engine. But, if you’re the only game in town, there’s no need for SEO - or is there...? The second Uncle Sam at Your Service Study provides government with real citizen feedback from the checkout line. And, the timing’s good. It’s been five months since the Prez dropped Executive Order 13571, calling for agencies to streamline service delivery and improve customer service.
 
So, is Yankee Doodle dandy or are the people peeved? The answer is yes. Thirty-one percent of Americans are very satisfied with Federal customer service. No J.D. Power trophy here - but that stat is up from just 24 percent in last year’s study. Seventy-nine percent of Americans think Uncle Sam can do better - and they point to confusion as the number-one chafe - 86 the maze by simplifying that search. America also wants to access service via web, telephone, and face to face. Mobility and social media channels are hot buttons too. And, consistent with our modern approach, citizens want the option to opt in to get the information they want, faster. 
 
But it’s not all “dislikes.” Some agencies get two thumbs up. Social Security and Education - two front liners in a down economy - get high marks. More than half of customers report exceptional service. New government resources such as HowTo.gov and USASearch also strive to improve the experience. And, it’s enlightening to put government customer service in context. While Pennsylvania Avenue’s not perfect, satisfaction with private-sector customer service ain’t great either. Just 44 percent are very satisfied with Main Street customer service.
 
To get the full download on the second annual Uncle Sam at Your Service study, you don’t need to take a number. Sign up for the free webinar on Wednesday, September 28, at 1 p.m. EDT to hear from Martha Dorris, Deputy Associate Administrator, Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies, at GSA. Satisfaction guaranteed or your money back.

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Posted: 9/20/2011 - 18 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]

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Open Government Dead - Pass the Beer Nuts...

The date on the tombstone - September 15. Open gov that was shouted from the rooftops on Obama’s first day died last week with barely a whisper - far from the headlines. The Senate approps subcommittee slashed $11 million from the House allocation, already $15 million under FY2010 funding. Transparency advocates like Sunlight are openly mourning the passing. But, the real question here is, does anybody really care?

Let’s be honest, programs like Data.gov and USASpending.gov haven’t exactly lived up to the promise on the side of the tin. It’s the same old problem - GIGO and over promise. As for the IT Dashboard, could this be a great excuse to let it die with some grace as Vivek exits stage left? Created as a wall of shame to embarrass CIOs and their “cartel” buddies out of D.C., the dashboard is, and always has been, a joke. Why did Vivek trumpet it in every media interview? I politely pointed out that the emperor had no clothes in my Senate testimony in March of last year. Now, I’m being more direct.

But, don’t take it from me. If you want proof of the inadequacy of the data, take a look at Deltek’s business plans. As open gov and its implementers - OMB and GSA - promised to give America free, ubiquitous access to government data, Deltek paid $86 million for Input and Federal Sources. Now why would the ERP firm buy companies whose business models lay right in the path of the government data juggernaut? At the same time, Big Apple giant Bloomberg - a man that knows a thing about government - has invested millions in launching a data dashboard service for government and industry. If the government data was any good, who’d pay for the private sector translation?

As the Hill now cuts funds for open gov, the real questions we should ask are what did we get for our money so far and what will we get from this year’s budget? Let’s not bleat about approps not funding the programs - let’s salute the Hill for common-sense thinking and not throwing more of our good money after bad. Isn’t it right that an administration focused on finding and prosecuting contractor failure should drive some accountability inside? Now, about them Redskins...

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Posted: 9/13/2011 - 6 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]

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Change Something…
 
The definition of insanity. Assume the same behavior and expect a different outcome. So, we’re for change. That’s why we launched MeriTalk - and the Merit Awards on June 13. The Merit Awards aren't a CIO-stroking contest - aren’t black-tie soirees vulgar in an era of government austerity? We want to incent and recognize real change in IT's bottom line.
 
Yes, we're for change. That's why the Merit Awards are an open, global contest - to challenge the failing status quo. A $50,000 prize for the best idea to fix our government with IT. Funded by industry and judged together by government and industry. More than hollow platitudes about innovation - a very real incentive for new ideas.
 
I cut the first Merit Awards check on September 13. Congratulations to our winner Aung Gye of the Federal Highway Administration. Aung’s idea to set up a clearing house for agencies to pool resources is so simple, it’s brilliant. Why should Treasury buy a new van when Agriculture has a spare parked in the lot? Check out our five finalists to tune into other ideas to make D.C. better. Interesting that as everybody in D.C. piles on in attacking Federal employees, four of the five finalists are Federal employees. What a concept - perhaps the best people to fix government are those that know it best, as opposed to the next shower of appointees blown in with a new administration?
 

Now, here’s the rub. We’ve got five fantastic ideas to fix government with IT. Half of our judges are Feds. Congress is also chiming in. How do we stop the madness - and improve America’s outcomes? The challenge to OMB, GSA, Congress, and the White House - how do we take these ideas off the drawing board and put them into action? If we can’t do it, that $50,000 check will feel more like a tax bill than a down payment on our children’s future…

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