MeriTalk - Where America Talks Government
Steve O'Keeffe

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Posted: 4/29/2012 - 1 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]


15 Minutes of Fame 

Trading the cup for the pint glass this week. Please join me and the D.C. IT community in a toast to O’Keeffe & Company’s 15-year anniversary. Everybody’s welcome. 

And, if you want the spotlight, grab 15 minutes. Pick your tune and warm up those pipes for our karaoke contest - or simply prop up the bar and play the paparazzi. 

Hope to see you on Thursday evening at Ireland’s Four Provinces in Falls Church.  Stop in for 15 minutes - stay all night.

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Posted: 4/20/2012 - 2 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]

Cloud Ch-Ching 

Senators Brown (R-Mass.) and Carper (D-Del.) don’t care for smoke and mirrors. They’re looking for the straight skinny on cloud at the MeriTalk Cloud Computing Brainstorm on April 25. The questions of the day. How much has the tax payer saved since OMB placed its big bet in 2010? What’s the potential for cloud to blow up the cost and flexibility limitations of today’s losing government IT equation? How can we learn from one another to accelerate the path to savings?
Attend to hear from Senator Brown; Senator Carper; Richard Spires, CIO DHS; and Mike Wash, CIO NARA. But, this ain’t just a Federal thing - states dig cloud too. We’ll hear from John Letchford, Commonwealth CIO Massachusetts; and Jim Sills, CIO Delaware. And, last but by no means least, we’ll hear from industry - after all, MeriTalk is all about public-private collaboration to improve government IT outcomes. Our all-star lineup includes speakers from Google and Microsoft - yes, we decided to put them on separate panels - as well as EMC and IBM.
We’ve been chasing the cloud savings numbers for some years. MeriTalk launched the Cloud Savings Calculator in February 2010. According to real IT budget numbers Feds have entered into the calculator, we could have saved between $2.1 and $3.3 billion by clouding steady-state programs, and wait for it - between $25.3 and $32.8 billion by clouding new IT investments over three years. That’s a lot of hamburgers - at the most aggressive, that’s $36.1 billion, with a B, in three years. So, even though you may recoil from “hype halitosis” associated with cloud, with these kind of savings in play it’s really worthwhile handing out the mouthwash and saddling up for another ride in the cloud corral. We all know IT budgets ain’t getting any bigger next year.
We’ve got a full afternoon on April 25. Starting before the Brainstorm, we kick off with the first meeting of the MeriTalk Cloud Computing Exchange at 11:30 a.m. at the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill. Stefan Leeb, cloud computing program manager at NOAA, will talk about the weather guys’ cloud-mail implementation. Then other Feds share their cloud experiences in the first of an ongoing series of quarterly roundtable discussions. It’s all about exchanging best practices to get to the cloud.
Next, we cross the road to the Capitol Visitor Center for the Cloud Computing Brainstorm - kick off at 2:30 p.m. with remarks from the Senators. Then the two government and industry panels.
We’re currently in the field with a survey to get answers to the Senators’ key questions:
  • How much has Uncle Sam saved with cloud?
  • Is Cloud First working?
  • What apps have agencies moved to the cloud?
  • What's the cloud quotient two years from now?
  • What are the biggest cloud road blocks?
  • Who inside agencies is opposing? 
And, here's the “$64,000 question” - the 2013 Federal IT budget is $78.9 billion. What will Uncle Sam spend in 2016? Okay, that’s a lot of questions.
The Senators want to hear from you take the survey. Look forward to seeing you on the 25th.
Warning. Cloud will draw a crowd - space is limited. Forecast calls for clouds with a strong chance of savings.

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Posted: 4/11/2012 - 6 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]

 That Ain’t PC 

Sitting at the Fed 100 a fortnight ago. A black-tie gala for doing more with less - always makes me smile…
Nice program Ms. Armstrong. But, the face sorely missing from the mug shots? The iPad. Hasn’t Steve Jobs’ baby done more to transform the face of Federal IT than any CIO? More popular than Thin Mints, these thin clients are more than an IT treat. They’re the flavor of the century with every cabinet secretary in government.
But, is the iPad good for IT? It’s certainly giving CISOs across government heart burn. So, what’s ahead for the iPad and Uncle Sam? Is the PC dead - is Intel outside?
Well, a recent MeriTalk study - Mobile Powered Government - provides insight on the Federal post-PC productivity landscape. The net up front, Fed IT pros predict mobility has the potential add $2.6 billion to Federal workforce productivity per year in the near future.
Dropping the lbs
Feds say tablet use will triple by 2013 - from seven to 19 percent of the workforce. As telework and mobility become SOP, Feds predict adding more than half a million tablets and some 355,000 smartphones in the next two years. According to Pew, tablet and ereader ownership doubled in December 2011.
Non PC
Like the mainframe of yore, the PC is looking vulnerable. Forty-nine percent of Fed IT pros see PCs as an anchor to Uncle Sam’s productivity. Fifty-one percent say not having tablets and smartphones could impair government’s ability to recruit and retain top talent.
Clouding the Issue
What better way to break the traditional app delivery paradigm? Sixty-four percent of Feds see desktop from the cloud as a viable solution for their agency and 43 percent agree that it will simplify remote access. But if mobile’s appetizing, agencies need to sweeten their mobile offerings. Sixty-three percent of agencies are using or assessing the use of mobile applications, but only 17 percent say employees use agency-developed applications.
Angel or Devil?
But is the iPad a boon or a boil for Fed IT operators? How do we go about securing these devices - 78 percent of Fed IT pros report mobile security concerns? What happens to downloaded government data if people are careless with their toys? How do we say no when the cabinet secretary says yes?
Hue’s on First?
Oh, and what about the Trade Agreements Act? How’s the iPad contraband on GSA Schedule but kosher on SEWP?

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Posted: 4/4/2012 - 15 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]

Healthcare Hike

Four deadly conversation sins. Sex, politics, religion - and now healthcare.
Supreme Court or no - here’s my take. Our healthcare provider’s hiking our rates 22 percent. My first reaction - to tell the provider to take a hike.
What’s the point of having insurance if you can’t afford to use it? Just like automotive and homeowner insurance, these policies are becoming a racket - where the impact on your premiums means you can’t afford to claim.
Love or hate Obamacare, something’s got to be done. Healthcare cost is eating American business alive. Corporations can’t hike our rates to customers, and it’s wrong to squeeze our employees. So, the business gets caught in the middle.
Here’s my prescription for the cure:
1.     Profit Motive vs. Hippocratic Oath: We need to get over the fact that healthcare is going to be a regulated industry. Laissez-faire can’t run free here.
2.     Rights vs. Wrongs: We need to get over the “encroachment” on people’s right to choose. We all need to opt in or out of buying healthcare. If we opt out, we need to sign a waiver that says we will not get healthcare - and we need to live with the consequences as a society. And, that’s no fun.
Is it unreasonable to require all drivers to carry automotive insurance? Why should people be allowed to travel on the road of life hoping that they never get into an accident?
3.     Tech vs. Tonic: We need to stop talking and start transforming. EHRs are coming online but, alone, offer nowhere near a complete cure. The future - in terms of outcomes and controlling costs - is personalized and predictive medicine. And for that, we need to think big, as in gaining control over and yielding insight from healthcare’s largely untapped big data.  
Healthcare is at the center of our economic viability. If we don’t fix this, we’ll see American businesses and jobs take a hike.

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