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While the weather’s tip top, the May 7 Senate Appropriations Subcommittee Hearing on Federal IT investments would have left Bill Murray with a chill. While the Ghostbuster suffered Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney, even he’d be scared by the déjà vu in D.C. For those who follow these things – the hearing sounded and tasted like last year’s hearing. Did OMB see its shadow – and if so, does that mean more accountability or six more weeks of IT left out in the cold?
This was the annual appropriator hearing on Fed IT spending. The questions here – is Fed IT's behavior appropriate, and will the Hill change its appropriation? Rather than simply report on who said what, we wanted to follow up with Senator Mikulski (D-Md.), the appropriations committee chair, to find out about next steps. Not to be inappropriate, but does the Hill plan to follow up on its comments – will we see any change in Fed IT appropriations?
The witness line up for the hearing included Federal CIO Steven VanRoekel and GAO IT director Dave Powner, as well as the administrators from GSA and OPM.
Read My Lips
To give you the net upfront, Senator Mikulski threw down hard in the hearing – she’s not happy about what she heard. And I quote – “We have spent billions of dollars on projects that have languished for years, only to be canceled or replaced with something else. This is inexcusable.”
Now You See IT, Now You Don’t…
Okay, now back to the stuff of the hearing. Pressed on IT savings, Steven VanRoekel said OMB has delivered $2.5 billion in savings from its PortfolioStat – and that we’ve already realized $1.9 billion in savings. To quote Cuba Gooding Jr. – Show me the money! But VanRoekel’s no Jerry Maguire. In this era of open government, OMB won’t release its CIO assessments. So, we don’t get to verify which agencies have realized savings, how they’ve achieved this, or where that saved money has been reprogrammed?
Too Big to Fail?
And, of course, the “savings” in Fed IT aren’t reducing the total IT spend – they’re being ploughed back into IT modernization. If government were a regulated industry, this type of accounting wouldn’t pass the smell test.
GAO Takes the Gloves Off
Dave “Rocky” Powner provided a reality check for the folks ringside. He hit VanRoekel with a series of rib shots – swinging hard at OMB’s $2.5 billion savings. “Based on our work, there are over 200 PortfolioStat initiatives that agencies are working on to eliminate at least $5.5 billion in duplicate spending.” Powner jabbed at the IT Dashboard – noting too many agencies have thrown in the towel on updates. Seems DoD’s listening to GAO. Here’s a DoD memo requiring components to do better on the Dashboard.
To Be Continued…
We followed up with Senator Mikulski’s office to get a sense of plans for next steps. We hope the Senator plans to take some real action, but know she’s a busy lady. Action needs to be had – there’s a reason why we don’t have a sequel to Groundhog Day.
50 First Dates
If there’s no accountability, then we’ll see no change – it’s 50 First Dates. And, speaking of dates, if there’s no enforcement, I wouldn’t bother putting next year’s Federal IT appropriations hearing on your calendar. Better to stay home and take in a good movie.
Walter Bigelow – Chief of IT Systems ATF&E – Mountain Man?
So, you think you know Walter Bigelow at ATF&E? Former Army, DoD, and NASA, he's the sober hand in Uncle Sam's most combustible IT shop. Well it's a long way from his new-fangled office in NE Washington, D.C. to the top of Mount Rainier in Washington state – but that's where Mr. Bigelow's heading, again. A real mountain man – not exactly the stereotype of a computer geek. Explains why Walter and Simon Szykman hang together.
Head in the Clouds?
Hunk of Burning Love or Hound Dog?
Elvis released "Hound Dog"on June 5, 1956. OMB picked the same date, 58 years later, for its FedRAMP deadline. Will it be a hunk or a howler?
The FedRAMP rockers – agencies, CSPs, and 3PAOs – who’ve invested millions in FedRAMP certifications, have Suspicious Minds. They’re All Shook Up over concerns that OMB’s not going to enforce the deadline – leaving agencies free to buy non-FedRAMP cloud solutions. And, those that bought the FedRAMP record, Crying in the Chapel.
Return to Sender?
MeriTalk chatted with OMB to understand EOP’s FedRAMP enforcement plans. According to OMB, “agencies have to be FedRAMP compliant, not CSPs.” OMB asserts that the deadline is designed to “put agencies on notice.” OMB acknowledged there needs to be more communication around what FedRAMP means.
A Little Less Conversation
Here’s the Q&A with OMB:
1. Can agencies still buy/specify non-FedRAMP compliant cloud services after the deadline?
Yes. But agencies need to get their CSPs into the process. But that does not mean the full GSA and JAB process. Agencies can certify their own CSPs – see HHS’ experience.
2. Will not having a FedRAMP A&A and/or being in the pipeline effectively close the government market to CSPs?
3. Will agencies have to stop using non-FedRAMP-compliant solutions?
4. How will OMB determine what CSPs an agency is using if the business office is buying those services around the IT function? Folks can and do buy cloud services on a credit card.
That’s a larger issue around oversight and CIO authorities.
5. Can you please specify how you will treat FedRAMP in your ongoing PortfolioStat sessions?
We cannot. This is a government-only process.
6. What happens if agencies ignore the FedRAMP compliance deadline?
OMB will work through normal oversight channels to identify an appropriate response.
7. How are you collaborating with DoD on cloud security certifications and this deadline?
Ongoing dialogue with DoD stakeholders. We engage with DoD via the JAB.
8. How will you factor the new Rev4 FedRAMP standards into your management plans?
You mean if an agency says we just did Rev 3 FedRAMP, do we have to do Rev 4? We do not have an answer for this question right now.
9. Other thoughts associated with the June 5th Deadline?
FedRAMP is a process, not a thing.
So, it’s Viva Las Vegas – careful about betting the farm on FedRAMP. If certification’s not required, those who’ve invested will be pissed. Those who haven’t, won’t bother. A lot of companies in California will scrap plans for FedRAMP. It’s going to make it harder for Federal leads to get their companies to take certification seriously.
Couple of additional thoughts. What happens to non-compliant CSPs already installed, that are not interested in investing to go through the FedRAMP process? Will agencies need to kick them to the curb? Who owns the responsibility at DoD now that Teri Takai has left the building? Will David DeVries pick up the guitar?
It’s Now or Never
The time for cloud is now. We urge OMB to take a stronger stance – and send the right message to agencies and industry. To help, MeriTalk is launching a new Federal Cloud Watch on the FedRAMP OnRAMP site. We’re tracking government procurements to see which agencies spec FedRAMP-compliant CSPs – and if new procurements comply with Cloud First. More soon.
We’re not the only folks interested. We have heard that members of Congress are keenly interested in this issue as well. The Cloud Computing Caucus Advisory Group will take a closer look at FedRAMP at the next Hillversation on May 20th at the Rayburn Building – register here.
It’s time to TCCB – Take Care of Cloud Business. Thank you, thank you – thank you very much.
J, P, G, or R? Do You Want to Know a Secret? It’s 50 years since Shea Stadium. She Was Just 17 – and so’s O’Keeffe & Company, MeriTalk’s sister organization. They Say It’s Your Birthday. So, we’re hosting the Fab 4 on May 15 at the State Theatre in Falls Church. You’re invited to Twist and Shout with us.
Know it’s still a few weeks away, but Tomorrow Never Knows. We’re offering you a Ticket to Ride. I am a Loser and I Don’t Want to Spoil the Party – here’s your chance to Please, Please Me by joining us from Across the Universe, Norwegian Wood, or Strawberry Fields.
Register here. It Won’t Be Long. Don’t believe those who say Hey, You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away. Here’s a real Nowhere Man saying I’m Happy Just to Dance With You. Even if it looks like I’m Only Sleeping.
Don’t Let Me Down. I am the Walrus And Your Bird Can Sing. All You Need is Love to get in. If you miss it, then Happiness is a Warm Gun.
So who’s my favorite Beatle? We Can Work It Out – which song is not like the others? Reserve your spot today – you might hear me play Love Me Do on the harp. Oh, did I mention we have a band?
The National Defense Authorization Act for 2012 requires GAO to provide DoD with an annual IT management physical. The components need to give blood, cough, and pee in a cup to ensure they're healthy on IT cost and schedule, as well as on track to deliver functionality and performance. GAO just released a new study – “Major Automated Information Systems (MAIS): Selected Defense Programs Need to Implement Key Acquisition Practices.”
The report looks at 15 of DoD's 42 MAIS – across Air Force, Army, DLA, and Navy/Marine Corps. If you're tracking DoD IT, the report's worth a read.
Fog of War
Only 13 of the 15 had cost information available – here's the chart. Of the 13, 11 experienced changes in cost estimates. Seven experienced increases – from seven to 2,233 percent. Four experienced decreases – from four to 86 percent. For example, Next Generation Enterprise Network (NGEN) Increment 1 dropped costs from $25.4 to $21.6 billion – due to competitive contracting. Two stuck to their original budgets.
All but one of the 15 had schedule information available – here's the chart. Thirteen experienced timeline shifts. Twelve slipped to the right – with delays from a few months to six years. One program will beat the delivery date.
Four MAIS couldn't deliver systems performance data. Of the remaining 11, eight did not meet their functionality targets. For those scoring at home, that's more than half.
GAO weighed risk on three MAIS. The Defense Health Agency's Theater Medical Information Program-Joint Increment 2 had an excellent risk bedside manner. The Navy's Global Combat Support System had blind spots in risk and mitigation planning – although it's starting to see more clearly. The Defense Logistics Agency's Defense Agencies Initiative program lacked robust risk categorization and management.
12 of 15 – Not Stellar
Net net, 12 of the 15 MAIS programs had cost, schedule, and/or system performance issues – five had challenges in all three areas. If this is how custom-build programs are performing, the question begs, where's DoD on cloud and shared services?
A Dose of Data?
If an apple a day keeps the doctor away – seems a storage array will pick you right up. That, according to the new Big Data Cure study just prescribed by MeriTalk. The report’s based on a survey of Fed execs working in agencies with healthcare missions.
So, let’s take a look at the chart. Sixty two percent say big data will improve patient care in the Department of Veterans Affairs and Military Health Systems. Sixty percent say big data will enhance their ability to deliver preventative care.
Out of the Lab
But, this is more than an academic exercise. One in three Feds say their agency has successfully launched at least one big data initiative. More vital stats – 35 percent use big data to improve patient care, 31 percent are pulling on big data to cut the cost of care, and 22 percent are successfully using big data to improve early detection.
Therapy Still Required
While Feds are upbeat about the big data prognosis, there’s clearly room for improvement. Only 34 percent have invested in IT systems to optimize data processing, just 29 have trained their IT teams to manage and analyze big data – and less than a third have educated their senior management on big data issues.
If big data’s big, it promises to be bigger with a little help from a new three letter acronym – M2M or machine to machine. While just 15 percent have implemented M2M, 53 percent plan to do so in the next two years.
With healthcare costs eating an ever greater percentage of the defense budget, big data may prove to be a critical new weapon in our arsenal. Read the study – it's a lot shorter than Gray's Anatomy.
Share and Share Alike?
My mother told me it was good to share my toys. Seems Uncle Sam can cut costs by sharing tech toys. That, according to a new MeriTalk study – Shared Services: Ready or Not?. The study's based on a survey of 138 Fed IT execs at the MeriTalk Cloud Computing Brainstorm in January. For the multitaskers, too busy to read the study, the takeaways are below.
GAO reports 777 supply chain systems and more than 600 HR systems strewn across the Fed IT playground. Someone's not sharing...
And the study puts the first numbers around the waste associated with Fed IT fiefdoms – $27.9 Billion. That's the savings from shared simplicity. That's about one third of the Fed IT budget.
Feds are in touch with the opportunity. Ninety six percent of survey respondents recognize the importance of shared services – and 72 percent say their agency's tracking shared services as a strategic initiative for the CIO Council.
Okay, so we know it's good to share, but who's doing it? According to Fed IT execs, just over half of agencies are using any shared services and 44 percent are providing shared services. Top of the list of shared services apps: help desk, MDM, and finance. But – and it's a big but – bear in mind, those shared services are only a fraction of those agencies' IT consumption diet.
Get a Plan, Stan
So, we know that redundancy is rampant. Feds know shared services will unlock savings. Why aren't we sharing more? It appears government-wide efforts are all at sixes and sevens. Just 40 percent of agencies have defined shared services goals and objectives. Only 32 percent have established service-level agreements. A paltry 16 percent have developed a financial model and chargeback system to deliver services to other agencies. Agencies call out procurement, security, culture, measurement, and infrastructure as key barriers to sharing the IT love.
First Things First
Cloud is clearly the pathway to shared services reality. While it certainly doesn't absolve the sharing sins, FedRAMP takes a swipe at the shared security shyness. The FedRAMP OnRAMP allows agencies to see which CSPs are FedRAMP approved, by what agencies – and which CSPs are currently in the pipe. Important stuff as we run at OMB's June FedRAMP deadline.
Play Nicely Together
And, the FedRAMP OnRAMP shows the value of government and industry playing well together – sharing information to accelerate change. What agencies need is a procurement platform and culture change to enable and measure progress. Perhaps a government-wide cloud broker that gets us out of solitary IT confinement?
It's less than two months to May 11th. No, that's not another OMB deadline – it's Mother's Day. When we're able to save $27.9 billion by sharing, seems she really does knows best. Perhaps send her a copy of the study with that bunch of flowers this year?
Big Five in Overdrive
Let’s change gears for this week’s circuit. Chance to step outside the Beltway and look under the hood in the mega-billion dollar state and local IT race. How’s transformation going – what’s fast and who’s furious?
If Uncle Sam’s modernization plans around cloud, data center consolidation, cyber security, big data, and mobility could use a tune up – seems the states are generating a lot of horsepower, but running into transmission issues. This according to a new MeriTalk study, the Big Five in Overdrive: Are State and Local Networks Ready?
Okay, let’s put the Big Five on the lift for a closer inspection.
Based on a survey of 201 state and local IT pros, the study tells us most agencies are revved up about the Big Five – everybody wants into the race. That said, 94 percent say their agencies are not completely prepared for the IT infrastructure impact. Fully 63 say the Big Five will cause network bottleneck risks. Eighty nine percent say they’ll need to upgrade network capacity to guard against traffic jams.
But, as the states move into the IT transformation passing lane, the network braking is just one of the concerns. Fifty nine percent note security woes and 44 percent worry about storage speed bumps.
So, how do we win this race? All eyes are on the driver’s seat. Fifty two percent of respondents question their leaders’ understanding of the Big Five’s impact on IT. State and local IT pros want better prioritization and coordination from leaders. They also call for budget to invest in network infrastructure and to standardize associated mapping.
If you’re not up for reading the study, tune in next Tuesday, March 25th at 2 p.m. EDT for the webinar. Wanda Gibson, CTO, Fairfax County, Virginia; Anthony Robbins, Vice President Public Sector, Brocade; and yours truly on the starters' grid. It should be an exciting race.
Big data is good. Curing cancer. Trapping terrorists. Avoiding Armageddon.
Cyber leaks are bad. There’s a mountain of evidence on that front – we’ll call it Snowdonia. Sorry to the Welsh in the audience.
But concentrating intelligence could put big data and cyber security at crossed purposes. So how do we juggle these chainsaws without making a bloody mess?
More Synergy than Static?
Hardly surprising, U.S.-CERT is blazing the cyber trail – utilizing centralized analytics to hex hackers. Far from mailing it in, the Postal Service leverages big data to protect PII, improve mail processing, and stamp out postal fraud.
More Talk than Trousers?
It’s fair to say agencies are at different places in the big data equation. Sure, a few of the cool kids are hanging 10, but most are still at or near zero. Leaders are stoked about the potential, but bumming about budgets. Feds lack big data infrastructure and policy. They need to start with the fundamentals – filtering and characterizing data. They need dashboards to integrate input from multiple analytic engines to get to business insight. And, we’ve heard this before...Uncle Sam needs more highly trained data scientists.
There's been hysteria about the grey tsunami since before I had grey hair. But, today seems Uncle Sam's IT is really drowning in a digital-drop-out deluge. By all reports, Fed IT execs line up to jump overboard from the USS ITanic.
And, it's not just grey beards – young IT leaders are pulling on life vests. Let's consider those in the lifeboats – Simon Szykman, CIO, Commerce; Casey Coleman, CIO, GSA; Anil Karmel, deputy CTO at Energy NNSA; Anmy Torres, Deputy Division Chief, Cyber Acquisitions, Air National Guard; Major Linus Barloon, Chief of Cyber Operations at the White House – the list goes on... Let me know who I'm missing. It'll be interesting to try to compile a full manifest.
OPM – SOS?
Why the Sea Change?
Truth is, our best and brightest Feds know the answers to Uncle Sam's IT scurvy won't come from inside. Here's hoping those execs stay engaged in the community. That said, a complete mutiny's not the answer – somebody needs to skipper the ship.
We need a new initiative to boost Fed IT morale. If we fail to recruit now, Uncle Sam's IT infrastructure may capsize. Considering the OPM data, I'd recommend agencies open up jobs to non Feds – and lower their seniority expectations or boost compensation. Something's got to give. FITARA's a start – but we need to chart a new course to reach dry land.
Again, let us know of other Fed IT execs that have announced plans to jump ship. Let's get a better sense for the problem so we can chart a tenable course forward.
No Such Thing as a Free Lunch?
Also, mark your dance card to attend the Mobile Work Exchange Town Hall Meeting on April 10th at the D.C. Convention Center. Join more than 1,000 Federal mobility leaders. We'll serve up the final Telework Week numbers. Stimulating food for thought. Make your reservation today.
Hats Off to GSA on FedRAMP
FedRAMP has been around for a while – and there's a good bit of confusion. You can read the manual – but at 49 pages and growing, it's not exactly a page turner. There are three flavors of approved FedRAMP CSPs. So far, we think we have 11 cloud service providers – 10 industry and USDA. OMB's deadline for mandatory FedRAMP for all government cloud services takes effect in June of this year. There is ample opportunity for better communication among agencies using and issuing authorizations.
We expect heavy traffic on the FedRAMP OnRAMP.
Look forward to meeting you this Thursday at the Rayburn Building.
Uncle Sam AWOL?
Between FISMA, Continuous Monitoring, HSPD-12, et al – Feds are adopting a belt-and-suspenders approach to security. And, if that wasn't enough, Snowden's taught the Prez about DLP.
But, there's no point in locking the door and leaving the windows wide open – right? A new study from the Mobile Work Exchange, MeriTalk's sister organization, shows Uncle Sam's mobility Achilles' heel. This study is based on data Feds input into the Secure Mobilometer.
I'll try to keep this short so you can read this on those unsecured iPhones and droids – you know the ones you keep in your other pocket...
So, here's the skinny on Feds' mobile security from the study:
And, before you jump on the Fed bashing bandwagon, please note, Feds did better than their private-sector counterparts who took the test.
New Year's Resolutions?
Swimming pools saturated. Treadmills trampled. Burgers biteless. Yes, it's early January – and as we push away from holiday excess and New Year's hangovers, everybody's resolved to do better in 2014.
With Thanksgiving safely in the rearview mirror, it's that time of the year again. No, not Santy. But, whether you believe in social media or not, MeriTalk's coming out with the Federal CIO naughty or nice list. The second annual sCIOal Circle study rates Fed CIOs' social skills.
And, some added bonuses in your stocking this year. First, we broadened the reach to look at Deputy CIOs. Second, we expanded the scope from the big three – LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. This year's study looks at IT leaders’ participation in GovLoop. Last, but not least, we've racked and stacked our ratings against commercial data. How do our scores map against Feds’ Klout scores – and how does Fed CIO social volume compare with their counterparts in the Fortune 250?
A quick read in on the methodology. It's pretty easy, really. Social media's an open book – mostly. So MeriTalk looked at the major social media platforms to understand if Fed IT decision makers have a presence – and if so, how actively they are engaged. More accounts and more activity means more points.
Just like last year – GSA's Casey Coleman and ATF&E's Rick Holgate are the hottest Fed CIOs – each scoring 11 points. Next up, its Shawn Kingsberry of the Recovery Board and Bob Brese from Energy – both huge climbers from last year, where they ranked in the middle of the pack. Honorable mentions to Frank Baitman of HHS, Mike Wash of NARA, and Richard McKinney at DoT. OMB's Steven VanRoekel is the big slider – his sCIOal Circle ranking drops from second in 2012 to the number-12 spot this year.
And, to give you a sense for how our Fed CIOs rank against the big dogs in social media – as measured by Klout – only Casey, Rick, Sean, Bob, and Steven VanRoekel hit it. To provide scale, President Obama scores 99 on Klout. Justin Bieber scores 95. Steven VanRoekel has a Klout score of 50.
And, doesn't everybody know that it's not all about the CIOs? So this year, MeriTalk took a look at the Deputy CIOs. Sonny Hashmi at GSA's in pole position. Joyce Hunter at USDA's in second. Deborah Diaz at NASA, Kevin Cooke at HUD, and Larry Gross at Interior place three, four, and five, respectively.
LinkedIn vs. Twitter vs. Fortune 250.
The first place to look for Fed CIOs in social media is LinkedIn. Eighty-two percent of CIOs have LinkedIn accounts versus 34 percent who have Twitter accounts. Interesting to compare Fed CIOs' LinkedIn adoption versus their Fortune 250 counterparts – 82 versus 66 percent.
Okay, Twitter's not as big as LinkedIn. Thirty-four percent of CIOs have Twitter accounts versus just 10 percent of their Fortune-250 counterparts. But, here's a confusing story. The number of Fed CIOs on Twitter increased over last year, but the total Fed CIO Tweet volume declined over last year. Another twist, overall agency tweeting is up – every agency, but the CIA, now has a Twitter account.
And, here's some interesting insight, who are Fed CIOs following on Twitter? The answer: one another. But also news and analysis sources like FCW, GCN, Gartner, and MeriTalk.
As Facebook becomes part of the S&P 500, its stock as a communications vehicle to reach Fed CIOs declines. Just 26 percent – 10 of 38 – of Fed CIOs had publicly searchable Facebook accounts. Of these, just three are actively and publicly posting. The net, Fed CIOs don't want people to use pictures of their families as sales tools against them – how is your daughter and isn't your dog a cutie?
Interesting insight on GovLoop. Steve Ressler's done the best job of building a social platform for government – the site boasts 100,000 users. But, seems Fed IT's not feeling the awesome. While 26 percent of Fed CIOs have a GovLoop account, not one has signed onto the network as of September 2013.
That's the final cup for 2014. Wishing you all a safe, warm, and joyous holiday season. Here's another link to the study if you need something to read by the tree. We'll put another kettle on the stove in January.
DHS Cyber and the Dentist Chair
I'm not much on going to the dentist. Perhaps it's a cultural thing? The waiting. The drilling. The fibs about flossing. The chopper doc's just not my thing. And, if IG reports are like visits to the dentist for your average Fed exec, these exams are like root canals for Fed CISOs. So, when I cracked the November 21 IG Evaluation of DHS' Information Security Program, I feared halitosis, cavities, decay, and, dare I say it, gingivitis...
Cap or Crown?
But wait. Little here to set my teeth on edge. Reading the exec summary in the waiting room makes me feel better about the pearly whites. DHS IG's initial sound bites:
"DHS continues to improve and strengthen its information security program" – good job, fewer cavities.
"During the past year, DHS drafted an ongoing authorization methodology to help improve the security of the Department's information systems through a new risk management approach. This revised approach transitions the Department from a static, paperwork-driven, security authorization process to a dynamic framework that can provide security-related information on demand to make risk-based decisions" – better job brushing and flossing.
"DHS has also taken actions to address the Administration's cyber security priorities, which include the implementation of TIC, continuous monitoring, and strong authentication" – better nutrition and exercise support better overall wellness.
But who gets out of the chair Scot free? IG does point to five areas for improvement. But they’re not recommending oral surgery, or even braces.
Some systems with no ATOs. Some missing POAMs. Some missing security configuration baselines. More attention needed in incident detection and analysis, training, account and identity management, as well as contingency planning. Continue to work to complete in TIC and implementing PIV compliance.
I've been called cheeky – and yes, by some, sometimes overly critical. While DHS cyber security still has work to do, it's great to see Jeff Eisensmith and his team headed in the right direction. Also great to see a positive relationship between IG and department. Nice to have something to smile about in government IT.
Here's that link again – reading for the waiting room. Now, what's the number for my dentist...?
Big Data Bling?
This ain’t no Robin Hood story. As Uncle Sam reels from the recession, street rats are becoming fat cats – and taxpayers are serving up the sardines. Get these fishy numbers. One woman, Rashia Wilson, pocketed $11 million in fraudulent tax rebates. IRS paid out on 1.5 million fake tax claims in 2011 – sending 655 refunds to one address in Lithuania. In 2010, IRS sent 4,900 refunds to five addresses in the U.S. You have to read this week’s Economist. Here’s the shakedown – consider this an overweight retweet.
Rake in Recipe?
Start with identity theft. Three every second in America – that’s 12.6 million heists per year. Then mix in tax-refund fraud. Americans file 145 million returns each year – three quarters ask for rebates. Next, you go to a store and set up a prepaid debit card. You don’t need a bank account. The government pays refunds directly on this platform – and it leaves no trace. And, there you have the perfect recipe for Stolen Identity Refund Fraud – SIRF.
Getting Tough on Drugs?
Defrauding the Feds is replacing drug trafficking – as gangs log off the streets and onto the Internet. Let’s get real – it’s higher margin, lower risk, and less time if you get collared. But, even jail time’s no deterrent. IRS caught 170,000 fraudulent tax claims filed from inside prison – it’s anybody’s guess how many other claims slipped through the bars.
Cure Worse than the Disease?
And, SIRF’s not the only fraud game in town. Consider Medicaid and food stamps. After the website misfire, the rush to make the Affordable Healthcare Act more accessible is going to open us up to all kinds of new scams. Hungry for a good story? The state of Florida caught one woman applying for food stamps in all 50 states.
Big Data to the Rescue…
But, here’s the good news. Fed, state, and local agencies are getting smarter about detection. Seems ignorance isn’t bliss. We’re heat mapping data to immediately identify suspicious concentrations. We’re using data mapping tools like Experian, LexisNexis, and Equifax to flag coincidences – multiple claims from the same address. Three cheers for Joe Hungate and his colleagues at TIGTA.
Big Data promise is electric in a down economy. Invest in these systems and watch immediate exponential RoI – while catching criminals. Talk about return on political capital…
As for Miss Wilson, the first lady of tax fraud, Big Data got her number. She’s in the pen doing 21 years. But, maybe we didn’t need Big Data to catch this smart criminal. She boasted about her exploits on Facebook – posting pictures of herself holding wads of Uncle Sam’s cash.
Seem like an easy way to make a bundle? My advice – don’t try this at home.
Middle Child Syndrome…?
I’m in the middle. I wore my brother’s hand-me-downs. I had to sit between my brother and sister on road trips. PaaS is the middle child in the Fed cloud family. Stuck between IaaS and SaaS, all too often, he’s overlooked by his Uncle Sam.
At a time when government IT program clangers are dinner conversation across America, maybe it’s time to bounce the little fella on his uncle’s knee? So, the timing of MeriTalk’s new study, "PaaS or Play? Cloud's Next Move," is perfect as we bring our families together to talk turkey.
The study tells us Uncle Sam can carve $20.5 Billion in savings by developing and testing new apps in the cloud.
Based on a survey of Fed IT execs, the study provides new insight on our dysfunctional Fed app development family. The average application development process takes three and a half years. Forty-one percent of Feds say their agency’s applications are outdated and 77 percent say new app development is vital to agency mission success. And, here’s the evil stepparent, 50 percent say government’s missing out on benefits due to contractor lock in.
Since Sliced Bread…
The study highlights PaaS' potential to rain down benefits Inside and Outside the Beltway. Ninety-two percent say PaaS is vital to broader cloud transition, 90 percent say it’s key to FDCCI, 73 percent link it to big-data rollout, 69 percent flag it as mobility mobilizer, and 42 percent say it’ll improve security. And, slicing to the business issue that thwarts OMB’s big five super programs, 79 percent link PaaS to shared-service adoption.
Are We There Yet?
So if 95 percent of Feds dig PaaS, where are we on implementation? Disappointingly, just 12 percent of Feds say they’re using PaaS today. "Why?" I hear you cry. Here’s cloud’s crazy aunt in the closet again – 67 percent point to security as the spoiler. But, folks who tasted the PaaS pie give it yum-yum reviews. Far from a turkey, 83 percent of PaaS pilgrims say they sailed across the cloud transition with no fear of the Mayflower springing a leak.
Guessing PaaS will become an increasingly appetizing cloud-menu option. Like me, PaaS may be the punk kid, but sometimes the punks rock.
As comrade Snowden cuddles up with papa Putin, Uncle Sam’s cyber security is feeling the chill. If it wasn’t for Sebelius’ sniffles, cyber would be the number-one Fed IT ailment. So, the timing for the new MeriTalk Cyber Security Experience study is healthy. It gets inside Feds’ heads, points to protection vs. productivity pressures – and hints at a prescription for a cure.