At the heart of artificial intelligence (AI), robotic process automation (RPA), and other emerging technology implementation for the Department of Energy (DoE), National Science Foundation (NSF), and General Services Administration (GSA) is sharing innovation, considering change management, and understand the business problems at hand, experts from the organizations said today.

Speaking today during ACT-IAC’s Digital Transformation Summit 2021, CIO and Chief Data Officer at NSF Dorothy Aronson, Deputy CIO at DoE Pamela Isom, and GSA CIO Dave Shive all spoke about their agency’s successes with emerging technologies and what opportunities to expect in the future.

Isom said that utilizing automation for DoE was in part determining how to distribute energy more equitably and affordably. For example, geospatial AI helps determine which communities need the most help. It is not with hurdles, however, and Isom said it’s important to think about the change management aspect of building and acquiring new solutions.

“It’s really important to think about the change management, which is so huge,” said Isom. “We can come about with this wonderful solution and it can be fabulous. And if we dropped the ball when it comes to the execution which means, you know, do the customers know that this is coming? Are they prepared for the change? So, that’s that customer excellence. If that customer experience and excellence is missing, then it’s going to have an adverse impact on the idea itself.”

The future for emerging technologies for DoE may lay in applied data science and quantum computing, Isom adds, and that more ideas will evolve from embracing innovation.

Aronson mentioned during the panel that sharing innovations across the Federal government and discovering ways for equitable communication in a hybrid working environment will be essential for emerging technology. She also shared Isom’s prediction of data science playing a future role in emerging technologies.

“I agree completely with data science being a critical component of future IT,” said Aronson. “I would like to see IT become more invisible and that the outcomes – just like RPA and data analytics – go into the hands of the customers with business knowledge so that we don’t have to do as much knowledge transfer between the customer with the problem and solution, because we can lose a lot in the translation.”

For GSA, Shive said that the agency seeks to “zero down” on what’s most important when overcoming emerging technology implementation hurdles and not to go about “reinventing the wheel.”

“if you want to take a bold step into AI to solve the problems of government, don’t feel like you need to create something from scratch,” said Shive. “All you have to do is look to the medical community to know that AI is deeply embedded in it and very impactful there. Turn those technologies and those capabilities on to the biggest areas that we’re trying to solve in government: climate change, the response to COVID-19, racial disparity and equity, and other things like that.”

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.
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