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Federal News Countdown – February 1st

February 3rd, 2013 · No Comments · CIO, government 2.0, technology, telework

I was, to my continual amazement, invited back again to be on the Federal news Countdown, hosted by Francis Rose, on WFED, on the AM dial at 1500.

During the show two guests go over their top three Federal news stories of the week, starting with their third most important, then their second and finally their most important story. The other guess this time was Larry Allen, http://www.allenfederal.com/. Larry is a long-time industry expert on acquisition and a good person. Having been on this particular show a number of times, this one was particularly fun to do.

It can be heard here, http://www.federalnewsradio.com/86/3215767/Federal-News-Countdown-Mobility-Section-508-update-and-sequestration-worries.

My three articles:

3rd, DoD moves meetings online, but IT systems can’t keep pace. 


There are both budget pressures and also embarrassing news reports of inappropriate spending going on at conferences that are reducing Federal travel budgets. The impact at DoD is that greater numbers of meetings are now being conducted on-line, often with video streams that make large demands on their IT networks. Not surprisingly the networks are being overwhelmed.

The lesson learned is that when considering mobile delivery of services, in this case, audio and video meetings to distributed locations, one has to look at the system design and implementation as well as the services themselves. Otherwise good intentions will lead to a less than optimal result.

2nd, State CIOs eye enterprise IT, more federal flexibility


NASCIO, the National Association of State Chief Information Officers, put out a report discussing 2013 federal policy priorities. In my opinion, it is well worth reading. I would point out just two of the variety of points they make along with their five recommendations.

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First, I pull a remarkable quote from their request to ‘modernize regulations and guidance’:

“The foremost barriers to state innovation and implementation of an enterprise approach are due to the inconsistent interpretation and application of federal programmatic rules …”

The lesson here is that historically the interaction between Federal and State IT efforts has been inconsistent and program focused. An example of this is the very strong links between EPA and states associated with environmental data. This did not come about because of any broad Federal/state initiative but rather because that specific program was enhanced by the integration.

Federal law and regulations have always impacted state governments but the size of the impact and the importance of a coherent government-wide approach has increased significantly. The Affordable Care Act is just one, albeit very large, example of how important this issue has become.

The second item I emphasized during the show was NASCIO’s 4th recommendation, “Support the Adoption and Expansion of the National Information Exchange Model” (NIEM). This is not the first time I have brought up the issue of NIEM and the role of the Federal Government in setting data interchange standards.

It is often less ‘sexy’ than shutting down data centers and the latest craze du jour, but in the long time coherent data sharing is likely to have a much more significant impact. One additional advantage is that unlike many policy decisions, establishing a data standard is likely to be ‘sticky’, once defined and working it is unlikely to be changed back.

1st, Mobility Has Big Impact On IT

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This article discussed an Accenture study of current plans by IT leadership relating to implementing mobility solutions.

Beyond the fact that mobility is an interesting topic when discussing Federal government service provisioning and operation, there was one particularly interesting result that Accenture found: the percentage of those planning to implement mobility solutions in developing countries was much higher than in developed countries.

Though counter-intuitive,  the reason for this is obvious. Developing countries have less wired infrastructure so they are forced to consider wireless, mobile implementations for everything. In developed countries, it is possible to use the much more available wired infrastructure.

The broader lesson is that the more well-established an IT program the less likely they will turn to mobile implementations unless they have to. They will have to. While it would be better to do so with planning as opposed to being forced, the reality is that many will do so only slowly.

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