The Federal IT Report Card

09.21.2012

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Written by Tod Tompkins, VP of Federal Sales, North America

This week, Federal News Radio (WFED) released a special report, “The Obama Impact: Evaluating the Last Four Years.” In addition to detailed stories and analyses, the report showcases a dashboard evaluating 23 federal initiatives. Tuesday, the WFED team tackled technology.

The report praised the Administration for naming a U.S. Chief Information Officer (CIO) and U.S. Chief Technology Officer (CTO), as well as the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) direct approach to discussing the inadequate state of federal IT. The report then delved into the following issues: cybersecurity, health IT, information sharing, IT reform and open/transparent government.

I would like to discuss IT reform. WFED gave IT reform a green light, defined as “effective.” The report stated three reasons why IT reform got the green light, 1) major IT investments received a green light on performance.gov, 2) the issuance of OMB’s cloud computing strategy and the Digital Government strategy and 3) the Federal CIO Council released cybersecurity workforce guidance. I agree that the federal government has made significant strides in IT reform over the past four years. However, I believe we need to take a step back and address the federal government’s significant investments in legacy systems over the past decades, over numerous Administrations – and determine how we best migrate or modernize these systems to meet the mission and serve our citizenry – especially in our current budget environment. Buzz terms like cloud, mobility and social government seem to dominate the technology discussion, but we need to ensure our mission-critical systems are maintained and evolve to meet the new data-heavy needs of users.

Whether sequestration comes to pass or not, there is complete concurrence across political parties that budgets need to be reduced across government. Federal leaders need to evaluate their current systems and talk to industry leaders to determine how we can extend current systems and missions to improve and reduce costs before we tackle some of these more progressive and budget-intensive tech trends. Do you agree? Connect with us in the comments section below, on Facebook or Twitter.

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