In December, the Office of Management and Budget outlined a 25-point plan for IT reform. The plan centered certain themes, such as strengthening IT project management and oversight of major initiatives.
“My initial reaction was it’s very practical,” said Joe Moye, CEO of Capgemini Government Solutions, in an interview In Depth with Francis Rose’ Industry Chatter series.
However, Moye added that some of the recommendations are easier said than done. For example, the OMB plan advocates compartmentalizing deliverables.
In a major system deployment, you can’t always compartmentalize into bite-sized chunk, but I think there are in many, many cases — probably across all of the programs if you were able to dissect them in our government — opportunities to deploy functionalities quicker, opportunities to not focus on getting 100 percent of the functionalities when 90 percent will do the job, opportunities to provide better quality assurance and accountability early in the cycle of these programs.
One of the major challenges of government is “honing in on the true requirements. Moye added:
I think some of the processes that our government executes on tend to be very onerous as it relates to requirements gathering — they’re very lengthy, they’re not iterative by nature, they’re not visual by nature. Users today want to be able to visualize what it is they’re describing that requirement to be, and we’ve typically written it down on a piece of paper, put it into on a form, achieved a check in the box for the process and, when it gets development, lo and behold, it’s not what I was looking for.”
OMB is now trying to bust the myth that agencies cannot talk to potential vendors before the request for proposal. The government, however, is not always tapping into the available resources and best practices, Moye said.
“In this age of visualization, of innovation and social media, there’s so much more available in driving out the requirements process to a level where your percentage of accuracy goes up radically,” Moye said.
Moye also applauded OMB’s cloud-first policy, saying, “I don’t think there’s any question that cloud and virtualization will have a tremendous place in the reduction of cost and the improvement of efficiency across our government.”
But he added a caveat, “Now, the why and how are the six-million dollar question.”
Agencies that want to adopt cloud-first cannot simply deploy the cloud across all applications, he said. They have to address the “usability question,” Moye said.
“The big hurdle for us is to not approach cloud in the typical siloed fashion,” he said.
One of the most obvious ways to adopt cloud computing is in email. The challenge here for agencies will be to find cost savings through combining infrastructure across departments, Moye said.
“When I say it, it seems so logical, but as you and I both know, working from department to department is a challenge.”
But, he added, “it would be illogical that we’d let the legacy boundaries, if you will, to impede progress.”
Francis Rose is the host of In Depth, which airs weekdays from 4-7 p.m. on 1500 AM in the Washington, DC metro area and online everywhere. Francis has covered all three branches of the federal government as a broadcast journalist since 1998. He joined Federal News Radio in 2006, and launched In Depth in 2008 as a daily show focused on connecting federal executives to the information they need to do their jobs better.