How the Federal IT Conversation Has Evolved in the Last Year

A look at the change in government technology, using GITEC as a gauge.

In the technology community, a year is an eternity, and a lot can happen in that time. Checking the GITEC Summit agenda each year is a good indicator of the prominent topics ion government IT. Some topics, like cloud computing and mobility, are likely to be discussed for years to come, while other topics will come and go.

In 2012, the focus of the GITEC Summit was shared services. Steven VanRoekel, federal CIO, was less than three weeks removed from the release of the shared services strategy and felt strongly enough to make it the topic of his keynote address.

This year, the summit’s theme is “Embracing Risk to Deliver Business Value.” Why such a heavy focus on risk? One word: sequestration.

Federal budgets have been tight for years, but sequestration threatens to trim the fat — if any remains — and force agencies to find even more innovative ways to deliver services and maintain security while keeping pace in a rapidly changing environment.

Here’s a chart comparing the discussion topics in 2012 and 2013:

  GITEC 2012 GITEC 2013
Opening Keynote Shared Services Acquisition
Keynotes The Business Case of Shared Services Embracing Risk in IT Management
  Get on the Team, Share with NIEM Program Accountability in Managing Risk
  Sharing of Terrorist Information  
Panels Framework for Success for Shared IT UC Moves to Private Cloud
  Case Study of Shared Services for Mission Delivery Risk of Moving to the Cloud
  CMS Shared Services Acquisition Risk and Rewards
  Government Innovation Revamping Mobility to Bring Results
  Mobile Shared Service Models Managing the Exchange of Electronic Health Records
  Performance Architectures: GPRA Modernization Act and the Future of Shared Services Infrastructure Risk
  Federal Managed Services “Tales from the Trenches” – Cyber Defense
  Cooking Up Data Center Savings Mitigating Risk to Achieve Success in the Cloud
    Best Practices For Avoiding Social Media Pitfalls

Interestingly, the shared services strategy outlined the need to do more with less. The same premise applies to agencies operating under the threat of sequestration. Here is an excerpt from the overview of VanRoekel’s shared services strategy:

Federal Agencies must innovate with less given current fiscal constraints, increasing mission requirements, rising customer expectations, and the ever-evolving landscape of IT. For Federal Agency Chief Information Officers (CIOs) this means that they must:

  • Deliver solutions faster, for less money, and with fewer resources;
  • Develop authoritative future-ready business and technology architectures / standards to guide investment; and
  • Take advantage of evolving technologies and methodologies to accomplish agency mission and support functions more efficiently, while also improving quality and flexibility.

This year’s discussions on mitigating risk when working with smaller budgets will cover almost exactly the same topics. While the chart above outlines different subtopics, the conversation over the past few years has focused on streamlining federal IT and finding ways to future-proof government initiatives. The technology often changes, but the challenges that guide the work of federal CIOs has not changed recently, and isn’t likely to in the near future.

Bookmark our GITEC 2013 page for videos and articles from the conference.

<p>iStockphoto/Thinkstock</p>

More On

Apr 18 2013