By Dick Stark
On Thursday, October 20, RightStar and BMC sponsored a Breakfast briefing at the Willard: “Digital Enterprise Management: Government in a Web-Driven World.” The seminar featured a panel discussion of several government IT executives. Topics consisted of federal cloud strategies, digital-first workplace, big data, security, and legacy software. I presented the final keynote, “Finding Business Value with Digital Enterprise Management.” Panelists included: Dr. Leslie Perkins, Deputy CTO, US Air Force, Tony Summerlin, Special Advisor to the CIO, FCC, and Paul Morris, Acting CIO, TSA. Here is a short summary.
Cloud. Tony Summerlin, a self-proclaimed Cloud evangelist, is pushing to go 100% Cloud “cold turkey.” Indeed, he has already moved more than 40% of the FCC’s applications in the Cloud with applications like Office 365. FCC, with an IT staff of 36 FTEs and 200 contractors, has sponsored more FedRAMP vendors than any other agency. Tony also moved his agency’s datacenter to the cloud (really West Virginia). Both DHS and the Air Force are also interested in Cloud applications, but have received some internal push-back due to security considerations.
Security. With more than 63,000 employees, TSA’s Paul Morris pointed out that cyber security is just as important to DHS as fighting terrorism, and is “an important part of every major decision by the agency.” At the Air Force, according to Dr. Perkins, cyber security is extremely hot, and role-based access would go a long way in solving security challenges, But, she stated, “no one wants to do the hard boring stuff.”
Digital-First Workplace, or what Gartner refers to as social, mobile, accessible, and information-driven work, also generated an interesting discussion., specially in regard to legacy applications, Tony Summerlin’s suggestion was “rip and replace,” primarily to the Cloud, where he argued security is much improved, as compared to legacy applications. Paul Morris cited his time at a Silicon Valley software company when suddenly the legacy C+ programmers were replaced by Java programmers, no easy task in the world of legacy government IT.
What’s Next? Dr. Perkins said the Air Force is moving to a mobile environment for all its employees. Likewise, Tony Summerlin pointed out that the FCC is moving to a BYOB model with device level security protection, and will continue to push for 100% agency-wide SaaS applications. Paul Morris said that TSA has “post-traumatic vendor fatigue,” as a result of having to deal with vendor products that don’t talk to each other. TSA will also spend money on improving their aging network, which is currently “bandaged together.”
Stay tuned next week when I discuss the value obtained from Digital Enterprise Management.