Smart Enterprise Magazine

Volume 7, Number 3, 2013

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capabilities. "They also must innovate, bringing newer and better services across multiple heterogeneous environments, while running these operations efficiently and effectively," Smith adds. Public sector IT executives who embrace the new environment can find themselves on a path to more innovative ways of doing things and greater efficiency, industry watchers say. But those who insist on holding onto past strategies, tactics and philosophies will likely have the most trouble adapting to new ways of doing things. Successful agencies are demonstrating a continual willingness to transform to meet emerging needs, says Todd McNabb, Director and General Manager of Global Cloud Sales at IT services provider CSC. Just as converged infrastructure brought shifts to traditional IT silos, the cloud brings a democratization of IT services to developers and operators alike, and realigns the value of IT to more closely match the agility and value drivers of the agencies, he says. Agencies that embrace the cloud will be independent of traditional capital cycles and will be able to rebalance their portfolios to meet mission needs. Probably the biggest challenge now facing public sector CIOs is speed. Traditionally, government IT projects have been very slow to complete. But no more, says Darren Ash, CIO at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). "The traditional planning and development cycle, upon which systems are delivered after many Clouds Over Washington What are your organization's plans for cloud computing? I Already moving forward with cloud adoption I In early stages of implementation/ adoption I Currently assessing how to proceed I We have no plans to build or adopt cloud services 29% 21% 19% 31% DATA: InformationWeek, "Federal Cloud Computing Survey," 103 U.S. public sector IT executives in 2012 and 137 in 2011, Sept. 2012 months — and sometimes years — is no longer ideal or desired," he says. "In addition, long development cycles are more likely to fail. Now we have to focus on other methods that enable faster delivery, such as Agile [a group of software-development methods] and 'chunking' projects into smaller, more manageable pieces." What's more, industry watchers don't expect this need for speed to go away anytime soon. "While pressures continue to mount [regarding] cybersecurity, privacy concerns and diminishing budgets, users of government systems are demanding higher performance, better services and faster delivery times for newer, better goods and services," says Smith of Accenture. As a result of the NRC's use of Agile development methods, its IT projects have become increasingly efficient, Ash says. "Using a common development platform, we recently modernized a legacy system through Agile techniques, focusing on our requirements and quickly delivering capabilities and the system," he adds. "We're now able to build off of the same platform to more quickly solve other business requirements." 24 SMARTENTERPRISEMAG.COM The more-efficient approach that the NRC is moving toward will also enable a real-time (or nearly) view of networks and systems, quickly highlighting any vulnerabilities and issues that need to be resolved. "A shift from the three-year approach will help us shift resources away from producing paper, to actually improving the security of our network and systems," Ash says. (The "paper" Ash mentions is the voluminous set of materials that must support any decision to certify and accredit a system. And the "three-year approach" refers to the U.S. Federal Information Security Management Act of 2002, which states that systems must be certified and accredited every three years.) Ash believes that being a CIO in today's government means focusing on how to best enable the organization's mission through the strategic and optimized use of information and technology. "This," he adds, "means ensuring that our end users have the tools and information they need to do their job effectively and conduct business transactions." One example at the NRC involves a focus on using more authoritative data sources, "with a goal that critical data is created once and used often," Ash says. "The end user has confidence that the data is available, accurate and up-to-date." The focus on authoritative data, which started about a year ago, has also helped shift some of the NRC's IT governance board discussions away from the details of specific systems, and instead toward the information needed to achieve the agency's goals, Ash says. The work, which is ongoing, will ultimately help identify critical requirements for system modernizations. These changes affect CIOs in state and local governments, too. Consider Fred Banner, IT Director for the small city of Franklin, Tenn. The population of Franklin is expected to nearly double in the next few years, from 67,000 people now to 120,000. Along with this population increase, the city expects to see increasing demand for new online services. "We have to adjust and adapt to get those services in place," Banner says. "We have a tighter time frame to get our plans completed." One thing the city's IT department is doing is relying more on the cloud to speed the deployment of applications, Banner says, adding, "We're becoming a virtual shop." For example, the city has begun moving to Microsoft Office 365 in the cloud. It will likely soon launch a new HR application in the cloud, too, Banner says. Both projects will involve in-house staff as well as outside consulting services, and the targeted benefits will include cost reductions and increased agility. Above the Cloud The cloud, perhaps more than any other technological development, is helping to transform the way public sector CIOs do their jobs. "We're seeing a shift from buying infrastructure components and applications to simplified, standardized delivery models and as-a-service offerings," says McNabb of CSC. Cloud-based services can also help speed the procurement and development of IT services, Alboum of the GSA says, "to bridge the time-frame gap." His agency has begun leveraging cloud services to speed development timelines and keep up with the rapid business changes. The GSA initially migrated some 17,000 users to Google's cloud-based email and collaboration platform, with a projected five-year savings of $15 million. Following this success, the GSA next implemented Salesforce.com as its cloud-based collaboration/

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