Bringing Government IT Modernization and Innovation to the Forefront

Federal Agencies Find Efficiency via Cloud, Agile Development and Distance Learning


This month on ModernGov, we’ve focused on efficiency. We’ve gone beyond the buzzword to showcase tips and technologies that can help federal agencies deliver the best service to citizens while maximizing the effectiveness of their technology infrastructure. Software AG Government Solutions execs Chris Steel and Darryn Graham offered their insights on efficiency around situational awareness and leveraging IT to deliver on mission. To wrap up the month, we thought we’d showcase some federal agencies that are using technology in innovative ways to maximize efficiency.

Fixing Scheduling with Agile at the VA
Career IT professionals across the federal government have revamped how they purchase, run, and deploy technology projects, resulting in some notable successes, particularly with regard to Agile software development approaches. One agency that is leading the pack with Agile development is the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). CIO Steph Warren. Forbes highlights Warren’s commitment to fixing the ailing scheduling system by re-framing the problem. The scheduling application in place at the time he joined dated from 2001, and according to Warren, “didn’t deliver.” It was killed in 2009. The problem “wasn’t just scheduling, but the way they did development.” Read more about how Warren’s focus on Agile development is helping the VA tackle the scheduling system issues in Forbes.

DOJ Finds Training Efficiency Through Distance Learning – A Q&A with Timothy John Carrier
The Department of Justice (DOJ) is responsible for enforcing the law, ensuring public safety, providing federal leadership in preventing and controlling crime and ensuring fair and impartial administration of justice for all American citizens. With a large number of personnel distributed around the world, providing education and training to all agency personnel is a difficult task. But, that’s what the Office of Legal Education – the primary training arm of the Department of Justice – is responsible for, and they’re a novel example of a federal agency using distance learning to drive efficiency within their vast training programs. To help train federal prosecutors, litigators and legal support staff, the Office of Legal Education has turned to a distance learning program called the Justice Television Network. Timothy John Carrier, the Executive Producer of the Justice Television Network, was recently presented with the Pioneer Award from the Federal Government Distance Learning Association for his distinguished service and leadership in supporting the Justice Television Network (JTN), which has distributed hundreds of hours of critical legal training to a target audience of over 100,000 DOJ and other federal legal staff. Read John Carrier’s Q&A on Public Sector View.

Terry Halvorsen: Defense Department to Issue New Cloud Policy in 2 Weeks
Terry Halvorsen, acting chief information officer of the Defense Department, told the audience at the recent FedTalks gathering that the Department of Defense (DoD) plans to release a new cloud computing policy by the end of November. Halvorsen asserted that the DoD intends for the fresh policy to help the military agencies buy cloud services through their own contract offices. “That’s simply because we can go faster. We’ve got to go faster, and that just means I’ve got to increase the number of people who can do the contracting, so we’re going to do that,” Halvorsen told the audience. The DoD also plans to further mobility, the Joint Information Environment and data access in an effort to reduce costs, according to the report, that stressed these efficiency measures.

OMB and GSA Developing Unified Measures to Cut down On Costs
According to Federal News Radio, The Office of Management Budget (OMB) and the General Services Administration (GSA) have created a plan to gather data and make progress toward cutting unnecessary spending and inefficiency. Currently, OMB and GSA have problems analyzing the efficiency of government agencies, something that makes agency cooperation difficult, according to a White House report released June 30. “Federal agencies lack a complete set of tools and reliable data to measure their performance in key administrative areas,” the report said. “This discourages agency executives from taking necessary steps to reduce costs, efficiently deploy resources, and improve quality of service.” OMB and GSA will create a unified data set from all agencies in an effort to identify efficiency indicators, measured in cost savings or reduced square footage of federal property, which can be traced back to benchmark related actions. Based on the findings, finance, human resources and IT working groups will come up with an action and implementation plan, which interagency management councils will analyze for effective strategies that could be shared. This all comprises the first phase of the plan. The second phase uses the results of the first to create a standard plan and metrics. Read more about the plan to drive efficiency across agencies on Federal News Radio.



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