There’s a perception by some inside the Beltway that you can’t achieve true IT innovation in government agencies, and there’s a great deal of pressure on agency leaders to adopt a “private sector mindset.” Despite these assumptions, there are many leaders within government IT who have taken it upon themselves to be the trendsetters- to be the change agents. While some may tout government IT innovation as an oxymoron, many of these innovators have sought to define modernization and agility by implementing cutting edge programs and adopting technologies before the masses.
One such change agent is Joe Hungate, Deputy Chief Financial Officer, Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Mr. Hungate initiated HUD’s migration of their primary financial management system to the Treasury Department’s Bureau of Fiscal Service in 2013, making HUD the largest agency to migrate to the shared service besides the Department of Treasury. The migration could take up to two years to complete and in the end supports modernization by applying the latest technology in order to fulfill agency mission.
Another IT pioneer, Francisco Salguero, is the Chief Information Officer for Rural Development within the Department of Agriculture (USDA). Mr. Salguero has said that “Modernization isn’t just about the systems but also the people,” communicating that the end-user experience is also an important pain point when discussing government modernization and agility. Holding true to that statement, in 2009 Mr. Salguero took on an impressive, multi-year initiative- the Comprehensive Loan Program. The program, funded through 2024, streamlines a previous IT portfolio that consisted of hundreds of systems across multiple platforms. The program is expected to make Rural Development more agile and better equipped to fulfill agency mission and serve citizens, as is outlined in the USDA’s IT plan for 2014-2018.
Similarly, Chief Technology Officer of US Army Information Technology Agency, Thomas Sasala has recently put into action one of the most impressive agency modernization agendas. Mr. Sasala, having been featured on the current Federal 100 list, has demonstrated with recent trials what government innovation truly can achieve. Notably, Mr. Sasala implemented a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) program that would enable employees, among other things, the ability to telework more efficiently. The program originally set for 2,000 desktops, has seen a great deal of success and the demand has exceeded 20,000 with interest in extending VDI to the Pentagon’s 50,000 plus desktops. Sasala’s actions are indicative of enabling the technological advancements to best suit agency needs in agility and cost mitigation.
Despite the naysayers, government culture is evolving as is evidenced by these change agents and their agencies proactive approach to modernization. ModernGOV is excited to follow and share these examples of IT innovation and highlight the good work done by government trendsetters of today and tomorrow.
If you’d like to learn more about government change agents and trendsetters, click here.