Home‎ > ‎

GITEC 2010 Summit Highlights

Introduction

 The 2010 GITEC Summit theme was: “IT Innovations Solving Complex Business Challenges”.

Key focus areas for the conference included:

  • What are the biggest challenges for the largest upcoming projects
  • What New Technologies can be helpful
  • What new Program Management Techniques can be useful to move initiatives to implementation
  • Engaging the millennial (Generation Y)

 Overview

 This year’s conference theme was IT Innovations Solving Complex Business Challenges.  Senior Federal CIOs and acquisition executives provided their unique perspectives on IT challenges, solutions, and opportunities.  The Summit’s agenda focused on education and training, on bringing the different generations together, and on tackling the difficult issues facing both government and industry.  In general, the Summit was well received and feedback was positive by those who attended.  The survey of attendees indicated that 87% were satisfied with the Summit; 82% indicated that they would attend again; 86% found the Breakout Sessions successful and 82% found the issues discussed on the agenda were of interest to them.  73 responses were received for the survey from a total attendance of 319 at the Summit giving a response of 23% of attendees. The ratio of Government attendees to industry was increased from previous years but the goal remains to increase government attendance across multiple departments and agencies.  Those who did attend thought that although the conference attendance was smaller this year, the one-on-one time with the right people was more valuable than in previous years.  43% of respondents to the Summit survey still desired that attention be focused on getting more CIOs and other government executives as well as state and local attendees.

 Following are summaries of the information presented at the Summit. They are organized into these categories:

·        Innovative Technology

·        Program Management and Acquisition Strategies

·        Social Networking

·        Agency Views – IT Opportunities

·        Education and Training

 Innovative Technology

 CIO Panel on Strategic Use of Innovative Technology

Moderator: Dan Mathews

Panelists: Darren Ash, Rob Cary, Van Hitch, Tom Wiesner 

 Description/Summary:

  • Cloud Computing - The panel thought that Cloud Computing is a popular buzz word and that it holds great promise.  The panel thought that some applications were ready for a Cloud Computing environment such as email, but other applications are not still ready.   Ediscovery will present a huge challenge for email in the cloud.  The panel thought that security and identity management are big concerns for Cloud Computing and that this needs to be resolved before it will be widely implemented.  Many organizations are waiting on the GSA initiative, but little is known about security and privacy elements of the GSA procurement.    Apparently, the GSA acquisition for Cloud Computing has been pulled back. In addition to security, the panel thought that organizational culture will present a major challenge for deploying Cloud Computing.  Furthermore, clear expectations and performance of Cloud Computing is still unknown.  The panel discussed that the Cloud Computing should be implemented in the budget cycle with a long term strategy.
  • Data Center Consolidation - The panel discussed OMB’s Data Center Consolidation Initiative and that maybe there should have been a focus on one particular application instead of attempting to consolidate data centers.  The panel agreed that they only control the budget for IT related initiatives and not program related initiatives that sometimes include IT funding.  They felt it would hard to be able to do anything before 2012 for Data Center Consolidation.
  • Next Generation IT - The need for more tools that support telework was discussed.  Workers need to be equipment to telework.  The panel thought that having one remote access solution is best, but that they are faced with supporting multiple solutions.  High definition VTC, YouTube and Internet radio are consuming too much bandwidth within organizations.  The panel discussed security concerns for mobile devices such as the Droid and iPhone.  The panel thought that Search and retrieval is needed.  Organizations are developing policies to support social networking. The group felt that the federal government has outgrown the current FISMA guidelines, and that FISMA needs to be reauthorized instead of just being a paper exercise. 

Futuristic Technology and Potential Implications

Moderator:  George Strawn, Director of the National Coordination Office of the National IT Research and Development Program, Office of Science and Technology Policy, Executive Office of the President

Panelists: 

  • Douglas van Houweling, President and Chief Executive Officer, Internet2
  • Scott Streit, Chief Technology Officer, Intervise

 Description of Topic:

The changes in the IT landscape over the last 10 or 20 years have been prodigious.  Moreover, futurists predict that the pace of IT change may actually increase over the next decade.  It has been said that the best way to predict the future is to invent it.  This session featured an academic and an industrial perspective on the next period of IT invention, led by people who are among the inventors.

 Summary:

·        How things have changed.  Before the 1950s, you could not buy a computer.  Then, with the invention of microchips, this environment exploded.  There were no cell phones; now there are over five billion.  And, smart phones are becoming increasingly popular.  While microchips got the technology moving, fiber optics with chips and routers really brought on the internet revolution in the 1990s.  At some point, there will be a data tsunami.  The real challenge will be what to do with all the data.

·        Internet2, with its international partners, is a combination of advanced, high-performance IP and optical, fully scalable, hybrid infrastructure networks which can dynamically add capacity to meet its demands.  As designed, Internet2 is not supposed to become more than 30% saturated.  Should that 30% saturation point be approached, more resources will be added so that the saturation point remains below 30% for optimum performance.  The network has been expanded to include schools/universities, cultural institutions, and various healthcare initiatives.

·        The Health Science Network Initiative has several purposes:  extend healthcare applications; extend connectivity to new and underserved areas; extend clinical practices; extend clinical practices; extend education and training such as for surgical practices; and, extend research.

·        In terms of applications, Internet2 impacts the arts and humanity areas, such as broadcasting live concerts around the world.  It also opens master classes to musicians at remote locations around the world, enables live, multi-site performances to include pianists playing together even if they are separated by thousands of miles, and “unlocks” other music archives for others to enjoy.

·        Future applications for education will be more mobile rather than fixed, will be “just-in-time” available rather than “just-in-case,” and will bring about more institutional changes to match the needs and practices of students.  These changes will come sooner rather than later because our educational practices are becoming expensive.

·         Futuristic technologies will allow the sharing of remote health consultations among doctors and other necessary medical practitioners, and will allow real-time monitoring of patient “vitals,” even at remote sites.  This robust, collaborative style will give way to allowing a more graceful aging in place with the family, rather than aging at some other remote, albeit secluded and lonely, location.

·        What are the implications for today?

o       Current networks as designed will not support this.  More secure bandwidth will be needed that is reliable from end to end.

o       More computational, distributed computing capacity will be required.

o       The user interface will go beyond the audio and visual ones.  There will be a need for implanted interfaces, as well.

o       The semantic web to make this happen is starting to take shape—and could be available in approximately ten years.

·        Bringing the semantic web to reality has its challenges.

o       There are “mutating” requirements.  The structure of the problem is constantly changing.

o       New data sources are being perpetually added.

o       There is an obvious lack of relationships across data.

·        The advantages are:

o       There will be significant, expanded capabilities with lower integration costs.

o       Agile development, with collaboration, will truly become a reality—rather than talking about it.

o       And, to some extent, some of this is becoming available now.

·        Other closing comments:

o       In terms of the semantic web and its application to cloud computing, the “cloud” will be a storage mechanism for the semantic web.

o       More storage equipment will have to be merged into the network.  It will be about ten years for optical technology to appropriately fit into this environment.

o       The biggest challenge moving to a semantic web environment will be to semantically enable your data.  Another challenge will be underestimating the workload to accomplish this.  And, due to semantic data relationships, the storage costs will be much more.

Conclusion:  

Data are growing at a precipitous pace and, with futuristic technologies and their implications, like the semantic web, will continue to do so.  While there are technological implications, there are implications for “life,” as well.  Plan for these—and plan now!!
 

Improving IT/Business Engagement to Drive Change and Innovation

Speaker:  Ken Weitzel, Senior Research Director, Corporate Executive Board

Summary:

Ken Weitzel, who has over 25 years of IT consulting experience works for the CIO Executive Board, serving 600 -1,000 CIO teams worldwide.  He posed the following questions and points for discussion:

  • What does it look like to know that IT engagement is being done well with the rest of the enterprise?  Ways to obtain answers is to use social research, and to have questions answered through the use of surveys.
  • What is the purpose of IT/Business engagement?  IT is only one ingredient in effecting positive change to move forward.  There is a need to understand if the agency is ready for change, as readiness will determine effectiveness.
  • Redefining engagement = managing change.  Highly engaged IT teams have been able to boost performance by 50+ %.  Analytical skills, people skills, and management skills are all needed to manage change.
  • How to deal with rapid or complex change?  A change consultant manages change as a communication ‘ventriloquist’ to give the change manager the message to deliver.  Users are becoming process-aware, both up and downstream.  Gathering intelligence, capturing data and use of these items to implement change. 
  • Evaluate each role – what is the impact of change?  What does change do to individuals?  Understand the nature of change needed and the effect on work, life and how important to each individual.  Dependant on those factors, determines how to integrate change without it being too overwhelming to individuals affected.
  • Business engagement myths:     
    • Time – (reality) quality not quantity
    • People – (reality) strategic relationship-focused individuals
    • Processes – (reality) execution focused processes
    • Stuck with current process – (reality) where do you want to go in the future
    • Setting incentives – (reality) talk about how to improve engagement
  • Knowledge that matters:
    • Articulate business context
    • What is the real business need?
    • Talk about strategy
    • Discuss knowledge
    • Who are the players / political landscape?
    • Priority of functions
    • IT knowledge
  • Successful business engagement will:
    • Focus on the partner side of things (not extending ‘carrots’ to participants, such as incentive pay)
    • Show scoreboards of success
    • Incent business partners
  • How do you develop these skills?  PMP training is not the answer.
  • Experience make a difference
    • Giving challenges and authority
    • Making individuals work in more challenging situations
    • Working in different locations
    • Enabling formative experiences for employees
    • Making investments to get people to have the right experiences

 Conclusion:

In order to effect engagement, parties must communicate, deliver results, work together, have an ‘emotional’ commitment, aspirations dedicated to the organization’s mission, and not be an ‘engaged dreamer.’

 
Emerging Technology and Its Operational Impact

Moderator:  Bart Stanco, Vice President and Executive Partner, Gartner Executive Programs

Panelists:  Steve Cooper, Chief Information Officer, Air Traffic Organization, Federal Aviation Administration; Roderick Hairston, Deputy Associate Commissioner, US Social Security Administration; Simon Szykman, Chief Information Officer, National Institute of Standards and Technology, US Department of Commerce

Description of Topic:

In light of the conference theme of “IT Innovations Solving Complex Business Challenges,” just how far can technology be innovative?  Perhaps said another way, we are hearing more and more about “disruptive” technologies.  But, can some disruptive technologies be too disruptive—and actually destructive?  And, while looking good on paper, actually wind up tearing apart the integrity and fabric of an organization/business.  This panel reviewed where technology is going in support of the Federal Government, and what the future could hold.  

Summary:

·        There are several takeaway messages.  One key message is to insure the deployment and use of emerging technologies is being driven by business requirements, and to solve those challenges associated with those business requirements.  To do so, focus must be on the value added of those business processes.  For example, SSA has 1800 offices that interact with citizens.  So, how are all of them reached?  And, as we look across various organizations, are we really solving a business process issue by using newer technologies?  The point here is that you do not necessarily have to use the latest technology to solve the current business challenges.  Many should try to use proven technology first versus emerging technology.  See if that solves your problem.

·        End users frequently bring requests for use of new technologies toward satisfying their business requirements.  In fact, users are encouraged to come in with their new ideas.  If these requirements have real business value, this gets the strongest consideration.  Infusion boards are also used for new technology-related ideas; these boards have funds to test these new ideas and how they would be used within the organization.  Of course, the ever important question is, “What is the return on investment?” 

·        All IT companies have some type of great solution.  But, does the solution fit the federal organization’s problem?  Federal government IT executive’s value a company who understands their organization’s mission—really understands it, and then can articulate/demonstrate how their solution applies to that organizational problem.  Bottom line:  do the necessary research beforehand; know the risk issues; and then discuss how the solution you are presenting addresses those issues.  This process will enhance the partnership between the Federal CIO and vendor communities.

·        Various agencies see a need for social media products/solutions, such as in the Medicare area.  FAA has an interest, as well, in terms of using Twitter to push items out to constituencies/citizens in a limited interaction fashion.  The value of social media comes from the ability of citizens to easily interact with governmental communities, for the purposes the citizens’ desire.     

·        Funding for emerging technologies has not been adequate, in terms of R&D or for further exploration for potential use within government.  This lack of funding has been a real hindrance, as has been the necessary time.

·        What makes emerging technologies of interest are the newly expanded capabilities which could be forthcoming.  One other driver is workforce interest. Some agencies are ahead of others in trying to retain a younger, more technology-driven workforce.  Using some of these emerging technologies enhances the ability to further attract talent into these government department/agencies.

·        Overall, emerging technology can be defined as a technology that is not pervasive within the government sector, and that it has the potential to be transforming.  And, if there is transformation potential, there is also transformation risk—risk which must be mitigated.  It is hoped that industry will help with risk mitigation research so as to help its government customers.  Assessing this risk is still developing; this dialogue must take place, and is encouraged.

·        It is necessary for federal executives to openly communicate overall strategies and objectives of its organizations.  As part of this, agencies should set it goals, and how emerging technologies and service delivery plans play into this.

·        This all comes down to “where are the opportunities?” 

o       Within SSA, E-Authentication is important as are video technologies in terms of interviewing claimants and hearings. 

o       For NIST, high-performance computing is an important part of the non-traditional computing environment that supports NIST’s research functions NIST is also interested in the business value of cloud computing, server virtualization and managing information across boundaries. 

o       FAA is an information-centric organization which supports the information value chain in terms of capture, transformation, staging, dissemination and presentation of data and information.  FAA needs mobile applications across its geographic locations, and is interested in making its field units/employees more productive by using new form factors.  And, how can FAA use “FOIA in a cloud” environment?  These are some of the items they are investigating. 

 Conclusion: 

Emerging technologies offer great promise for solving the seemingly “unsolvable” problems.  But, perhaps, just perhaps, current technologies, judiciously applied, can accomplish the same.  Be innovative in their use.

 

Strategic Use of Innovative Technology:  Presentations of Selected Papers

Topic:  Alternate Network Structures for DoD

Speaker:  Cecilia Phan, J6CTO, DoD Joint Chiefs of Staff

Summary of Paper/Presentation:

·        Sharing information is central to the effective operation of military forces. The networks used to enable this sharing are formed from components originally developed independently in a largely uncoordinated fashion. While DoD is making significant strides to integrate its network components, the question still remains—if one could start over with a "clean sheet," how would the networks best be structured to enable information sharing?  Would the results be roughly the same as today or would it be significantly different? The answer to this question is important for guiding future development of the networks.

·        This quick-look analysis identified "clean sheet" alternatives for structuring information networks supporting assured information sharing, and characterized benefits associated with these alternatives.  A "clean sheet" network structure is defined as: (1) a deployment of network components unconstrained by the existing deployment; and (2) is technologically realizable for the timeframe considered, but not constrained by the particulars of the acquisition process. The 5-10 year period is chosen for the intermediate term because, given the rapid pace of change of information and communication technology, technology projections beyond that time frame cannot be made with an understanding of when they could be realized.

·        Assured information sharing requires consideration of all four components:  access; transport; data and services; and, network management.  The goal of sharing is the use of data and services.  Obtaining those data and services requires (1) an access layer to aid their discovery and managed access to them according to user rights, and (2) a transport layer to pass the data and services to the users.  Furthermore, a network management layer is necessary to manage the assets in the other three layers for the information sharing.

·        In closing, the paper proposed a common framework for federated operation of networks for assured information sharing, enabling interoperability across USG, to include a set of architectural principles for each of the components, where strategic innovation of technologies will help realize DOD’s vision; and that Leadership and Management actions are critical to realizing this common framework.

Conclusion:

DoD has made, and is making, great strides toward better networking and information sharing.  To do this, you must leverage innovative techniques, start with a “clean-sheet” structure approach, and focus on a core group as well as an architecture.  What can be used for DoD, in all likelihood, could be considered as a possibility for other components of the US Government.

 

Topic:  “Rapid Technology Changes with Segmentation Audience:  Innovating Accessible Technology”

Speakers:  Cham Leang and Megan Adams, US Government

Summary of Paper/Presentation:

·        Accessible technology innovations will benefit segmented audiences, including all people with different abilities.  This presentation covered best practices made by private and public industries, and the different kinds of technologies available to meet these diverse needs.

·        A recent Super Bowl commercial by Pepsi highlighted how, through accessible technology, it had additionally reached over 28 million Deaf and Hard of hearing people which helped Pepsi increase its market share.  The US Government’s efforts should be similar, to what Pepsi accomplished, in increasing the use of the US Government’s products and services by all segmented audiences.

·        With this as a background, the presentation covered:  1) the history of disability; 2) Federal protections offered; 3) current challenges; 4) strategic innovations; and 5) some case studies.

·        Before 1990, the accommodation of people with disabilities was a nicety.  After 1990, the accommodation of people with disabilities became a necessity through:  1) enforcing the Rehabilitation Act (1973); 2) the Americans with Disabilities Act (1990); and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act (1998).

o       Rehabilitation Act:  Prohibits discrimination based on disability in Federal employment and requires affirmative action plans in the hiring, placement, and advancement of people with disabilities.

o       Americans with Disability Act:  Extends the Rehabilitation Act to include the requirement of reasonable accommodations to ensure equal opportunity.

o       Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act:  Amended the Rehabilitation Act to ensure Federal agencies made their electronic and information technology accessible to people with disabilities.

·        The aforementioned acts, in one form or another, provided guidance/criteria specific to various types of technologies, such as:  software applications and operating systems; web-based information or applications; telecommunication products; video and multimedia products; self-contained, closed products; and desktop and portable computers.

·        Section 508 accessibility standards balance and blend our society through the:

o       Development of businesses, products, technologies and services that are accessible and usable by all people;

o       Building of diverse communities which enhances understanding and individual needs;

o       Production and motivation of developing innovative accessibility solutions;

o       Empowerment of consumers to have choices in products that best suit their need;

o       Creation of equal and long-lasting products that benefit society in general.

·        It is relatively easy for a government organization to minimize cost impacts and maximize efficiencies by assigning the right SME personnel at various levels on its many projects.

 Conclusion:

Success stories such as the IRS’s Administration Sign Program on Tax Topics, CDC’s Section 508 Features, and the Computer Electronic Assistance Program, consider all segmented audiences by providing equal access.  The US Government must continue to be ready to respond to changes in these audiences and to maintain its mission in satisfying all consumers and customers.

 Advancements in medicine have increased the number of people living, and effectively working, with various abilities.  While much has been done to assist this segmented population, there remains more to do.

 

Topic:  “How Cloud Can Increase Government Innovation, Mission Focus, Flexibility, and Mobility”

Paper submitted by:  Douglas Bourgeois, Director, Department of the Interior/National Business Center - Paper presented by:  Maria Clark, Cloud Product Manager, Department of the Interior/National Business Center 

Summary of Paper/Presentation:

·        The National Business Center wanted to start a cloud computing “pay-per-use” business model, a model by which users would pay for its use, would share the cost of the infrastructure supporting this model, where users could scale their use up or down, and would be internet accessible.

·        The types of computing clouds are:  public, private, hybrid, and community.

·        The purposes behind using cloud computing: 1) there is a government mandate to find alternate computing services; 2) pay for only the services used; 3) rapidly provision services; 4) reduce costs by sharing resources and, 5) there is an emphasis to save energy.  Cloud computing is one way to save energy.

·        When looking at cloud computing, there are basically three types of services models:  1) Infrastructure as a service 2) Platform as a service—used to deliver greater functionality; and 3) Software as a service—used to deliver applications;.

·        The basic services offered by NBC for its customers are:

o       NBC-GRID – Infrastructure as a Service

§         Services can be provisioned in multiple environments including sandbox, test, development and production.  These environments share NBC’s security services.

o       NBC-STAGE – Platform as a Service

§         Services include an integrated development platform and include development and test tools.

o       NBC-APPS – Software as a Service

§         Collaboration

§         Requirements/Issue tracking

§         Blogging

·        One of the basic advantages for using a cloud computing service is “speed to solution.”  Another advantage for using this type of computing model is savings in terms of licensing software and it is a “pay-as-you-go” model.  Simply said, you pay for only the resources consumed—you do not have to pay for your own supporting infrastructure.

 

Conclusion:

The Department of the Interior’s National Business Center offers its customers a “cloud computing” business model, a model designed to deliver computing services by which computing costs are shared effectively and efficiently.

  

Program Management and Acquisition Strategies

 New Trends in Program Management  

Speaker: Roger Baker, CIO and Assistant Secretary, Office of Information & Technology at the Department of Veterans Affairs,

Summary: Mr. Baker spoke principally of the IT management improvement initiatives underway at VA.  At the VA for just under a year and with the Secretary’s support, Mr. Bakers focus has centered on the OI&T Program Management Accountability System refereed to as PMAS.  Implemented to add rigor to VA’s development practices, PMAS has done that and had significant repercussions throughout the development activities underway at VA.  Programs have added definition and clarity after having identified milestones, deliverables and accountable PM’s.  The net result has been positive while also suspending ill defined efforts resulting in savings of nearly $54 million.

 
PM Excellence Awards

Description:

Program Management excellence awards were presented in the following categories:

·        Effective Management of the Changing Budgetary and IT Landscape—Improved Cost Effectiveness and Accountability  

o       The Logistics Modernization Program (LMP) - Project Manager:  COL Scott Lambert, Charles.Lambert@us.army.mil, 732-427-1062

·        Collaborative Government/Web 2.0 Vision—Creative Solutions that Enable Engagement with Citizens and Other Government Agencies

o       Toxics Release Inventory Program (TRI) – Project Manager:  Dipti Singh, singh.dipti@epa.gov, 202 566-0739

o       National Repository for Digital Forensics Intelligence (NRDF) – Project Manager: Jim Christy, james.christy@dc3.mil, 410 981-6699

·        Technology That Is Reshaping America—Best Practices in Virtualization; Successes with Cloud Computing

o       Consular Affairs Virtual Environment (CAVE) - Project Manager:  Kirit Amin, aminkm@state.gov, 202 663-1101

·        Enhanced Business Results from Innovation

o       Human Resources Management Suite (HRMS) – Project Manager:  Michael Colburn,  mcolburn@nbc.gov, 303 969-7427

·        Cyber Security—Proactive Leadership on Securing New Threats

o       Dense Wave Division Multiplexing – Optical Transport Network (DWDM-OTN) – Project Manager:  LTC Joseph Dupont, joseph-dupont@eur.army.mil, 011 49 621 730 5960

 

Accelerating Implementation of Strategic Business Programs

Presenter: Don Harrison

 

Discussion/Summary:

In this session Don Harrison, Implementation Management Associates Inc, presented an implementation lifecycle for business programs, and discussed strategies to accelerate through the lifecycle.  Likewise, he warned of several pitfalls that managers often stumble into, and how devastating a loss of trust among stakeholders can be to a business program or project.

 Mr. Harrison laid out a roadmap for implementing successful business programs.  The life cycle included the following steps/stages:  Define the change, build agent capacity, assess the climate, generate sponsorship, determine change approach, develop target readiness, build communication plan, develop reinforcement strategy, create cultural fit, and prioritize actions. (See www.imaworldwide.com) 

 Mr. Harrison discussed the importance of managing resistance to a business program, noting that each time an implementation fails to achieve its stated technical, business or human objectives on time and with budget, it incurs both short and long tem costs, which are either direct or indirect, but none-the-less, very impactful to any future success of the organization.   Strategies are not accomplished, resources are wasted, business objectives are not met, morale suffers, job security is threatened, and confidence in leadership decreases.  All of which lessons the likelihood of future success in any subsequent endeavors.

Success metrics are: is the project on time, on budget, were the business objectives met, were the technical objectives met, and were the human objectives met?   To accelerate the achieving of these factors the organization must be tuned correctly – with a cohesion between organizational readiness and a climate for implementation.  Organizational values have three faces: those expressed-- through mission statements and speeches, those modeled--through decision making, priorities established, and resource allocations, and those reinforced--through recognition, promotion and rewards.  When all three are aligned, higher trust is established and implementation is faster. When the three faces of organization values don’t align, then trust is lower, implementation is slower, and chance of success is lessoned, if not destroyed.

 Mr. Harrison’s session was very informative and a good reminder for all of us that we can’t forget how important the human factor is in mission performance.

 
Social Networking

 

Talking About My Generation, Revisited—Insights from Young Government IT Leaders

Moderator:  Anne Armstrong, President, Government Information Technology Group, 1105 Media, Inc.

Panelists:  Jonathan Benett, Program Manager, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Food and Nutrition Service, US Department of Agriculture; Shaun Khalfan, Manager, Enterprise Information Assurance, Military Sealift Command and Vice President, Young Government Leaders; Minnette Ligon,  IT Management Specialist, US Army Materiel Command; Anita Middleton, Contracting Officer, National Weather Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, US Department of Commerce

Description of Topic:

Based upon the successful (as well as interesting and enlightening) Young Government IT Leaders panel conducted at IPIC 2009, this panel was brought back for a second consecutive conference year.  In this panel, we heard how these younger information technology leaders view the way government currently uses IT, and, their role in this.

Summary:

  • In terms of what attracted these young professionals to government service, they liked the fact they can wear “multiple hats” in the performance of their duties across a wide range of issues.  No one job/no one day is the same.  The consensus was they enjoy helping people, like working on the bigger projects the federal government offers, finding solutions in meeting their challenges/projects, and selecting companies to solve their challenges. One big difference is they could only recommend on the commercial side whereas they can help make the decisions on the government side. 
  • With the aging of the federal government workforce, we see younger workers joining the federal government.  Because of this, the workplace is more interesting, balancing institutional knowledge with newer ideas.  And with these newer ideas, there is somewhat more business risk being injected into the environment, risk younger people are willing to take.  How well these young leaders are being heard varies from organization to organization and the leadership therein.  But, they do want to be heard and have their ideas valued. 
  • To advance the careers of these young professionals, one-on-one mentoring sessions with executives, discussion forums, and taking an active interest in them will help immensely.  These young professionals are also interested in sharing information, learning more about project management and contracting, and fostering the advancement of their juniors.
  • Younger IT professionals coming into government service expect to be using the newer/newest technologies.  Because these newer systems are many, and not necessarily connected, there is some undue stress.   Therefore, it is important to rotate interns among these systems to garner various work experiences and skill sets.
  • One of the biggest challenges for these young government leaders is--being “young.”  Another is finding the right professional path to take along with finding the right mentor.  

 

Conclusion: 

Younger government professionals want varied, challenging positions in which they can make a difference.  Most can find this with Federal Government service.

 
Agency Views – IT Opportunities

 Trends and Initiatives in Health Departments

Moderator: Scott Cragg, Deputy CIO, IT Enterprise Strategic Policy, Plans and Programs, Department of Veterans Affairs

Panelist: Peter Levin, CTO from the VA; Vish Sankaran, Director FHA at HHS and Scott Streit, CTO at Intervise.  

 Summary:  The panel spanned several topics including essential standardization necessary for interagency sharing as well as access and collaboration with the private sector health care industry.  Rounding out the dialog was a heavy emphasis on security and the threats to data dramatized with examples of the data loss ramifications should cyber crime impact prominent individuals.  Finally the infrastructure improvements needed to implement the FHA were reviewed in the context of the total spending on health care in government which exceeds $1.3 trillion and the requirement for resources to be expended at the state and local level in order for the transformation of health care IT to continue.

 21st Century Statecraft: A View from Behind the Firewall – Sharla Warren

Speaker:  Richard C. Boly, Director, Office of eDiplomacy, U.S. Department of State

Description of Topic: This presentation covered leveraging new technologies and implementing collaboration and knowledge sharing tools into the State Department.

Summary and Conclusions:  Boly discussed ways that eDiplomacy is taking on the challenge established by Secretary Hillary Clinton’s 21st Century Statecraft initiative.  This initiative focuses on maximizing the potential of technology in service of the State Department’s diplomatic and development goals. In doing this there is a significant emphasis on the importance of collaborating and information sharing through the use of technology. He also discussed the challenges the State Department as well as other federal government agencies face in order to get information sharing and collaborative tools implemented.

Boly mentioned that in the past career officers worked in silos/ stovepipes that were based on hierarchy.  The Federal Government controlled communications through a top-down hierarchy using a classic command and control approach. 

However, society has changed and beginning with the fall of the Berlin Wall to the 9/11 terrorist attack the Federal Government and the State Department realized that we need to move from a “need to know basis” to a need-to-share environment. Information used to be so compartmentalized that it was hard to work together to share information. We have now learned that by sharing information we are increasing knowledge sharing, collaboration, and communication.

The new strategy, initiated in 2003 during Colin Powell's tenure, is to embrace openness behind the government firewall as a first step to achieving transparency with the public.

Mr. Boly discussed the challenges that the State Department, as well as, Federal Agencies face with moving to a more collaborative environment:

How do you get employees to move from thinking in silos to thinking like Google -- which launches first, innovates, and re-launches continuously? How do you change the culture from within when many longtime career diplomats are unfamiliar with the latest technologies and not apt to embrace it? How do you change outsider’s view of the State Department and Federal Government as an organization that conceals information? And how do you leverage all the knowledge of the State Department’s vast agency to increase collaboration and knowledge sharing among 19,000 employees serving in more than 250 diplomatic posts around the world?  Also, when your organization has just as many contractor personnel as it does civil service/federal government personnel what information do you open and what levels of access do people have? 

Here are a few of the current internal social media tools that eDiplomacy has established to transform the internal workplace culture of the State Department:

·        Diplopedia. This was the first tool and was developed about three years ago and it has been a huge success. This wiki helps maintain institutional knowledge regarding internal functions and processes, despite rapid turnover every two years. Similarly,

·        Deskipedia features thematic portals with articles, FAQs and other best practices to assist with training new Desk Officers. They currently have over 10,000 files on this Diplopedia. So simple, yet so practical and helpful. 

·        Communities at State. This system helps State Department people communicate in specific groups/ communities and other people in that group can see the communication.  This helps create a collaborative and knowledge sharing environment within communities of like interest.

·        Sounding Board. More than just a suggestion box, this crowd-sourcing community was designed to share ideas with a Bureau or the Secretary. The initiative has generated 7,000 comments on over 1,600 ideas in just one year.  Dozen of the ideas have been implemented.

·        Statebook. It's next in line on State's list of social innovation initiatives.  This will be the State Department’s internal version of Facebook.

Boly recognizes that it is difficult to prove to those steeped in tradition that these tools add value. However, social networking and new media are sure to shape the future of the State Department as well as other federal agencies.

 
Trends and Initiatives in Federal Government – Opportunities Shaping Our Future
 
Moderator:  Mark Krzysko, Department of Defense

Panelists: Rob Carey, Chief Information Officer, United States Navy; 
Judith Oxman, Deputy Acquisition Executive, Defense intelligence Agency;
Dave Bowen
, Chief Information Officer, Federal Aviation Administration;
Todd Zinser, Department of Commerce, Inspector General

 Description:

In a recent panel called Trends and Initiatives in the Federal Government - Opportunities Shaping our Future, the discussion centered on areas industry and government need to work together to address the changing economy and the roles each must play to ensure mutual success.  The panel included a broad range of topics with the main discussion surrounding stimulus funding, technology, open government initiatives, metrics and changes in acquisition landscapes. 

The speakers on the panel represented of a variety of government experts, including a Chief Information Officer, an Acquisition Specialist and Inspector Generals.  This composite allowed for a diverse dialogue on the trends that not only affect their agencies and the government but how future initiatives will be affected.  Mark Krzysko moderated the panel discussion.

Rob Carey discussed the importance of technological advancement and cyber security in government agencies.  With budgetary cuts in agencies, both technology and cyber security are being affected.  Rob stated that the government's ability to purchase new technology will continue to be deterred due to budget cuts.  He stressed how three years ago cyber security was non-existent and that the Department of Defense (DoD) needs to pay closer attention today to prevent any kind of breach in government security.  The absent of a standardized data is causing "…a gap between where the government is and wants to be."  Rob stressed that data standardization needs to be cleaned up or something different needs to be done. 

Judith Oxman spoke upon government acquisitions.  She articulated how "acquisition is a process" that should be composed of both contracting and program management individuals.  With this team model, the government can work together to fulfill the true need of the government.  Judith also discussed the importance of industry collaborating with the government.  Outsourcing to contractors is essential for the government because they can receive in-site on what industry views as the government's actually needs.

Dave Bowen talked about the government's inability to do more with less.  He emphasized how the government is still lagging behind industry after the recent economical downfall.  The main reason for this is that the government continues to waste money without taking into consideration the repercussions.  Dave also discussed how consolidation and transparency need to be initiated into government agencies.  While consolidation will free dollars by standardizing and regulate initiative efforts, transparency will heighten awareness of people's privacy information. 

Todd Zinser discussed how more transparency equals more security.  He stressed that getting top government leadership to focus on IT Acquisitions would help stop breaches in the government.  They need to be aware as well that acquisition of mission critical systems is critical to the mission.  With the Recovery.gov addressing a few data quality issues and challenges, Todd spoke about the importance of collecting information from bureaus and reporting to the recovery act.  This methodology will not only help trace report sourcing documentation but assist agencies during audits.   

Summary/Conclusions:  Final questions included personal opinions on what to start doing and what to stop doing.  Highlights from the panelists included:

Start:

·  Do asset management with security in mind.

·  Find an agile way to identify requirements faster

·  Start continuous intrusion detection

·  Put more resources on upfront acquisition and testing

·  Track down how money is really spent

Stop:

  • Trying to fit IT Acquisitions into DOD weapons acquisitions
  • All the regulatory “non-stuff” we do that has no business creating results, eg. OMB300s
  • Looking at IT C&A as security reports, stop FISMA generation
  • Financial Statement audits

 

Dinner with Keynote Speaker - (David M. Wennergren, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Information Management and Technology / DoD Deputy Chief Information Officer)

Description: 

Mr. Wennergren provided the closing Key Note speech for the GITEC 2010 Summit.  Dave brought his wisdom and sense of humor to the Summit, and as always, Dave provided a 0n-the-ground common sense of what’s needed for federal information management today.  Dave presented his top ten list of what’s important to keep focused on:

10.     Imperative to Share – its all about the data, and the sharing of the right data  among the right people at the right time

9.      Service-Oriented Approach (SOA) - a Service-oriented approach to all we do is essential to leverage the power of web services

8.      Infrastructure Optimization – we must optimize the federal infrastructure for information sharing

7.      Business Process Optimization – before embarking on IT projects, it’s imperative to get the business process ‘right’ before proceeding, such as Walmart has shown the world.

6.      Alignment of Effort – its important to have a strategic enterprise architecture based leveraging a common set of shared enterprise services, (i.e. a single set of security controls)

5.      Speed and Agility – we must strive for an 18 month window to complete current IT implementations, else they be obsolete before they are ever deployed.

4.  Secure Information Sharing – must always strive to balance the imperative to share with            the need to secure. 

3.   People First – Its all about the people – federal agencies must strive to be an employer of choice, and thus we must balance employee needs with mission needs.

2.      Transparency – in all we do will increase the speed of trust among the public, our state, local, and international governments, and among our employees upon we depend.

1.  Urgency – must maintain a sense of urgency to keep things moving.

 Summary/Conclusions:

Following the Top Ten List Mr. Wennergren ended by  reiterating the importance of data management, and the human resources requirements we have for ‘data scientists’ (term from The Economist) to meet the needs of a Web 2.0 world --which is real and here, but we must always be thoughtful of the unintended consequences of our actions.

 
Education and Training

 

Federal System Acquisition and Program Management Overview – FAI

Presenter: Otis Langford

 Discussion/Summary:

In a Federal System Acquisition and Program Management Overview session, Otis Langford, a learning and training manager from the Federal Acquisition Institute (FAI) discussed ­­­­­­­­­the infrastructure of managing system acquisitions and program/project management challenges in the Federal Government.

 Even though most government agencies are focused on acquisition, the role and development of program/projects managers is usually seen as a secondary priority.  The need for strong project and program managers has increased over the years but an established career path has not been structured with a concise educational and developmental plan.  The Federal Acquisition Institute has fostered a program that presents an effective model and way forward through three different focal points: Program, People and Process. 

 While many individuals in the government perform some aspect of program or project management, they may not necessarily understand the full scope of what an acquisition encompass from top to bottom.  FAI deciphers acquisitions by big "A" and little "a" processes.  Big "A" acquisitions are lifecycle management projects while little "a" are elements of the procurement cycles.  He emphasized the importance of understanding the differences between a program and project manager.  Program managers have a group of related work efforts while project managers have a temporary endeavor to create a unique product.  These different types of acquisition and management styles constitute how a manager should approach a project.      

Federal Acquisition Institute recognizes the people who often become project or program managers do so in addition to their real job.  This situation lends itself to part time project or program managers who often lack the experience and training required to manage projects.  The individuals that view their PM duties as secondary usually do not understand the acquisition process and their inherent role and responsibilities associated with the task.  Emphasis on program and project management certifications have definitely moved Federal agencies to ensure their PM’s are properly trained and certified before they embark on a major acquisition.   

The process FAI has proposed to help both project and program mangers understand their roles and responsibilities is the System Development Lifecycle Process (SDLC).  This logical process is used to develop information systems but can be altered to serve as a reference for government acquisition.  SDLC allows for an understood mission based statement of needs while validating requirements, best alternative selection, solution demonstrate, and produce and deliver. 

 
Success Path to the Senior Executive Service

Presenter:

Panelist: Chuck Grimes – OPM-Asst. Director, Human Capital; Ron Brade – NASA-Director, Human Capital; Dr. Fred Lang – Dept. of Commerce, (via phone) Director of Training and Knowledge Management

 Description:

Mr. Grimes gave an overview of the Senior Executive Service (SES)

Formed in 1978, there were “super grades” before.

  • Idea of SES is to form a cadre of executives that could migrate among agencies.  Idea has not worked well.
  • 7200 SES in government, 8500 slots, also senior technical slots, about 1000.
  • OPM allocates SES slots.
  • 90% of SES are career, 7% non-career, 2% limited term, 75% are in DC
  • 50% are eligible to retire in next three years
  • Not especially diverse, average age = 50
  • Challenges
    • Federal Human Capital survey results
    • Pay for performance
    • Pay compression SES vs. GS pay, might get an increase in SES pay
    • SES hiring process- career development, essay and shortened resume process
  • Executive Core Qualifications

1.      leading change

2.      leading people

3.      results driven

4.      building coalitions

5.      business acumen

  • Qualification Board reviews essay and approves candidate
  • CCAR – challenge, context, action, result
  • Candidate Development Program – 12-24 month program
  • Executive Development –OPM expects self-development.  Consider a coach or mentor.
  • Writing tips for ECQ’s
    1. limit to 10 pages
    2. limit to 12 pitch font
    3. If essay doesn’t pass, send back to agency
    4. Be proud but humble
    5. Use conversational style – tell a story
    6. Relate results to actions
    7. WWW.OPM.Gov/SES - good website

 Dr. Lang discussed the SES Candidate Development Program (CDP) and the components of the CDP program when you get into it.

  • CDP Program
    • Many agencies have a program – OPM must approve
    • Resume must be crisp and focus on results
    • Describe job with bullets for accomplishments
    • Most CDP programs open to Grades 14 and 15
    • Find out what agency is looking for
    • How do non-OPM programs work?
      • Agency makes individual decision based on own requirements
      • Non OPM program applicants can apply for SES CDP’s
      • Multiple agency experience is good.
  • Components of CDP’s

·        Will be assigned an executive mentor and take skills assessment tests.

·        Use program to acquire skill sets before entering the program.

·        Action Learning Project-at tail end of a program.  Present an idea, debate idea, and put into effect to test.

·        Advantages and Disadvantages of joining SES

1.      Money – but not driving force for someone who wants to lead.

 Mr. Brade discussed his path to becoming an SES.

  • Ron pursued two of the three paths to SES.  NASA CDP went for 22 months.
  • Ron debated getting into CDP.  At that time candidates were required to detail out of headquarters and he had a small family.
  • Recently, NASA dropped the mobility program
  • NASA program allowed him to tailor his experience – working in HR
  • Ron’s prior experience was in procurement
  • CDP also gave Ron option to go back to a grade 15 position if he wanted.
  • Candidates should consider applying to CDP’s in other agencies
  • No “extra credit” to be in a CDP program – path to more diverse experience.
  • Five ECQ areas – give two examples for each –ideally all different but can re-use some.
  • Get someone else to read your ECQ essay
  • You can also use non-work organizations to develop experience.
 
Workshop on Leaders Who Develop Leaders:      

Speaker: Ken Weitzel, Senior Research Director, Corporate Executive Board

Summary:

Ken Weitzel, who has over 25 years of IT consulting experience works for the CIO Executive Board, serving 600 -1,000 CIO teams worldwide. He posed the following questions:

  • Based on social research, leaders serve across the board – to CIOs, HR, Sales and Marketing, etc.
  • How engaged employees become, those who give discretionary effort, are more apt to become leaders.
  • Where will the next generation of IT leaders come from?  What qualities will they have?

 Data from 2005:

·  Individuals with software development industry knowledge

·  Working knowledge of infrastructure

·  Some project management skills

 Data from 2008:

·     Project management skills

·     Leadership and communication skills

·     Business management skills

·     Process-understanding skills

Need for the future: Vision of IT (3 – 5 years out)

  • Experience working on the job

o    Why is the individual there?

o    What are five essential roles of the IT field?

o    What is seen from the ‘boss?’

 

In 2008, when the market ‘tanked,’ many organizations cut budgets and let go of non-essential projects, which gave CIOs ‘breathing room.’  However, with this approach the organization will stay flat or reduce the workforce, which will decrease possibility of developing new leaders.

·             Leadership is learned through experience

·              While development is critical, it is not always treated as a high priority

·              Poor leaders can develop good performing leaders, but if senior leaders are good at development, they can provide 2 Xs the senior leader roles

·              Few CIOs invest the time/money in developing future leaders

·              Being able to develop leaders is a critical is a critical function

 

Senior leaders surveyed:

·              Define a rising leader in operation or management role as having significant responsibility, a line of sight for the future, and on the ‘fast track’ for development

·              Characteristics that really matter for rising leaders –

o       Performance advisory – telling or directing what’s needed

o       Asking good questions / listening – not ‘telling’

o       People who can participate in developing the next group of leaders

o       Leveraging strengths and giving feedback

o       Building quality, not quantity-based relationships

o       Developing a smart political landscape

o       Getting rising leaders to meet the right individuals

o       Putting people in the right roles with the right amount of ‘stretch’

o       Being an experience optimizer – what good came from previous role and how to use in the future

o       Being a net exporter of talent – letting rising leaders go to the next project (it will pay off)

 

To rise as a leader:

·              Mentor, serve on a non-profit board, or develop leadership skills by engaging with other offices

·              Talk with supervisors – ask for input on improvement

 

IT employees are very disengaged and need the following:

·              More engagement with supervisors

·              Supervisors who stress developing an IDP

·              Focusing on strengths/overcoming weaknesses

·              Developing metric/milestones for progress

·              Encouraging employees to push themselves beyond the ‘comfort zone’

 

As a rising leader:

·              Put yourself in a ‘failing’ project or area

·              Push your own comfort zone to grow

·              Have lots of peer interaction

·              Determine the number and quality of direct reports

·              Have a good mentor

·              Have decision-making authority

·              Benefit from working in another area or outside project

 

There is no teacher like experience and career accentuators:

§   Team leadership

§   Financial planning

§   Obtain an advanced degree

§   Be on a management committee

§   Get inserted into projects outside your current scope

 

As a leader promoting rising leaders, take your experience from ‘action to reflection’:

·              What I experienced?

·              What did I expect?

·              What would I have done differently?

·              What skills did I show effectively?

·              What skills are lacking in me?

·              Meet with a mentor and present a review of ‘here is what I learned’ and get feedback

 

As a Career Champion:

·              Find someone with high potential

·              Assist them in developing in areas of advancement

·              Find areas for them to advance into management

·              Realize that a person with talent will not necessarily make them a great manager

·              Assess their readiness:

o       Have they managed in different areas?

o       What are potential ‘derailers?’

o       How do they handle crises?

o       What coaching do they need?

o       Define the pros/cons of their skill set

o       Determine the right role, with the right amount of stretch

o       Determine how to help them get to the next level

 

A roadmap to success for rising leaders includes:

·              A plan of action

·              Demonstrating openness to coaching/criticism (if the person is open to rise, it helps management by building an understanding/communication)

·              Building an understanding of key players

·              Build relationships

·              Develop your own needs/objectives

·              Establish credibility

·              Rate your own effectiveness (high, medium, low)

·              How you receive coaching will determine your success a rising leader

 

GITEC Scholarships Awarded

 Description:

GITEC awarded the following deserving individuals scholarships:

·        David Jean – Senior at Potomac Falls High School in Virginia - $2,000

·        Robert Washington – Senior at Potomac Falls High School in Virginia - $2,000

·        Jessica Turmarkin – Senior at Wooton High School in Maryland - $2,000

·        Justin L. Washington – Senior at Potomac Falls High School in Virginia - $2,000

·        Matthew Boccuzzi – Senior at Seneca Valley High School  in Maryland - $2,000

Comments