Innovating with Less, by Steven VanRoekel, Federal CIO at FOSE 2012

Federal CIO Steven VanRoekel started off what promises to be a great FOSE 2012

Steven VanRoekel kicked off FOSE 2012 with a bang. He gave an intriguing, educational and creative presentation that gave good insight into what the federal government is doing right now, and how they are solving the problem of innovating on a flat (and declining) budgets.

Mr. VanRoekel started with the differences he found in government versus private sector. A Microsoft alum, he was used to pervasive secure internet connections, a high degree of technology know how, and a serious commitment to mobile. He found a productivity gap, skills gap and technology gap in the government, and no clear path to changing those.

Right now, he is using four movements to help aid with innovating (on a dime);

  • rooting out duplication and waste, via the Shared First effort
  • PortfolioStat: is the next wave of TechStat, and is a process in which every bureau reports up the IT that they are implementing
  • Datacenter consolidation – most immediate savings are re-invested in consolidation, so budgetary savings will take time
  • Shift to the Cloud – providing the FEDRAMP framework as de facto cloud acquisition program. This will be the catalyst for cloud adoption and provide OPEX instead of CAPEX

Mr VanRoekel is also looking at key tenets as he and the CIOs move forward;

  • Agency mission needs to the be mission throughout all operations
  • Maximizing ROI – a continuous effort and spirit of improvement
  • Addressing productivity gap and 21st century government
  • Business and citizen participation are national priorities
  • Cybersecurity – every device has some cybersecurity ramifications. Agencies will be held more accountable for cyber. And they will be held to three key FISMA standards; 1) PIV Cards, 2) Trusted Internet Connections 3) Continuous Monitoring

These tenets help guide decision makers and budgets. As well, they give the OMB CIO office more teeth when it comes to holding others accountable.

Mr. VanRoekel is also trying to institute a culture of innovation in government. The consumerization of all technology is pushing this, as well the greater expectations from the government’s own workforce. The government has an obligation, as well expectation, to deliver more to constituents. He believes our decision makers need to think more vertically than horizontally, not look at solutions to individual problems, but how to solve the problem for multiple subscribers and business users.

His goals for the future of government technology are the following;

  • deliver functionality as a government- it starts with open data, but does not end there
  • take a holistic approach to deliver mobile solutions- providing data and content by building and managing digital services and delivering them online, to mobile or via web services
  • provide a government as a platform framework- take a data-centric approach to architect for openness, interoperability and shared-first- be device/content/platform agnostic when delivering
  • engage citizens and private sector to join as partners in delivering better digital government services

Lastly, he made a call for action for citizens, private and public sectors

  • Citizenry: to demand more, and do more
  • Government: bring a lean start-up mentality to the government
  • Private: help build a government for tomorrow.

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