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New Models for Government IT: Government IT is at a Tipping Point

Today I will be live blogging at the Cisco Government Solutions Forum.

Session number two was titled, New Models for Government IT, which was part of the Cutting the Cost of Government track. Learning how to cut costs will continue to be a pressing issue for government. This session explores how technology can be used to streamline processes and transform governance, while reducing costs.

The panelist for this section included:

  • Dave McClure, Associate Administrator, Citizen Services & Innovative Technologies, GSA.
  • Alan Balutis, Director, IBSG, Cisco (Moderator)
  • Mark Day, Director of the FAS ITS Portfolio’s Strategic Solutions, GSA
  • Greg Sanchez, Health and Civilian Solutions CTO, General Dynamics Information Technology

Today’s session was a fascinating discussion from the panel. One of the panelist stated that “Today, the unthinkable, has become the thinkable,” compared to 5-6 years ago due to the current state of the economy and tight budgets. The panelist agreed that government IT is at an inflection point, either government IT will become transformative for government or become less relevant, make less impact and suffer from deep budget cuts. There was a great discussion on leadership, and the importance of sound leadership to push initiatives down through the agency.

One panelist mentioned that the job of IT is to build a platform to allow new technology to take place, there is an increasing demand from employees and citizens for government to be more agile – and providing opportunities for telework, bring your own device and government develop processes to adapt quickly to new and emerging technologies. The panelist also agreed that the IT community is being driven by efficiencies, government IT officials are being asked to produce results and prove value more than ever before.

The panelist also mentioned that there is a tsunami of data by the government, and it is the “age of analytics.” One of the on-going challenges is mining data and using data in the most efficient ways to drive policy and decision-making. Mobility was also mentioned as a key trend facing government IT. Panelist identified that mobile is revolutionary, and how we are yet to understand how the trend of mobility can be extremely game-changing.

Key Take Aways from Session:

  • Lots of common shared problems, operational, governance, issues – some new, some old
  • Common question is being asked by agencies – what is the core mission value we are trying to achieve?
  • Business case analysis is starting to take hold in government – government is asking questions like, “what kind of objectives are we trying to achieve”
  • Government is starting to share and collaborate more efficiently
  • Government is asking what are the most critical functions of the agency to perform mission objectives and what can the agency outsource
  • Consumerization of IT has brought need demands into the IT world
  • Expectation from citizens, employees that government IT will be more agile and create applications to allow BYOD, telework
  • Development of standardization to increase more sharing
  • Change management is a huge problem – make the end product look simple for the end user
  • Innovation, cost savings, security are capable of co-existing
  • Data is showing inefficiencies in the application space
  • Mobile is radically changing how government delivers services
  • Now is the time to start being innovative to start long term savings

I really enjoyed this session as panelist identified on-going trends. One of the under lying themes is that agencies need to more innovative – not because of pie-in-the-sky reasons, but in order to stay relevant. One panelist mentioned that now is the time to start testing new IT and redefining process, by being more innovative now, government can immediately start making savings and cut long term costs. Panelist encouraged IT professionals to push the envelope and continue to learn how to leverage new and emerging technology. Much of the presentation was about changing the culture around IT, and bring a more entrepreneurial spirit to federal IT.


The Government Solutions Forum is set up to be educational and interactive for participants. At GSF, Cisco and industry leaders will identify best practices how public sector agencies are effectively leveraging technology to improve operational efficiency, enable workforce productivity, and deliver measurable results. As we know, these three elements are something that public sector professionals are challenged with daily, and technology can be used to help combat the related operational and institutional hurdles that public agencies face. The Government Solutions Forum has four tracks, and I will be attending one session from each track. The four tracks are:

  • Mobile Collaboration
  • Unified Data Center & The Cloud
  • Cutting Cost of Government
  • Managing Risk in a Dynamic Network Environment

Throughout the event, you can follow on Twitter and get program updates by searching #ciscogsf. Slides and presentations will be available as well; they can be downloaded at www.cisco.com/go/gsf

For more than 25 years, governments around the world have partnered with Cisco to address challenges and achieve strategic objectives. By working closely with government leaders like you, we glean insights that cultivate thought leadership and help us design, execute, and test solutions based on best practices and our partner ecosystem. These ongoing relationships have forged thousands of proven implementations across a variety of public sector organizations, providing continuous innovation in how communities are managed and renewed.. Check out the Technology Sub-Community of which they are a council member.

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Jeff Ribeira

Nice report! I’ll preface my thoughts by saying I don’t actually work in government IT, but I’ve associated with many who do, and these are just a few thoughts. I do find it somewhat ironic that IT offices are often slower than others in adopting new practices/tech. You would think they’d be on the cutting edge. However, I honestly don’t think it’s a motivation/culture issue as much as it is a budget/politics issue. IT folk make up some of the most innovative people I’ve ever met, but investing in new technology is also one of the more costly purchases an agency can make (at least in terms of up front costs). So faced with tight budgets, it’s unfortunately the first thing that gets put on the back burner. That, coupled with the (often false) idea that IT people typically aren’t or can’t be “decision makers” means no matter how innovative an IT office wants to be, their opinions are too often simply ignored. This is probably already getting into another issue altogether, but in the meantime, my observation is that it is likely going to take an entire agency, not just a single faction of that agency, demanding change in order for upper management to actually take the plunge and upgrade their systems. I’d be interested to hear real IT manager’s experience/thoughts as well.