YOURcloud, Taking Shared Services to the Next Level – Plus Your Weekend Reads (Telework Week)

On the DorobekINSIDER this week:

  • Sequestration Fixes Could Still Hurt Feds? What Are They? Sequestration carries the threat of widespread furloughs of many federal employees, but the alternatives could amount to a case of pick your poison for those same feds. Some of the solutions include cuts to retirement contributions, pay freezes and a reduced federal workforce.
  • Sequestration Management Tip: Level With Your Employees: Sequestration is here, and it’s here to stay for at least a little while. And this new reality has created some major management challenges for government leaders. So how do you manage through the uncertainty? Insights from the Partnership for Public Service.
  • Sequestration & Your Retirement – How the Cuts Effect Your TSP? Will the sequester impact your retirement funds? The simple answer is yes. How would the cuts could happen and how much? We get insights from the TSP Board’s Kim Weaver.
  • Is Government Just Pockets of Excellence? Government is full of the best and the brightest, in fact, you might argue that the world’s foremost scientist, engineers, topic experts all reside in government. So why is it so difficult to make progress?

Issue of the Week: Cloud Computing

Have you heard of YOURcloud? It’s the Excellence.gov winning Cloud program that allows sites to retain their own autonomy while leveraging a common cloud computing platform to enable DOE/NNSA labs, plants and headquarters to deploy resources into individually managed, secure cloud enclaves resulting in the Federal Government’s first department-wide secure hybrid community cloud.

YOURcloud is an innovative secure, multi-tenant hybrid community cloud powered by the award winning Infrastructure on Demand (IoD) cloud service broker developed at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Anil Karmel is the Deputy CTO at NNSA. Karmel told Chris Dorobek on the DorobekINSIDER radio program that YOURcloud gives users infrastructure on demand.

“YOURcloud gives you the power of the cloud with the security greater than you had before. If work is found to be compromised it can be automatically removed into remediation enclaves and given access to remediation resources so it can be rectified before it’s put back into its source enclave. That makes cloud security real. Couple with software designed security wherein we define the security paramaters for all the workload as it is substantiated so that as the workload moves so too does the security,” said Karmel.

How do you Pay?

“The model we’ve deployed is a full allocation model. There are cloud models where you can consume cloud resources and you pay for those resources once you use them. That’s great on day one when you can consume 1,000 serves and you don’t have a bill to pay. The problem is day 100 when one of those servers is running a job that consumes a ton of resources and you get an exorbitant bill. Federal budgeting doesn’t respect fluctuating bills of that nature. So for this construct we’ve adopted a full allocation model wherein based on the amount of resources you want to consume, those resources are reserved for your use and you pay a fee on a fixed rate monthly. You can scale that up and down,” said Karmel.

Weekend Reads

There has been much discussion in recent days about telework. Yahoo’s new CEO Marissa Mayer cancelled the company’s work-at-home policy.
  • NYT:Yahoo’s In­Office Policy Aims to Bolster Morale
  • And Best Buy, which had been one of the pioneers of the ROWE program — Results Only Work Environment — recently pulled back from that effort. OPM also had attempted to test the ROWE concept with limited success.
  • Why you don’t have flex schedules: OPM’s failed 1-year experiment | Federal Times
As we end telework week. We feature some reads on telework, which seems to be at a crossroads.
  • NYT: Yahoo Orders Home Workers Back to the Office

A memo explaining the policy change, from the company’s human resources department, says face-to-face interaction among employees fosters a more collaborative culture — a hallmark of Google’s approach to its business.

In trying to get back on track, Yahoo is taking on one of the country’s biggest workplace issues: whether the ability to work from home, and other flexible arrangements, leads to greater productivity or inhibits innovation and collaboration. Across the country, companies like Aetna, Booz Allen Hamilton and Zappos.com are confronting these trade-offs as they compete to attract and retain the best employees.

  • The Economist: Telework: Tech lets people to work from home. Yahoo is trying to stop them

The decision touched a raw nerve in Silicon Valley because it is in the midst of a bout of soul-searching about the workplace. Why, many people are asking, have so few women risen to the top of the tech world? (Ms Mayer herself is a rare exception.) The news has also triggered a broader discussion about how much freedom workers should be given to decide where to spend their working hours.

Fans of telecommuting point out that it is on the rise almost everywhere. A survey of over 11,000 workers in 24 countries published last year by Ipsos, a polling firm, found that almost a fifth of respondents who said they are connected online to their workplaces telecommute frequently; 7% of those polled said they worked from home every day.

  • WSJ: More Americans Working Remotely

More American employees are working from home at least one day a week—a trend that could lower companies’ costs and boost productivity.

Some 13.4 million people, or 9.4% of U.S. workers, labored at least one day at home per week in 2010, compared with 9.2 million people, or 7% of U.S. workers in 1997, according to one Census Bureau report.

In case you haven’t heard it yet, Marissa Mayer the new leader of Yahoo! has decided to terminate telecommuting for all Yahoo! employees as of June. Not just some telecommuting, all telecommuting. Her reasoning appears to be:

  1. Yahoo! needs to be more competitive;
  2. competitive organizations always have all their employees in the office every day so that they can interact with each other;
  3. therefore Yahoo! needs to have all of its employees in the office every day so that they can interact with each other and be more competitive!

The only problem with that syllogism is that statement 2, although generally applicable around the time of Abraham Lincoln, is wrong for most information-based organizations in the 21st century. Here’s why.

  • New Research: What Yahoo Should Know About Good Managers and Remote Workers – E. Glenn Dutcher – Harvard Business Review
  • Yahoo’s impending roundup of its free-range employees reflects a deep corporate ambivalence toward telework. Yes, companies like giving employees the much-appreciated right to work at home, but can a worker really contribute productively to a team while sitting on the couch in her pajamas? My own recent research shows that managers aren’t wrong to worry: In an experiment, I found that mixed teams of remote and in-office workers are less productive than 100%-in-office teams.
  • Mashable:How to Solve the Top Pitfalls of Working From Home
And one non-telework story, Daum: Online’s ‘nasty effect’: A new study shows that comments can actually sway the perceptions and opinions of otherwise objective readers.

Meghan Daum in the Los Angeles Times on the rancor of online commenters “I’ve been railing about online comments for a while now,” writes Meghan Daum, noting how anonymity and volume often combine and produce what she calls the “nasty effect,” whereby acid comments lower the level of discourse online. Drawing upon recent research which shows that online comments affect how readers interpret the very article or post being commented on, Daum contemplates their “dramatic effect on how writers write and, perhaps more important, on how readers read — especially those who don’t remember a time before electronic media.”

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