Government IT Reform: Collaborating for New Solutions

Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 8.04.03 PMCalls for fundamental IT reform have grown louder as government at all levels comes to grips with a new fiscal reality. Despite the rising intensity of the debate, the discussion has frequently rehashed the same tired and well-worn arguments. Many efforts have been strikingly unoriginal — rearranging staff, delaying capital purchases, instituting layoffs and taking other short-term measures.

But there’s an exception to the rule: The 25 Point Implementation Plan to Reform Federal Information Technology Management, published by the office of the U.S. Chief Information Officer. The plan promises to increase efficiency and cut costs at the same time, using new technology strategies and processes to break through the traditional barriers that have hampered IT innovation in the past.

While the plan is primarily aimed at federal agencies, it is relevant and inspirational for reformers at all levels of the government enterprise. Woven throughout the plan are a few central themes: The time for new solutions is here and these new solutions will require greater collaboration among states and federal agencies.

This issue brief, written in 2011, discusses the Obama administration’s plan to reform government IT processes and procurement — a plan spearheaded by the nation’s first CIO, Vivek Kundra. It provides additional detail on five recommendations that have particular resonance for state and local jurisdictions:

  1. Consolidate data center resources 
  2. Shift to a ‘cloud first’ policy 
  3. Strengthen program management 
  4. Consolidate commodity IT spending under agency CIO 
  5. Develop processes and tools to increase interaction with private sector

The report predicts that future government IT services and infrastructure will be:

  1. Consolidated and shared among agencies, counties, cities, states, regions, the federal government and even private enterprises
  2. Delivered via the cloud or other secure, shared infrastructure
  3. Structured, managed and funded according to private sector strategies

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