A Short History of Shared Services…and What’s Next.

Shared Services in government is nothing new. The idea began in the 1980s with the consolidation of payroll and some other administrative functions. In the '90s the focus was on creating entities that could provide common business functions across government and, in that effort, become a cost center.

The 2000s saw the rise of the term 'Line of Business' that looked at common business functions across government to identify opportunities to transform, streamline and share. The Obama Administration looked specifically to IT as a shared service, releasing the Federal IT Shared Services Strategy that provided federal agency chief information officers and key stakeholders guidance. This guidance focused on the implementation of shared IT services as a key principle of their efforts to eliminate waste and duplication, with the intention to reinvest in innovative mission systems.

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For Government, It’s Already 2021

With many people in a rush to put 2020 behind us, those of us in the government market can safely say we're operating like it's 2021 (not as fun as partying like it's 1999, but anything beats 2020, right?). While the rush to meet the deadline for federal government fiscal year (GFY) spending on September 30 may have felt oddly comforting in its familiarity, there are many changes happening in government acquisition and procurement to make processes more responsive to today's workforce and technology needs.

The use of automation is expanding beyond using Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to handle rote, repetitive tasks. RPA has been incredibly beneficial for freeing up the time of acquisition professionals to focus on innately human activities, rather than administrative tasks. Now, acquisition groups are going a step further and introducing Artificial Intelligence (AI) to improve processes by tapping into all of the data available in acquisition systems. For example, GSA uses an AI-enabled bot to "track, find and change Section 508 disability clauses in contracts." This helps ensure compliance, feeding updated clauses to humans for final review.

In September, the Department of Defense (DOD) issued Directive 5000.01, an update to the 5000 series instructions that focuses on the roles and responsibilities for its acquisition process in an effort to simplify the buying process. The end goal of this simplification is to get technology in the hands of the warfighter faster. Continue reading

DevOps Shines as Federal IT Modernization Efforts Grow

From time to time GovEvents will come across information we feel our members and audience would benefit from. Here's something we wanted to share:

The Modernizing Government Technology Act (MGT) and other related initiatives are pushing agencies to move away from aging, legacy applications as well as costly, complex software projects. The goal is to have more secure, agile, and cost-effective IT infrastructures replace them.

DevOps, a moniker that is a combination of development and operations, is emerging as an approach that could help Federal agencies modernize and speed new development efforts, especially as they migrate to cloud services. DevOps is a software engineering culture as well as a practice that advocates automation and monitoring throughout the software development lifecycle. It generally pairs development teams with IT operations throughout the development cycle, eliminating the somewhat adversarial role that sometimes has naturally formed in many organizations. Continue reading

MGT Passed-So What Now?

From time to time GovEvents will come across information we feel our members and audience would benefit from. Here's something we wanted to share:

The Modernizing Government Technology (MGT) Act became the law of the land on Dec. 21, when President Trump signed it into law as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). This is the much-vaunted revolving capital fund-cut out of the original FITARA bill in committee-that establishes a central bucket of money at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), managed by the General Services Administration (GSA), for Feds to modernize legacy IT systems. Great idea when you consider that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) tells us Uncle Sam owns 777 supply chain systems and over 600 HR systems-and in light of the fact that we spend 80 percent of the $80-120 billion annual IT budget on life support for geriatric systems that should long since have been euthanized...

Show Me the Money.

However, while MGT is now the law, what does it really mean? This is an interesting question. Recent talk of MGT has trumpeted the $500 million central revolving capital fund-exciting, but a long step down from the $3.1 billion IT modernization piggy bank originally attached to FITARA. That said, it's significant to note that while the MGT Act made it into law, appropriators sat on their hands. Yes, believe it or not, there's no funding for MGT at this time. And, interestingly, there's a discrepancy between the bill, that authorizes $250 million each year in FY18 and FY19, and President Trump's budget request for MGT FY18, which was $228 million.

So, MGT NBD? Absolutely not. And, here's why... Continue reading

Federal Events Rebound in 2015

Market Connections released their seventh annual Federal Media and Marketing Study earlier this month and it has great news for the federal event community. The survey of over 3,400 federal employees showed a significant jump in event attendance. In 2015, 55% of respondents reported attending 1-3 events. That is up from 42% in 2014. Federal event attendance numbers had been declining for the past four years, making this year's jump even more notable.

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The numbers back up what we have been hearing from our GovEvents members. Budgets and rules around travel and training have been easing up. Panelists at the event agreed that the tightening down of budgets and approval for events and training was an overcorrection in response to the GSA scandal and now we're finally seeing the pendulum shift back to a more rational place. But it was not just the GSA scandal that led to the decline in event participation. Panelists report there was a perfect storm of scandal, sequestration, and OMB guidance that left people confused as to what was "right" in terms of event attendance. Continue reading