Since 2015 the government has bi-annually taken the pulse of IT modernization efforts with the FITARA scorecard. Created as part of the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA), the scorecard provides a glance at how agencies are managing seven key IT activities:
Agency CIO authority enhancements
Transparency and risk management
Portfolio review savings
Data center consolidation
Modernizing government technology (MGT)
Transition off Networx contract
The latest report unveiled at a roundtable event rather than the traditional hearing, showed three agencies achieving As, 16 Bs, and five Cs. Education and Labor received their first overall A score, joining the U.S. Agency for International Development, which had previously scored an A. Of those Bs, six were improvements from Cs - Agriculture, Energy, Homeland Security and Interior, Office of Personnel Management, and Social Security Administration.Continue reading →
Blockchain is best known as the power behind digital currency, but the base technology has so many more applications. At the root of blockchain is its ability to record the transactions of assets. This visibility is key to the digital transformation of government services and operations.
The most obvious use of blockchain may be in the movement of goods, providing a record of "ownership" of a specific asset and the path it has taken to get to its present location. The digital tracking removes the challenges of moving paperwork (either hard copy or electronic) between organizational boundaries, enabling a digital token to serve that same purpose.
Just because the ledger is "public" does not mean it is not secure. The U.S. Department of Defense is using blockchain to provide a single source of truth for tracking materials. It has proven to optimize processes and reduce costs, enhancing government readiness.Continue reading →
While the feared "silver tsunami" of retirements never really transpired, the government workforce is worryingly aging. More than 70% of the federal workforce is age 40 or older. In the general workforce, only 54% are 40 or older. This skewed population is not only worrisome in terms of retirements interrupting continuity, but also introduces a huge risk in terms of diversity. Younger workers may lack experience, but they bring with them a perspective that is critical in designing services and solutions that meet the needs of citizens under 40. Younger workers may also have more up-to-date training in leading-edge technologies currently being deployed across government.
The public service call of government is a huge plus for younger workers who want a job where they can make a difference and find meaning. However, the outdated, lengthy hiring process and pay scales keep many from applying. These and other recognized barriers are being addressed across government to inject youth into the federal service workforce.Continue reading →
The term "software factories" conjures up images of pristinely clean technology assembly lines with super-efficient singularly focused line workers. In reality, a software factory is not a place, but rather a process for improving the speed of software development and release. A software factory provides a repeatable, well-defined path to create and update software. As the name implies, a software factory applies manufacturing techniques and principles to software development. This means software factories provide templates, playbooks, and reusable code that people across the organization can use to quickly create new applications.
With DevOps andagile software development methods as a basis, a software factory combines tools, teams, and practices to standardize and reuse code, building upon accumulated knowledge. Organizations using software factories not only speed up software delivery but find that software is of higher quality being built on proven code.Continue reading →
The Technology Modernization Fund (TMF) was created by the Modernizing Government Technology Act of 2017 to more quickly fund needed modernization projects across government. With TMF, agencies can apply for funding to complete modernization activities without having to wait for the budget cycle to begin work on critical digital initiatives. Funding is incremental to ensure projects are working as expected.
Agencies must repay the investment either using the cost savings achieved with the tech implementation or through future budget allocations. The model is working. Of the 11 initial projects to receive TMF funding, two agencies have already reimbursed the fund, and five others have completed their projects and are in the process of reimbursement.