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Modernizing Government IT—By Looking to the Private Sector

By Orion Hindawi // February 3, 2017


Orion Hindawi is CEO of Tanium, which he founded in 2007.

From making our vehicles safer to accelerating disease research and allowing our businesses to operate more efficiently, new technology is revolutionizing nearly every aspect of our lives. Yet, while we are living in the world of the iPhone 7, federal procurement rules mean that government agencies we rely on often are forced to operate in the world of the Apple II.

Despite being the largest purchase of IT in the world (at approximately $78 billion a year), the federal government uses technology that remains outdated and inefficient. No private-sector business could compete trying to use the IT systems we’re relying on for vital government operations.

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As the country looks to a new president and Congress, it’s time to modernize the technology they—and the millions of federal employees—are using. That begins with a simple change in mindset: We need to stop pretending the federal government is different from the commercial space.

Because of this misguided thinking, we are wasting millions of dollars maintaining and purchasing outdated and inadequate technology that...

Make 2017 the Year of a Digital-First Federal Government

By Dan Helfrich // February 2, 2017


Dan Helfrich is a principal at Deloitte Consulting LLP and federal government services leader.

When a new administration begins, the only constant is change. While incoming agency leaders and policy details continue to be confirmed and ironed out, one thing that’s clear is the need for a digital-first government in order to create more efficiency, enable mission delivery and connect with citizens.

According to John Breeden II, a Nextgov columnist and CEO of the Tech Writers Bureau, federal technology trends in 2017 will run the gamut of topics, ranging from artificial intelligence to internet of things to blockchain to endpoint security. How can the federal government take advantage of these tech trends? The first step is by fulling embracing a digital-first mindset.

We Live in a Digital-First World

The importance of a digital-first government struck me recently when I came across this quote from Apple’s Angela Ahrendts: “I grew up in a physical world, and I speak English. The next generation is growing up in a digital world, and they speak social.”

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The youngest generation is growing up in a digital world...

Congress Needs to Adopt Tech's Commercial Pace to Better Support Government Organizations

By Erin Hawley // January 26, 2017

Orhan Cam/

Erin Hawley is the vice president of the public sector at DataRobot.

How do you predict the unpredictable?

For decades, this question could only be addressed by the largest technology companies. Massive computational resources and a large legislative footprint in Washington were a requirement to gain the attention of decision-makers. Imagine how many ideas were never put forward because of these constraints. What if our government was given access to the same benefits of micro-innovation found in our country’s technology incubators?

Envision real-time innovation brought to scale on the biggest issues facing our country. An idea could not only be the next big thing; it could become something that is also a game changer for society. Companies that can tap into such innovative ethos are what will allow us to begin to realize the goals of the Modernizing Government Technology Act.

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With the 115th Congress in session, members are concerned with pressing issues such as the health and well-being of our nation’s citizens and the protection of our country’s borders. Big data and automated machine learning offer an opportunity for federal...

Why Relying on Cellphones is a Terrible Idea in a Crisis

By John Breeden II // January 25, 2017


John Breeden II is an award-winning journalist and reviewer with over 20 years of experience covering technology and government. He is currently the CEO of the Tech Writers Bureau, a group that creates technological thought leadership content for organizations of all sizes. Twitter: @LabGuys

Last weekend, many of my friends and family decided to attend that unprecedented event that swept through downtown Washington, dominating the news and headlines. No, not that one. I am talking about the Women's March on Washington.

Originally planned and permitted for 250,000 people, a respectable number to be sure, it ballooned to at least twice that, and probably more depending on whom you ask. And while I’m not sure if recently inaugurated President Donald Trump heard the protesters’ message, I do know one thing: He wouldn’t have been able to take a call from them.

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I’ve been testing cellular phone technology for a very long time. I used to be The Washington Post’s “Can you hear me now?” guy who would head out once a year armed with cellphones from every network (there...

FITARA Must Become the Catalyst for Change in Federal IT

By Bob Osborn // January 24, 2017

Artem Samokhvalov/

Bob Osborn is federal chief technology officer at ServiceNow.

Federal agencies have made significant strides in their IT modernization efforts, but the publicly reported results for these efforts have done more to shame agencies than encourage them.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee released its third round of Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act scorecard results recently. Although the federal government’s digital transformation has begun, the results of this latest FITARA scorecard indicate there is a long road ahead before they can successfully modernize their IT systems, as no agency has received an “A” in the history of the FITARA scorecard.

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Dave Powner, director of IT management issues for the Government Accountability Office, warned “additional improvements are needed” for the proper implementation of FITARA.

Since FITARA’s inception, agencies have focused on the policy’s key objectives, spanning from federal data center consolidation to increasing the transparency of IT spending by way of the Office of Management and Budget IT Dashboard. Slowly but surely, this hard work appears to be paying off as the latest results revealed 12 federal agencies improved their scores...

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