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How Microservices Can Help Build a More Responsive Government

By Ugorji Nwoke // October 10, 2017

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Ugorji Nwoke is the client architect at MuleSoft.

Citizen expectations are rising fast, in large part due to the experiences provided by private-sector disruptors like Amazon, Google and Apple. While Amazon plans to use drones to deliver products directly to customers’ doorsteps, most government agencies still don’t provide an easy way for citizens to get quick responses on government websites.  

Citizens expect transparency, accessibility and responsiveness from government services, and those expectations are only rising as the private sector continues to innovate along these lines. In a 2016 Accenture survey, 85 percent of U.S. citizens said they expect “the same or higher quality” from government digital services as they do from commercial organizations. Furthermore, these expectations have extended beyond the citizens that government serves to the employees working within government itself, as well as those serving in the armed forces. They’re all demanding digital services commensurate with what’s offered in the private sector.

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This, in turn, has turned up the pressure on government agencies to deliver on an increasing number of digital projects, without increased budget to support these evolving...

Without Automation, There is No Federal IT Modernization

By Bob Osborn // October 6, 2017

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Bob Osborn is the federal chief technology officer at ServiceNow.

Of the executive orders signed during President Donald Trump’s first six months, the most sweeping came in March and called for a reorganization of the executive branch.

The order came in tandem with the president’s budget blueprint that outlined a proposal “to eliminate funding for programs that are unnecessary, outdated, or not working.” It has been clear since the start of the Trump administration that increasing government efficiency is a top priority. This month, agencies have delivered their first drafts of the required reform plans and now it’s time for agencies to begin turning these plans into action.

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These initial plans are critical for setting into motion the modernization efforts across the federal government. However, I do expect that agencies will have a tempered response, at least initially, as they await developments on funding. The Modernizing Government Technology Act has passed through the House but is waiting for the House and Senate conference committee to hammer out differences in the defense authorization bill, where it's tucked into the Senate version...

October to Focus on Ghosts, Goblins and Cybersecurity Threats

By John Breeden II // October 3, 2017

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

October has always been the scariest month. The days are getting shorter, the first hint of winter sneaks into our lives again, trees turn into skeletal remnants of their glorious summer silhouettes, and of course there’s a mix of fright and fun as Halloween creeps ever closer. All of that kind of makes October an odd choice for Department of Homeland Security to declare it National Cyber Security Awareness Month.

But then again, with major breaches like the one at Equifax potentially touching half the population of the United States, with millions more victims just identified, cybersecurity threats can be pretty frightening, and certainly serious.

DHS has been doing this since 2013, though it kind of existed in a sort-of stealth mode for a long time. Other than some Twitter posts, there was not really a lot of meat on the cybersecurity bone. The government is trying to change that this year, with a lot more activities and...

How the FITARA Scorecard Could Impact the Future of Software Licensing

By Steven Wells // October 2, 2017

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Steven Wells is the senior director of program management for DLT Solutions.

Federal agencies didn’t fare so well in the latest Federal Information Technology Acquisition Act Scorecard, with more agencies’ grades declining than improving. This is especially true of the new category of software licensing where an astonishing 21 out of 24 agencies received an F grade.

New to the scorecard, the software licensing metric evaluates how well agencies have implemented the MEGABYTE Act, which requires agency chief information officers to improve software license management, including inventory and analysis of usage. While the software license optimization metric wasn’t included in overall scores this time around, it will be in the next scorecard.

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And this metric is about more than just checking a box. An Office of Management and Budget report found that federal agencies spend almost $9 billion on software through over 42,000 transactions, leading to unnecessary purchases and ultimately wasted taxpayer dollars. In a time of fiscal uncertainty and evolving regulations, it is critical for agencies to improve their approach to software acquisition and management.

Fortunately, there are immediate steps...

Small Changes Could Make a Big Impact in Federal Acquisition

By Dan Helfrich // September 29, 2017

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Dan Helfrich is a principal at Deloitte Consulting and leads its federal government practice. Follow him on Twitter @dhelfrich21.

A study in the New England Journal of Medicine revealed how a set of small changes a group of hospitals made—such as everyone in the operating room introducing themselves and their role in the surgery—dramatically improved patient care. These study results made me think of what small changes the federal government could make in how it buys goods and services that could bring greater innovation and boost mission outcomes.

Here are three small changes to federal procurement that could lead to big impacts for the government:

Procurement Toward People Not Resumes

Some contracts continue to have the same experience and education requirements year over year. But some of the talent you need may be younger, more skilled at digital or mobile tech. These long-standing, narrow evaluation methods requirement may mean your agency is missing out on innovative, critical talent.

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Take Facebook Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, for example. He has less than 13 years of formal work experience and no college degree. He...