CIOs: Why Won't Federal Agencies Share Apps with Each Other?


Sharing apps would reduce the need for new tech projects, CIOs say.

Federal agencies aren't sharing enough technology with each other, forcing them to redevelop existing technology, some chief information officers say. 

"Why can’t we share what we do across the federal government?" Chad Sheridan, chief information officer for the Department of Agriculture's Risk Management Agency, said during a cloud computing panel on Wednesday. "It's maddening that we have data intake systems or form management systems or workflow management systems. And it seems like the industry, and our own people, for job security or for market share continue to build the same thing over and over again, that [is] maybe 3 percent different than the other guy['s product]."

He added, "If you have Salesforce as a platform, why aren't we sharing applications? Why do I have to try and build them myself?" 

In response, Joe Paiva, chief information officer at the International Trade Administration, told the audience that his office is encouraging agencies to share Salesforce applications and, eventually, those built for Amazon Web Services and other cloud services. Paiva said he had contacted the General Services Administration and USDA, among other federal groups. 

"The intent right now is that we're going to take every app we develop on the Salesforce platform, and put it in the app exchange for every other federal agency or citizen to download for free," he said. If searching for a task management system, for instance, "I plan to take on the GSA and USDA [work] and I'm going to just download and tweak it, but I'm not going to create something new."

(Image via VLADGRIN/