USDA Official: Private Sector Needs To Help Us Share Technology


The Agriculture Department's Risk Management CIO asked industry to take the lead on shared services.

Technology contractors should be encouraging federal agencies to share their services, an official from the Agriculture Department said Wednesday. 

“We’re not doing a good enough job reusing [technology] across federal lines,” Chad Sheridan, chief information officer of the Risk Management Agency within USDA, said at a MeriTalk conference in Washington. “But the industry needs to be doing the same things. If you're seeing a good solution in one agency, why isn't that becoming, if you're a product vendor ... part of your base product?"

It's "perfectly legal" for vendors to "go charge that other government agency the same thing they charged me," Sheridan said. "Perfectly legal, morally repugnant."

While "the money train isn't coming from the federal government," private sector vendors should incorporate what one agency has accomplished with Software-as-a-Service or Platform-as-a-Service, or even a custom-built product or feature, into its offerings for other agencies, Sheridan said. 

"I want to partner with companies that think beyond, 'What's the sale I've got to make,'" he added.

If agencies are able to share even a part of technology -- "even if it's 40 percent, it's 40 percent of the money I don't have that I don't need to spend," he said.

“Help us out,” Sheridan said.