Smart Government

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I recently discussed cloud on a Government Matters TV program that aired May 2. LaVerne Council/Former CIO, Department of Veterans Affairs and National Managing Principal for Enterprise Technology Strategy and Innovation, Grant Thornton and I addressed these issues. To view the segment, please visit https://govmatters.tv/aws/


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IDC Government Insights observes that government agencies are at many different stages of Big Data maturity. A recent survey of 210 U.S. federal government respondents, conducted in October 2015, indicates that the majority, 68.3%, of government agencies surveyed have yet to establish and leverage Big Data capabilities and expertise at the enterprise level (i.e., managed maturity). To help organizations understand the underlying strengths and weaknesses of their Big Data capabilities and compare them with that of their government peers, we also measured maturity across the five key dimensions of the Big Data and Analytics MaturityScape.


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IBM announced today that the U.S. Army selected IBM Hybrid Cloud to power the Logistics Support Activity (LOGSA) one of the biggest logistics systems in the U.S. federal government that provides on-time integrated logistics support of Army operations worldwide. LOGSA is home of the Logistics Information Warehouse (LIW), the Army’s official storehouse for collecting, storing, organizing and delivering logistics data. It provides critical logistics information capabilities through analytics tools and business intelligence solutions to acquire, manage, equip and sustain the materiel needs of the U.S. Army. LIW provides services to more than 65,000 users and 150 direct trading partners around the world.


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The U.S. Federal Government is using both tactics to fight the deadly Ebola virus. With over 5,000 infected and 1,000 deaths attributed to the Ebola virus, the Centers for Diseases Control (CDC)'s Emergency Operations Center in Atlanta has activated its highest level, maintaining 24/7 operations to coordinate the agency's efforts. CDC has been training workers on proper infection control and teaching them how to properly don Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). CDC is also conducting chain of transmission monitoring through contact tracing of all the people who come into close contact with sick patients.


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The current and past years have witnessed massive storms, earthquakes, unprecedented forest fires, emergencies, and other urgent situations. Hurricane Sandy, an event that many scientists believe is attributable to climate change that may continue to impact the severity of storms, was an eye opener for many government agencies. Although the public received warnings and prepared days before the storm’s destruction, the aftermath created power outages impacting communications, availability of potable water and gasoline, and pervasive need for food, warm clothing, and shelter. Successful response and recovery operations require the ability to shift services from multiple agencies into a high gear while maintaining tight control of all resources, rapid coordination of different sectors, and the communication of critical information before, during, and after the emergency. Frequently, it's after an emergency that federal state and local agencies discover that they require expansive sharing of information, collaboration, and coordination of services to recover, rebuild, and restore communities to normalcy.


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The Conundrum of Big Data: Panacea or Problem

By Adelaide OBrien

Big Data may be an overhyped buzz word today, with recent provocative headlines about Big Data from advancing human Genome research to find specific markers for cancer or genetic diseases, to Big Data analytics raising big privacy questions, as well as the problems of our digital footprint haunting us forever. However one recent headline gave me pause, as it asked the hypothetical question of whether Big Data could have prevented the recent Fort Hood shootings.


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Federal agencies are taking some unwarranted risks in their Big Data projects. These risks include not managing Big Data strategy at the enterprise level, a lack of collaboration, communication and coordination with various parts of an agency, a lack of an information management process, and a lack of even such intuitive technologies as providing apps for accessing and analyzing data on mobile devices.


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Catching Bad Actors with Big Data

By Adelaide OBrien

As you watched the news or read the headlines about the capture of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, who was apprehended in Mazatlán, Sinaloa last Saturday, alleged to have contributed to the death and destruction of millions through drug addiction, violence, and corruption, your first thoughts may not have been "that's the result of our government investing in Big Data technologies." Had you made this connection, you would be right according to a recent article in Nextgov.com.


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Government IT Procurement Reform

By Adelaide OBrien

The discussion about Government IT procurement reform has heated up. Several legislative proposals are grabbing headlines for recommended government structural changes. While these recommended changes may prevent future high profile IT projects from going amiss, basic block and tackling within agencies to manage their IT investment portfolio is required. That, coupled with innovation, supported by a culture of acceptable risks, may provide the best return on government IT investment.


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A Good Time to Focus on IT at OPM

By Adelaide OBrien

Katherine Archuleta, the President's nominee to lead the Office of Personnel Management, has expressed a focus on IT, new IT leadership, leveraging agency deep domain expertise, as well as seeking advice from experts from government and the private sector. This is a great recipe for effecting change at this agency, bringing velocity to the slowed momentum of retirement claims processing, and stepping up to the new challenge of administering multiple state health plans as a result of the passage of the Affordable Care Act.



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