As a leader in web-based software for state and local government agencies, we (BasicGov) are commenting on the US Federal Government IT Plan (Plan) released December 9, 2010 and what this means for state and local governments (click to read full Plan)
3 Areas in US Federal Government IT Implementation Plan a Fit for State and Local Government Adoption: Cloud First Policy, Modular Development and Flexible IT Budgets Key
1. Cloud First Policy
The Shift to a“Cloud First” policy brings benefits economically, IT flexibility to scale up or down, and fast selection and implementation (page 7 of the Plan). It states, “ Cloud computing brings a wide range of benefits:
• Economical: Cloud computing is a pay-as-you-go approach to IT, in which a low initial investment is required to begin, and additional investment is needed only as system use increases.
• Flexible: IT departments that anticipate fluctuations in user demand no longer need to scramble for additional hardware and software. With cloud computing, they can add or subtract capacity quickly and easily.
• Fast: Cloud computing eliminates long procurement and certification processes, while providing a near-limitless selection of services.”
BasicGov Commentary on Cloud First Policy: Cash strapped and resource strained state and local government agencies would benefit greatly from a similar cloud first policy.
2. Modular IT and Flexible IT Budgets
In the Plan (page 19), it states that “Evidence shows that modular development leads to increased success and reduced risk. Moving forward, Federal IT programs must be structured to deploy working business functionality in release cycles no longer than 12 months, and, ideally, less than six months, with initial deployment to end users no later than 18 months after the program begins.” The Federal government plans to achieve this modular approach by working with the industry leaders and building templates and samples.
Regarding flexible IT budgets, the Plan (page 24), outlines that transparency towards goals is critical. “Program leaders and CIOs with increased budget flexibility will face higher expectations around successful delivery from agency leaders and Congress. Achieving greater flexibility in funding also requires greater transparency into spending effectiveness. Agencies will need to engage in more frequent dialogues with appropriations staff and to clearly demonstrate the performance of IT investments in achieving mission goals.”
BasicGov Commentary on Modular IT and Flexible IT budgets: Delivery of projects in six months is a very achievable goal in the cloud. BasicGov modules can be deployed in any order depending on the need and new modules are added easily as the government client has experience in the use of the system which also eliminates upfront implementation and training burden. State and local governments have yearly budget reviews and this tends to slow down the adoption of IT. With a more flexible IT budget, state and local governments could create a “cloud first” budget line that would allow the agency to move forward to adopt IT modules incrementally while showing success.
3. Myth-buster Awareness Campaign
In the Plan (page 32), the US Federal government outlines its “myth-buster” awareness campaign to eliminate artificial private sector engagement barriers. This campaign will include using online communities, video channels, Q&A forums, webinars and presentations at industry conferences.
BasicGov Commentary on Myth-Buster Campaign: State and local governments can tap into the US Federal government’s online educational information and share easily with all departments to move its agency into an innovative, flexible and more productive organization.