COTS Solutions to Help States Ride the “Silver Tsunami”

Rachel Eckertby Rachel Eckert, Senior Analyst

There’s been COTS Solutions to Help States Ride the “Silver Tsunami”a lot of talk lately among state government CIOs around the impending “silver tsunami,” with CIOs expecting as much as one third of their workforce to reach retirement eligibility by 2020. To make matters worse, many CIOs are struggling to recruit, retain, and incentivize the next generation workforce, the so-called “millennials.” A combination of mass retirements and unsuccessful recruiting efforts will undoubtedly leave a large workforce gap in state’s IT ranks and a significant problem for the states at large.

One of the main functions of state IT workforces is to support and maintain the large, aging infrastructure operating in most states. As this “silver tsunami” hits, the states will largely be without the knowledge, expertise, experience, and manpower necessary to operate and maintain their IT systems that keep states up and running. The question of how to keep their infrastructures and systems running is something the states are going to have to grapple with in the near future.

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The Future Role of Big Data in Government

Stephanie Meloni_65x85by Stephanie Meloni, Senior Analyst

Government agencies The Future Role of Big Data in Government have moved beyond merely defining what Big Data is and are now evaluating how they can use Big Data to help advance their agencies’ mission. At last week’s Government Leadership in the Data Age event, hosted by immixGroup and FedInsider, government panelists addressed the challenges of working with agency data. Much of this discussion centered on making data fit-for-use. Tony Summerlin, the Chief Data Officer for the Federal Communications Agency, said the most important piece of performing data analytics is knowing why you are collecting the data in the first place. Analysis for analysis’ sake won’t help the government answer critical questions — those need to be asked at the onset of any analytics project.

Linda Powell, the Chief Data Officer for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), mentioned a similar issue with the data itself, pointing out meta-data is the key to performing analytics. Without good meta-data, the government isn’t able to extract actionable intelligence from their data. She also mentioned data protection will always be a key element to data management and analytics. The CFPB has taken their security standards an additional step beyond those set by NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology). Right now NIST is seeking to define government Big Data use cases and requirements via the Big Data Interoperability Framework. This will be a hot topic of conversation at future Big Data events, as this framework will affect security standards, architectures and the future of data science in the government.

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3 Key Takeaways from FY17 Submission Guidelines

Chris Wiedemann_65 x 85by Chris Wiedemann, Senior Analyst

If you’ve noticedOffice of Management and Budget program managers and office directors running around in a frenzy the past few weeks, know it was justified. The Office of Management and Budget just released their FY17 budget submission guidance, meaning program managers have to start the request process all over again. These are always trying times for the people calling the budgetary shots, since they’re faced with the difficult task of balancing current mission requirements, detailed business case justifications for next year’s budget, and estimating funding requirements for October 2016, all at once. At immixGroup, we preach the importance of getting your product baked into system requirements before they are written. The budget request process is the best time to do it.

Here are three key takeaways in the FY17 budget submission guidance that will be front of mind to IT program managers right now:

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FAA Shifting Focus to Cyber

Kevin Shaker_65 x 85by Kevin Shaker, Analyst, Market Intelligence

We’ve seenLock on computer chip an increase in demand for big data and analytics products due to continued developments in NextGen at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which I covered in my last blog post. However, after a recent breech in FAA’s IT security and an audit from the GAO, the administration has made acquisition of information assurance and threat & vulnerability management products a high priority.

This February the agency found malware on an administrative computer system. Forensic analysts believe the attack occurred via email. FAA responded by issuing a sole source RFP for Cyber Security Management Center support services to SRA International, which does most of the administration’s securing of data. The discovery of malware in an FAA system shows a critical need for increased cybersecurity services and products — as an attack could quite possibly lead to a plane’s inability to function, jeopardizing public safety.

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The Time is NOW for Software Publishers to Examine Government License Terms

Steve Headshot 65 x 85by Steve Charles, Co-founder

One of the{139d2873-a0fe-4038-b1d6-98fbd57fb9ba}_GSA main benefits of the GSA Schedule contract is its capability to define line item-specific license and service terms in the contract so they automatically apply at the order stage, with no disconnects or need for negotiation. For years, some software publishers and their government contracting partners have simply linked to the OEM’s commercial license agreements via a URL, hoping those terms would then somehow magically apply to subsequent orders. GSA’s new rule states clearly that such “pointing” is not contractually binding. Further, the burden is on the publisher and the contracting partner to add the terms they care about for each priced item explicitly within the contract.

The new rule also lists 15 terms GSA regularly sees in commercial license agreements that it says violate federal law and cannot be legally enforced. Our summary of these is published in this Washington Business Journal article.  While most manufacturers will learn to manage around these exceptions, many have yet to build a solid, disciplined process to assure that the terms defining each item purchased are expressly stated and contractually binding.  At immixGroup, this has been our standard practice since our founding in 1997, so we’re happy to address any questions or comments as well as provide scalable solutions for manufacturers and their channel partners!

Next-gen Supercomputing Opportunities at DOE

Tom O'KeefeTomas O’Keefe, Consultant, Market Intelligence

There’sDatacenter been quite a bit going on at the Department of Energy (DOE) in the past few months. Bob Brese left as CIO (Michael Johnson replaced him) and Deputy CIO Donald Adcock left DOE as well. The department released its first ever Quadrennial Energy Review, a blueprint for modernizing the U.S. energy infrastructure. The department’s Joint Cybersecurity Coordination Center (JC3) entered its second year of life, protecting the department’s networks and allowing for safe and secure collaboration among its research communities. DOE also announced they have more than $600M dedicated to piloting and building the next generation of supercomputers.

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OSD Agencies Counting on the Cloud to Optimize IT Operations

Mark Wisingerby Mark Wisinger, Analyst

Cloud computing Cloudis set to take off within the specialty agencies that fall under the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) — an often overlooked part of the DOD. Agencies like the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA), and the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) are all pushing to incorporate the cloud.

The Defense Logistics Agency, one of the largest OSD agencies, is currently developing a cloud computing strategy and sees the cloud as a necessary complement to its efforts at downsizing overhead and consolidating its data centers. Part of this strategy may mean greater reliance on DOD’s private cloud. DLA plans to move many of its applications, including email and collaboration services, to DISA’s hosting service. However, the DLA is also looking for ways to leverage commercial cloud and they are currently evaluating the most appropriate approach. DLA’s #1 goal for FY15 and FY16 is driving IT efficiency and the agency sees cloud solutions as means to getting there.

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