Technology to Aid State Contact Tracing Efforts

By Rachel Eckert, SLED Manager

States are increasingly leveraging technology to help state and local officials trace and contain virus outbreaks – and each state seems to be taking a different approach. Everything from calls and texts to apps and online forms is being used. Patient contact tracing methods vary widely across the states — from centralized tracing by state health departments to decentralized methods that rely on calls and texts sent by individual local health departments.

What’s common is the need for case-management systems that manage interactions and follow-up activities. These systems organize information that contact tracers collect through their outreach, as well as information entered through online portals by citizens themselves.

Data collected by these case management systems can help states identify the total number of cases, hospitalizations, etc., by geography. These systems are typically robust tools that provide everything from analytical dashboards to mass communication tools. But there is so much more states can do with the data by integrating their case management systems with other state-based eligibility and aid systems, such as Medicaid management information systems or unemployment insurance systems — all while protecting sensitive patient information. Read more of this post

Two New Sales Opportunities at Commerce That Are NOT Census-Related

By Jessica Parks, Market Intelligence Analyst

Don’t let the Department of Commerce’s understandable focus on the 2020 Census distract you from other sales opportunities within the cabinet-level agency. The need for better data analytics is opening up initiatives at two of its sub-agencies, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Fundamentally, both USPTO and NOAA have requirements around the processing, management and analysis of large volumes of data. If your technology can help them meet these requirements, you will have a foot in the door for a procurement you and your competitors may otherwise have missed.   Read more of this post

Beyond Border Security: FY21 Trade-Related Opportunities at CBP

By Jessica Parks, Analyst

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), under the Department of Homeland Security, is widely known as the organization that secures our nation’s borders, but they also regulate goods entering and leaving the country through the Office of Trade (OT).

CBP receives almost 30% of the DHS IT budget, and while it’s always looking to enhance the border infrastructure, there are a few major trade-focused technology programs that have been moving forward with big plans of their own. Read on to learn what those programs are and what they’re looking for. Read more of this post

What You Need to Know About Changes to the Army CIO/G-6

By the end of August, the Army will split the chief information officer (CIO/G-6) role into two separate positions — CIO and Deputy Chief of Staff (DCS) of the G-6. Each role will have separate headquarters, each with its own supporting organization. In terms of staffing the new organizations, the Army is primarily focused on utilizing the resources and funding that they currently have. As a result, a major shift in new names and faces is not anticipated at this time.

The CIO Role

Lt. Gen. Bruce Crawford, the current CIO/G-6, will maintain his role until he moves on to his next assignment. Upon his transition, when that comes, the new CIO will be another three-star general and a member of the secretariat.   Read more of this post

Back to School or Not? Options Abound

By Charles Castelly, SLED Analyst

With the expected return of students back to school in the fall, most counties are trying to figure out the best way to facilitate a safe and orderly process.

School systems are facing many challenges right now — the first being how to keep social distancing. Secondly, they will need to manage remote learning environments — and find a way to pay for new technologies that are required to support them.

Lots of decisions still need to be made and school systems are using all available resources to resolve outstanding issues — and they are reaching out to parents for their input.  Read more of this post

Military Space Programs Emerge as a Top Priority in 2021

Lloyd McCoy Jr.

By Lloyd McCoy, Market Intelligence Manager

While passage of the 2021 budget is still months away, Congress and the White House are busy crafting the final version of the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act. This is the most important budget document for the Department of Defense as it establishes funding levels and sets the policies under which money will be spent. As such, it’s a reliable barometer for DOD priorities in the next year or two.

There’s a clear consensus emerging between the Administration and Congress on space as a high priority and the upcoming NDAA will call for a strengthened role in space for our military. More specifically, acquiring the infrastructure and technologies that will further development of space-based assets and capabilities will be spelled out.

Let’s look at where we expect IT solutions to be most needed in the space domain:  Read more of this post

Cybersecurity Spending Continues in State Government

By Rachel Eckert, SLED Manager

By now, most of us are aware of the budgetary restrictions many states will be under due to reduced revenue collections. Arkansas will experience cuts of about $250 million in the next fiscal year. Utah could see budget cuts up to 10%, while Vermont may see budget cuts of up to 25%. This will most likely restrict the number of new projects, but one area many state CIOs expressed continued support for is cybersecurity.

During recent round table discussions hosted by NASCIO, budgets and budget cuts were top of mind for CIOs as they shared top priorities for the coming fiscal year. Many stated that they were continuing with their initiatives as best they could, balancing funding with requirements. Initiatives include projects like service digitization, automation, customer relationship management, and in many cases, improving cybersecurity frameworks.

Some states are planning to leverage funding they receive through the CARES Act for technology, while others are trying to find alternative ways to finance new and ongoing initiatives alike. Despite budget cuts, there is one area continuing to receive CIO attention — cybersecurity. Here’s a snapshot of what’s happening across the country:  Read more of this post

The State Department’s Data-Driven Future

By Jessica Parks, Analyst

In January of this year, the State Department made headlines when it established its Center for Analytics (CfA) to manage and analyze data across the entire department. The formation of an enterprise-level analytics center is a significant move for what has traditionally been a highly decentralized organization. It also reflects a broader goal at to better harness and apply its troves of data.

If you’re looking to get in on the action, read on for a couple of areas worth targeting in FY21.

Analytics to Improve Administrative Functions

Under Chief Information Officer Stuart McGuigan, IT systems at the agency are viewed in terms of business output, especially in how they support operational functions like workflows and onboarding. Speaking at an AFCEA Bethesda event in April, he described how the State Department is exploring robotic process automation (RPA) to speed up the onboarding process for new employees and further empowering back office staff.   Read more of this post

Top CAPEX Investment Areas in Army IT for FY21

By Toné Mason, DOD Senior Analyst

It is no exaggeration to say FY20 has been a tumultuous year and that the upcoming FY21 budget will likely see noteable changes from what the White House submitted in February. However, for the Department of Defense, and the Army in particular, the major strategic priorities highlighted in the FY21 budget request are unlikely to change.

Here are the top 5 IT programs the Army has slated for FY21, ranked by level of capital expenditure. These represent areas where the Army is expanding their focus, and consequently dollars and where they need IT solutions to help them address their requirements.

High Performance Computing Modernization Program

With FY21 capital expenditure (CAPEX) funds, exceeding $188M, the High Performance Computing Modernization Program (HPCMP) is the largest CAPEX program  and a key investment opportunity for vendors who offer products focused on data analytics, big data, artificial intelligence and edge computing. HPCMP provides artificial intelligence and machine learning technology for the Army, Air Force, Navy and other Defense agencies. This program is anticipated to lead to the development of 3D computations and simulations for major weapon designs and war time capabilities.   Read more of this post

Shifting Priorities in the Upcoming FY21 Budget

Lloyd McCoy Jr.

By Lloyd McCoy, Market Intelligence Manager

With the start of the FY21 fiscal year just a few months away, the debate between the executive and legislative branches over priorities and tradeoffs in the FY21 budget will soon begin in earnest. At the heart of the discussion will be on what changes need to be made to the FY21 budget request presented in February, given the current environment.

Areas like artificial intelligence already have seen increased funding support in the request, but we’ll see more focus on areas specific to robotic process automation, security analytics and data mining — due to the ways agencies have had to adapt to conduct their missions.

It’s safe to say that every federal department will ultimately receive a budget that reflects the changing times. Additionally, it’s also safe to say that the priorities reflected in the upcoming budget will be needed indefinitely — to remain vigilant against future threats.

Here are some of the primary federal players that could see the biggest changes in the makeup and composition of their FY21 budget request: Read more of this post

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