Agile Ops as a Path to Modernization

By Jessica Parks, Analyst

The word “agile” is everywhere now, describing everything from cloud technology to team dynamics. Beginning as an innovative method of software development, agile has expanded to describe projects, solutions, teams and workflows.

As government agencies look to update legacy systems, there is an increasing recognition that modernization encompasses not only updates in technology, but also improvements in how projects are developed and delivered. Here are examples of how federal agencies are applying the agile concept and how technology vendors can insert themselves in upcoming opportunities.

In the world of government IT, agile refers to a software development or project management method which aims to be faster, more customer-centric and more responsive to sudden changes than traditional methods. (If you want to further explore the basic premise of “agile,” GSA has published a comprehensive set of FAQs.) What is most noteworthy about the presence of agile development in government IT is that it represents a significant change in mindset. The government is realizing that efficiency, responsiveness and scalability are often the best ways to stay on top of rapid technological changes. Read more of this post

Federal Cloud in FY15: Old Roadblocks, 3 New Opportunities

Photo of Chris Wiedemannby Chris Wiedemann, Senior Analyst

The Government Accountability Office Here is A Snapshot of Cloud in FY15(GAO) recently released a report tracking the progress of seven agencies’ in achieving their cloud computing implementation goals; unfortunately parts of it made for quite a nostalgic reading. The report profiled seven agencies – including HHS, Treasury, and USDA – and noted while each of these agencies increased their cloud spending between FY12 and FY14, the grand total of agency-reported cloud investments was only $529 million (averaging 2% of evaluated IT budgets). In other words, despite the 25 Point Plan instituting a Cloud First policy in 2011, federal agencies appear to have made very little progress in meeting their cloud goals; some reasons cited for slow adoption sound awfully familiar as well – with security concerns and cultural resistance to cloud computing coming up yet again.

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Lower Budget Doesn’t Mean Less Opportunity at HHS

Christopher Wiedemann_headshot-65 x 85by Chris Wiedemann, Senior Analyst

Last week, we talked about looking forward to FY15 and beginning to make some strategic decisions about sales targets at your agencies. Well, if you sell to HHS and you followed that advice, you may have noticed something a little concerning – namely, the department’s requested IT budget of $8.6 billion is significantly down from their FY14 enacted level of $9.6 billion. At first glance, it looks like the department may be getting squeezed in the aftermath of the Affordable Care Act rollout, and a lower budget almost always looks like bad news to industry. If HHS is a customer, you’re probably asking yourself how much the projected budget decrease will affect your total addressable market.

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A Roadmap for Health IT

Lloyd McCoy_65x85by Lloyd McCoy Jr., Consultant

In President Obama’s first weekly address back in January 2009, he called for every American to have an electronic health record by 2014. His statement at the time did not seem out of reach. After all, the benefits of consolidation and integration within Health IT were clear; lower costs and more efficiency would save money and save lives. It was a no brainer and the Department of Health & Human Services, Veterans Affairs, and Department of Defense would lead the charge.Lloyd Health IT

Several years later, after cost overruns, political squabbling, bureaucratic infighting, and technical challenges the public Health IT space has seen its fair share of battle scars. In the last 18 months alone we have witnessed the VA and DOD abandon efforts to develop a unified electronic health record, the failed initial launch of the Affordable Care Act website, and an outdated electronic scheduling system at the VA, which contributed to the ongoing scandal over excessive wait times for veterans.

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