Arkansas CIO All In on Shared Services

By Rachel Eckert, SLED Manager

Arkansas has begun its digital transformation and is moving ever closer to a shared services model. Last month, Arkansas CIO Yessica Jones briefed the NASCIO Corporate Member Exchange on some of the recent changes in her state.

Probably the most impactful change was the re-organization following the passing of the Transformation and General Efficiencies Act during the past general legislative session. The act consolidated 42 departments into 15. Previously the Department of Information Systems, Arkansas’ central IT department reported directly to the governor, along with 41 other departments. Under the new structure, the Department of Information Systems has become a division under the Secretary for Transformation & Shared Services.

Jones believes that new department structure will improve IT project delivery, especially since all new secretaries have been tasked with identifying potential shared services opportunities. Several projects are already underway to deliver additional shared services to executive-branch agencies, including deploying enterprise-wide Microsoft Office 365, optimizing their data center, implementing mainframe as a service and several enterprise-wide agreements. Read more of this post

Can data be protected through shared services?

Lloyd McCoy Jr.

By Lloyd McCoy, DOD manager

Any guesses on how much data is generated every year by government and government-related apps? More than 1,000 billion bytes. It’s a staggering number.

Naturally you wonder how is all of that data protected? How do we protect the information that makes our electric grid, air traffic, voting processes and other government-controlled functions keep working safely and reliably?

One obvious answer is to improve the way services are shared between government agencies – and between government and private industry.

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One Year Out of DISA’s Reorg – Five C’s Still Shaping IT Priorities Part II

DISA_220x100Lloyd McCoy Jr.by DOD Manager, Lloyd McCoy

Building on last week’s blog post — which focused on DISA’s Five C’s that continue to play large role in shaping their IT Priorities — lets now turn to the two offices that serve as the focal point for IT investments and programs within DISA: The Development and Business Center (led by Alfred Rivera) and The Implementation and Sustainment Center (led by David Bennett). I’ll also explore some of the directorates tied to each office, which underpin programs and contract opportunities.

1. DEVELOPMENT AND BUSINESS CENTER

The Development and Business Center (DBC) is where DISA determines their approach to developing and deploying new technologies and capabilities, under the framework of the Five C’s mentioned earlier. Industry engagement and demands from the rest of DOD influence their procurement decisions. This Center should be your first stopping point if you want to get your solutions inducted into DISA. Within the DBC are two directorates which control the vast majority of the top programs and contract opportunities within this organization: Services Development (SD) and Infrastructure Development Directorates (ID). Read more of this post

One Year Out of DISA’s Reorg – Five C’s Still Shaping IT Priorities Part I

DISA_220x100Lloyd McCoy Jr.by Lloyd McCoy Jr., DOD Manager

We’re a year removed from DISA’s reorganization — a restructuring largely aimed at giving the agency the flexibility and responsiveness it needs to effectively engage with industry and its primary customer: the Department of Defense (DOD). No different than before, DISA’s IT priorities are shaped by what they call the “five c’s”: cybersecurity, cloud, collaboration, and C2 (command and control). These priorities are influenced by the Joint Information Environment’s (JIE) emphasis on infrastructure consolidation, information sharing, and shared services.

Here’s what you need to know about the five c’s and the opportunities they bring to IT vendors:

  1. Cybersecurity
    DISA’s goal is to remove vulnerability from DOD’s network. The agency is heavily invested in bringing situational awareness to network defenders, through consolidating security stacks, marrying together big data, analytics and cybersecurity, and investing in tools to secure DOD’s network. If a breach does occur, DISA is looking for solutions that will limit the lateral movement of attackers within the network. Cybersecurity vendors should note that DISA is also looking to inject more automation in security and have specifically called out automated compliance, scanning and monitoring as areas where they want to improve. Read more of this post

Slow Week in the Office? Watch On-Demand Sessions from the Government IT Sales Summit!

by Allan Rubin, Vice President, Marketing Allan Rubin 65x85

immixGroup’s 2nd Annual Government IT Sales Summit is done, but thanks to the magic of Al Gore and Tim Berners-Lee, it lives on forever on the Web (well maybe not forever).

This year’s event attracted nearly 1,000 sales, marketing, channel, and business executives from the public sector IT community who all came with one purpose: to get real-world perspectives and actionable information that helps them increase their government sales.

Since many of you tried but failed to be in two places at once, we’ve got a treat for you:  video and audio recordings of all 19 sessions (as well as downloadable presentations) are now available on demand at immixgroup.com/summit2015.

Sessions explore everything from the newest technology developments in Big Data, Cybersecurity, and The Internet of Things to the latest government IT priorities and what they mean for technology companies that sell their products to the government. Watch the keynote address by Walter Isaacson (highly recommended), panel discussions led by government IT leaders, and the 11th Annual DOD and Civilian Budget Briefings (our most popular sessions by far)— anytime, anywhere.

If you’ve got some extra time to kill over the holidays, grab a notepad and check out some of the videos. They’ll help you start strong in January.

3 Joint Staff Takeaways from MILCOM 2015

Number 3 Fingers_CroppedMark Wisingerby Mark Wisinger, Analyst

Joint Staff J6 Director Lt. Gen. Mark Bowman recently spoke at MILCOM 2015 with DOD topics such as the Joint Information Environment (JIE), the Joint Regional Security Stack (JRSS), and interoperability top of mind. These reflections shed light on the Joint Staff’s IT priorities and challenges.

Here are the three main takeaways that COTS vendors and channel partners (large and small) will find of value:

  1. Common Architecture

At this juncture, Lt. Gen. Bowman believes the DOD’s JIE should be more advanced — progress is not moving fast enough. He indicated that there is a need for common architecture, especially an architecture than can be controlled by the Cyber Command (CYBERCOM) via the DOD Information Network Joint Force Headquarters (DODIN-JFHQ). Open and compatible architecture is a continuing challenge for the DOD at large. Ensure your product messaging emphasizes compatibility, as this is the key element the Joint Staff is looking for in COTS products. Read more of this post

3 Aspects of Navigating Government Convergence

ImmixgroupGOVit-219_250x166Chris Wiedemann_65 x 85by Chris Wiedemann, Senior Analyst

As immixGroup’s 2nd Annual Government IT Sales Summit draws closer, I want to give you an inside look at the major theme of this year’s 11th Annual Civilian Budget Briefing: convergence. Whether in acquisition, management structure, or technology, the federal COTS market is positioned to come together in new ways this year.

Here are three broad trends the Market Intelligence organization will explore next Thursday, November 19th at the 2nd Annual Government IT Sales Summit: Read more of this post

Cloud Migration Next Big Priority for DOD?

cloud computingStephanie Meloni_65x85by Stephanie Meloni, Senior Analyst

Lately we’re seeing cloud migration at DOD gain some real traction and more importantly, the IT dollars behind it are making the cloud DOD’s next big IT priority. At DISA and the Army there have been recent signs DOD may finally be taking the necessary steps to migrate data and applications to the cloud. Moving to the cloud is seen as the next critical step for the Joint Information Environment (JIE).

DISA is no longer the designated “cloud broker” for DOD, however the Department is serving as the de facto advisor for cloud computing and will still remain in charge of cloud standards and security requirements. DISA just issued a best practices document for DOD customers looking to purchase commercial cloud solutions. This document is not about DOD policy in regards to the cloud, but rather a reference guide for government customers planning to migrate to the cloud, outlining different cloud models’ features and benefits, based on lessons learned throughout the DOD. The Army’s CIO/G-6 office released the Army Commercial Cloud Services Provider Policy. This publication focuses on the Army’s process of system and application rationalization, ensuring that both are reviewed properly before moving over to Commercial Services Providers (CSPs) in the cloud. It’s important for industry to review these documents in order to understand DOD customers’ processes, as well as the challenges they face as they move to the cloud.
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The Future of the Joint Information Environment (JIE)…

Stephanie Headshot 65x85by Stephanie Meloni, Senior Analyst

Last week DISA and key Army leaders convened with industry at an AFCEA DC luncheon to weigh-in on the Army’s future IT priorities, address the current status of some of their larger efforts, and discuss available funding. Of course, JIE was weighing heavy on everyone’s mind; the Air Force, Army, and DISA continue to be committed to partnering together, implementing projects for shared architectures and services.

Here are key projects all three agencies are working on:

Read more of this post

What you need to know about the new Defense Health Agency

Lloyd McCoy_65x85by Lloyd McCoy Jr., Consultant

We are one week away from the largest reorganization of military health in the Defense Department’s history – the formation of the Defense Health Agency (DHA). The new agency promises to be more than just a rearranging of desk chairs as it will change how the Defense Department handles procurement, oversight, and implementation of all facets of military health, including IT acquisitions. As Rick pointed out in his article on the DHA back in August, cost savings played a big part in this move for the Defense Department. And as we’ve highlighted before, shared services is a major aspect of the federal government’s campaign to drive down IT spending and DHA reflects this strategy.

DHA is expected to lower costs by merging services. Starting October 1, DHA will bring under one common roof, facilities planning (no pun intended), medical logistics, health IT, as well as Tricare and pharmacy services. By October 1, 2015, when DHA becomes fully operational, it will have oversight over public health, medical acquisition, budget and resource management, medical education and training, and medical research and development. The services will keep their respective medical commands, each headed up by their particular surgeon general.

If you cover Military Health Systems (MHS) and are familiar with the organizational landscape, you’ll note that many of the personnel won’t change. The senior leaders of the new DHA are as follows:

  • Director, Lieutenant General Douglas Robb, second in command over the TRICARE Management Activity will become the first Director of DHA
  • Deputy Director, Allen Middleton, who now oversees the budget will serve as his deputy
  • Chief Information Officer, Dave Bowen will stay on as the CIO
  • Acting Director Business Support Directorate: Colonel Darrell Landreaux
  • Director, National Capital Region (NCR) Medical Directorate: Rear Admiral Raquel Bono
  • Acting Director, Education and Training Directorate: Rear Admiral William Roberts
  • Acting Director, Research and Development Directorate: Major General Joseph Caravalho

In the months ahead DHA will face significant challenges right out of the gate and will be looking to industry for assistance. For example, the agency will be looking to COTS solutions for its upcoming integrated electronic health record, which is designed to both simplify healthcare for military personnel moving to civilian life and fuse legacy systems into one modernized system that will bring about a lifetime electronic health record. Moreover, with DOD facing mounting personnel costs, particularly in the area of healthcare, Pentagon leaders will be looking for solutions within DHA that will help realize cost efficiencies.

Finally, there are big changes ahead in military health IT, but you will be well-positioned if you have low cost solutions that cater to their priorities, namely in the areas of standardization, shared services, information sharing, and data analytics.

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