Shared services poised to reshape the federal market

The government’s IT evolution continues to pick up speed as budget pressures and calls for efficiency weigh heavily on federal leadership, driving change throughout Washington and beyond. Now, as agencies move toward a model of sharing goods and services, it’s changing the business landscape, according to one official.

According to Richard Spires, CIO at the Homeland Security Department, shared services go beyond just e-mail as a service and data center consolidation. Those approaches are just part of a comprehensive approach to a new, agile model of federal IT that catalyzes government operations in the 21st century.

“We want to get people working more on the mission outcomes and the mission outcomes for their clients than worrying about having to administer commodity IT. We want to redeploy our assets to work more closely with the mission,” Spires said May 21 at the GITEC Summit in Baltimore. “It’s a game-changer for us and for the federal government.”

At DHS, moving the department’s various components to shared e-mail services is set to save millions, with 100,000 accounts expected to be converted in the next year. But that’s just the start, Spires said.

“We’ve got half a dozen large-scale IT programs underway that are leveraging agile methodology. It’s been a wholesale shift in the last 12 months at DHS,” he said.

Like other government agencies, as DHS looks to expand enterprise offerings its leadership is developing new strategies and ways of conducting business, he noted.

“We’re trying to have a compelling business model to go to market in order to get people want to come work with us – and also to be rational about it,” Spires said. “There are situations where, for whatever reason, it doesn’t make business sense…we have to be rational about that, but I don’t want people to hide behind that either.”

A critical part of getting to a business-savvy shared environment is transparency, Spires stressed.

“I tell the components to just be transparent with us. Let’s sit down and roll up our sleeves and look at the alternatives,” he said. “And what we’re finding more and more is that the alternatives keep pointing to shared services as ways to draw people in, save money, provide a higher level of service and frankly get them out of having to worry about the administration of things they really shouldn’t have to worry about.”

The shift in standard operating procedure will undoubtedly impact industry as well, Spires acknowledged – and not just in the services and products the government buys. Broader efforts, such as the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP), will also require the private sector to reevaluate its offerings.

“FedRAMP will create a market shift,” Spires said, adding that vendors should invest in cloud services, and invest soon – he warned that changes will happen quickly.

About the Author

Amber Corrin is a former staff writer for FCW and Defense Systems.

The Fed 100

Save the date for 28th annual Federal 100 Awards Gala.

Featured

  • computer network

    How Einstein changes the way government does business

    The Department of Commerce is revising its confidentiality agreement for statistical data survey respondents to reflect the fact that the Department of Homeland Security could see some of that data if it is captured by the Einstein system.

  • Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. Army photo by Monica King. Jan. 26, 2017.

    Mattis mulls consolidation in IT, cyber

    In a Feb. 17 memo, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told senior leadership to establish teams to look for duplication across the armed services in business operations, including in IT and cybersecurity.

  • Image from Shutterstock.com

    DHS vague on rules for election aid, say states

    State election officials had more questions than answers after a Department of Homeland Security presentation on the designation of election systems as critical U.S. infrastructure.

  • Org Chart Stock Art - Shutterstock

    How the hiring freeze targets millennials

    The government desperately needs younger talent to replace an aging workforce, and experts say that a freeze on hiring doesn't help.

  • Shutterstock image: healthcare digital interface.

    VA moves ahead with homegrown scheduling IT

    The Department of Veterans Affairs will test an internally developed scheduling module at primary care sites nationwide to see if it's ready to service the entire agency.

  • Shutterstock images (honglouwawa & 0beron): Bitcoin image overlay replaced with a dollar sign on a hardware circuit.

    MGT Act poised for a comeback

    After missing in the last Congress, drafters of a bill to encourage cloud adoption are looking for a new plan.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group