Critical Read

Getting government into high gear

report cover

What: The IBM Center for the Business of Government's look at the tools and strategies available for accelerating service quality and reducing costs. The report draws on the expertise of such federal management veterans as Mark A. Forman, Elaine C. Kamark and Franklin C. Reeder, along with a wide range of scholars and private-sector experts, to explore the security, technology and leadership considerations when bringing greater speed to agencies.

Why: "If a government agency could reduce claims processing time from over 300 days to less than 6o days," report editor Charles L. Prow writes, "what would that be worth to the agency and those whom it serves?

As the daily headlines have made clear, this is not an idle question -- both the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Internal Revenue Service are wrestling with the challenge of moving faster while still ensuring quality service, and many agencies are struggling outside the spotlight. Prow and his contributors argue that better training, reallocating resources and a clear understanding of the bigger picture can enable agency employees to deliver greater value at a significantly higher tempo.

Download the full report here.

Verbatim: "Complex or confusing forms will lead to people putting erroneous data into the process. Erroneous data lead to either bad decisions or timeliness stretchs by requests for additional information.... Clearly, there are always opportunities to simplify forms (e.g., auto-populating forms with data already collected). But might the biggest opportunities by achieved by replacing the common government forms-driven process with a more modern set of tools?

About the Author

Troy K. Schneider is editor-in-chief of FCW and GCN.

Prior to joining 1105 Media in 2012, Schneider was the New America Foundation’s Director of Media & Technology, and before that was Managing Director for Electronic Publishing at the Atlantic Media Company. The founding editor of, Schneider also helped launch the political site in the mid-1990s, and worked on the earliest online efforts of the Los Angeles Times and Newsday. He began his career in print journalism, and has written for a wide range of publications, including The New York Times,, Slate, Politico, National Journal, Governing, and many of the other titles listed above.

Schneider is a graduate of Indiana University, where his emphases were journalism, business and religious studies.

Click here for previous articles by Schneider, or connect with him on Twitter: @troyschneider.

FCW in Print

In the latest issue: Looking back on three decades of big stories in federal IT.


  • Anne Rung -- Commerce Department Photo

    Exit interview with Anne Rung

    The government's departing top acquisition official said she leaves behind a solid foundation on which to build more effective and efficient federal IT.

  • Charles Phalen

    Administration appoints first head of NBIB

    The National Background Investigations Bureau announced the appointment of its first director as the agency prepares to take over processing government background checks.

  • Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.)

    Senator: Rigid hiring process pushes millennials from federal work

    Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said agencies are missing out on younger workers because of the government's rigidity, particularly its protracted hiring process.

  • FCW @ 30 GPS

    FCW @ 30

    Since 1987, FCW has covered it all -- the major contracts, the disruptive technologies, the picayune scandals and the many, many people who make federal IT function. Here's a look back at six of the most significant stories.

  • Shutterstock image.

    A 'minibus' appropriations package could be in the cards

    A short-term funding bill is expected by Sept. 30 to keep the federal government operating through early December, but after that the options get more complicated.

  • Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco

    DOD launches new tech hub in Austin

    The DOD is opening a new Defense Innovation Unit Experimental office in Austin, Texas, while Congress debates legislation that could defund DIUx.

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