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IT acquisition teams and agile data management

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OMB plans IT acquisition teams modeled on USDS

The U.S. Digital Service regularly makes headlines for trying to transplant a Silicon Valley ethos into the federal workforce. Now the Office of Federal Procurement Policy is trying something similar to energize the acquisitions workforce.

But there's a twist. Instead of tapping private-sector specialists, OFPP Director Anne Rung is developing a training course for existing federal acquisitions workers to develop expertise in digital services procurement.

The USDS is collaborating on the project to help acquisitions teams streamline lengthy requirements documents into statements of objectives, solicit concept papers from vendors instead of long proposals, and add prototyping rounds to competitive procurements.

Rung told an audience of federal IT workers at the CIO Council Symposium to look out for more on the plan later this summer. The ultimate goal is to give acquisitions personnel six months of training before plugging them back into their agencies.

Survey: Agile data management a problem for most agencies

A majority of federal agency IT managers say their network infrastructure can't fully support agile, scalable data transport and management solutions, according to a survey by network infrastructure provider Brocade.

Brocade's "New IP Survey Report" found that only slightly more than 10 percent of the 200 federal IT managers it surveyed felt their agency's network infrastructure was fully able to support simple, scalable and agile solutions to the movement and management of data.

They listed budget constraints, limited internal resources and expertise as top challenges for agencies looking to make improvements.

The survey also found that while 90 percent of respondents believed open standards are important, only 48 percent are considering using them or planning to adopt them in the next few years, and a paltry 11 percent have actually adopted them. The managers that have adopted open standards cited increased flexibility and reduced costs as their primary motivation. Security concerns were at the top of the list of reasons not to consider open standards, the study said.

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