Critical Read

The year of the technological hand-off

Shutterstock image: internet of things, connectivity.

What: "Top 6 Federal Digital Trends for 2016," from DMI.

Why: The Feb. 2 report is a survey of the tech landscape facing federal agencies, and the emphasis is on handing over control.

From cloud services to mobile devices, agencies will likely see benefits from letting somebody else deal with managing hardware, DMI posits.

For example, the Census Bureau -- after considering a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) model -- last week committed to using a device-as-a-service model for the 2020 enumeration.

Similar moves may be likely until feds can work through all of the privacy and security concerns that come with BYOD.

"The government hasn't really found a firm footing on that," said Sam Ganga, president of DMI's government mobility solutions group.

Agencies also will need to emphasize algorithm-centered data science, not just data management, in an effort to turn data troves into something actually useful.

Ganga stressed that DMI's report should be a cultural wake-up call.

As cloud, big data, the Internet of Things and mobility penetrate the federal service, Ganga said, agencies ought not just solve the same old problems in slightly different ways; they should rethink the basics to maximize the impact of the new technology wave.

Verbatim: "Just repurposing existing systems and processes using digital technologies will result in failed programs. For digital initiatives to be successful, agencies need to employ a design thinking approach. […] It promotes an agile problem solving approach that allows teams to employ a test and learn methodology that does not penalize failure, but rather rewards teams for failing fast."

Read the full report here.

About the Author

Zach Noble is a staff writer covering digital citizen services, workforce issues and a range of civilian federal agencies.

Before joining FCW in 2015, Noble served as assistant editor at the viral news site TheBlaze, where he wrote a mix of business, political and breaking news stories and managed weekend news coverage. He has also written for online and print publications including The Washington Free Beacon, The Santa Barbara News-Press, The Federalist and Washington Technology.

Noble is a graduate of Saint Vincent College, where he studied English, economics and mathematics.

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


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