Finding the hidden value in shared IT services

When U.S. CIO Steven VanRoekel unveiled the draft shared IT services strategy in late 2011, the concept came as no news to one agency whose sharing approach dates back years.

In an April 1 post on GovernmentCIOMagazine, Joseph Klimavicz, CIO at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, detailed just how far back in time the agency’s shared IT services model reaches by describing how one of his early tasks entailed developing software on a shared IBM mainframe that employees nationwide would use to access one computer.

Since then, NOAA has been sharing IT services within agency components for "many years,” Klimavicz wrote. What is new though, is that technologies such as virtualization, cloud computing and continuous monitoring have helped provide ubiquitous access to shared IT services, he said.

In addition to saving money and better use of resources, shared IT services fulfill other key functions. Klimavicz said sharing also creates higher levels of capability and innovation, advances process standardization, and allows managers to focus more on mission and less on infrastructure.

Shared services don’t come without difficulties, however. Because agency IT investments are highly specialized and hard to integrate with one another, it’s sometimes cheaper to buy a new proprietary system than to share existing ones, Klimavicz wrote.

Click the link above to read his full blog post.

Klimavicz won Federal Computer Week's Federal 100 award in 2011, in part for persuading the scientific community to agree to use NOAA's GeoPlatform.gov as the official federal source for map-based data regarding the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

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