News Feature | October 25, 2013

Government IT News For VARs — October 25, 2013

Bernadette Wilson

By Bernadette Wilson


This week, Canadian and U.S. offices want better systems and data, North Carolina opens an “Innovation Center” to test new technologies, and companies are making a business of analytics for procurement data.

Federal Financial Offices Want Better Data

The Annual Federal CFO Survey by the Association of Government Accountants (AGA) and Grant Thornton reveals CFOs are frustrated with acquiring cost data — in some cases with the most current data available from 2010. The study reports one respondent says, “Though we are told there have been cost savings, we can’t quantify them.” The report states the lack of data quantity may be a symptom of poor systems. The report also notes that although technology is a concern, there were few comments about it by respondents. Of those who commented, they tell of antiquated systems, the need for new systems or upgrades, and problems managing data.  The AGA interviewed 100 federal financial leaders and senior leaders of oversight groups such as the Office of Management and Budget for the survey, as well as collecting online responses from about 500 AGA members.

Companies Find A Market In Analytics For Procurement Data

A Washington Post article tells how new companies are benefitting from Big Data by providing analytics for government spending data. The article cites, for example, the success of SmartProcure, which operates a searchable database of procurement information, and Govini, which is working on new ways to analyze its data, “including mashing together government procurement information with other databases.”

Canadian Leader Calls For Mobility, Accessibility

The Ottawa Citizen reports the 2013 Government in Technology Conference shed light on the fact that Canada’s government needs to be more mobile and have more access to digital data. The article quotes Tony Clement, president of the Treasury Board, as saying, “We are in a period of great transition, but also of great opportunity. We need to be bold. Giving up on an idea because it doesn’t fit within how the government is supposed to do business is not a legitimate excuse.” Clement is championing the initiative to provide open access to data.

North Carolina Is Trying Technology Before Buying

The Sacramento Bee reports North Carolina’s new “Innovation Center” is part of Governor Pat McCrory’s plan to make sure the state makes smart IT decisions. The center will be the place agency CIOs and other government workers try out computers, programs, video conferencing, and other technologies. The article reports that in April McCrory said he needed the General Assembly to pass a law to allow employees to try out new technology from vendors without it being labeled a "gift" and thus violating state ethics rules. Since then, however, state attorneys have deemed that unnecessary with acceptable demo agreements in place.

Forum To Focus On Technology Trends

The Government IT Forum, scheduled for December 2-3, 2013 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C., has announced topics for its “Spotlight Sessions.”  The sessions will focus on five areas: Big Data and business intelligence, cloud and virtualization, cybersecurity, mobile government, and records and information management.  

Government IT Talking Points

A Kansas City infoZine article cited General Services Administrator Dan Tangherlini as saying, “It’s important to keep information technology up to date because people assume the government has the capability to do whatever they can do at home.”

The National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) has released a paper, State CIO Leadership in Government Leadership and Transformation. The paper focuses on the role of the state CIO, asserting, “The CIO should be an agent of change, a champion of integrated solutions across multiple departments, able to articulate how the chief exec’s vision would be enabled through technology, be a trusted advisor to departments as they plan and implement strategic IT projects,….The CIO should not be just a vertically challenged manager of routine commodities, manager of hardware, software, IT procurement and training. Unfortunately, that’s just what too many CIOs are today.”

An IT Business Edge article “What CIOs Can Learn From The U.S. Government Shutdown,” lists topics brought into focus in recent weeks, like knowing the most critical investments and services, identifying key resources, knowing shutdown preparation is costly, and knowing how projects will be managed.