Coming the same day as the sweeping proposals of President Barack Obama’s deficit panel, two Washington-area technology gurus took to Politico’s op-ed page to discuss how smarter use of information technology can help trim the deficit.
“Smarter use of information technology is one of the best ways to boost productivity and efficiency — getting a lot more bang for the buck — in areas like logistics, finance and engineering,” write the authors, former Assistant Secretary of Defense Arthur Money who also served as the Defense Department’s chief information officer, and Yogesh Khanna, vice president and federal chief technology officer at Computer Sciences Corp.
While change is never easy, the authors write, there have been encouraging signs from government lately: the administration’s pledge to close the IT gap with the private sector, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates’ championing of IT consolidation and his vigilant posture against cyber threats.
Money and Khanna lay out five broad principles for the federal government to close the government’s IT gap.
1) Use IT for operational innovation
2) Leverage emerging technology to enhance operations
3) Focus on managing missions and being a smart customer
4) Decide whether to buy tech services or the actual hardware and software
5) Integrate cybersecurity measures from the beginning
As cloud computing continues to build buzz and government agencies begin eying the new platform, they will also have to take the essential first step of re-engineering data centers, “meaning consolidate, standardize and optimize,” Money and Khanna write.
The new cloud platform “accesses shared resources to make computing cheaper and faster,” they write. “Federal Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra says consolidation and the cloud can ‘save billions.’”