Page 45 - GCN, May 2016
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New Ideas Needed
Familiar ideas tend to have familiar results.
When it comes to improving the quality and cost- effectiveness of federal programs, incremental changes to existing policies and procedures will only get us so far. That is why thought-leadership is so essential to this community.
Thought-leadership is difficult to define but easy to recognize. It is not about providing answers but about helping people to see a question in a new way—or asking a new question altogether. It is about facilitating conversation that explores potentially fruitful lines of inquiry and creates a space in which new ideas might emerge.
Each day, the ACQUIRE show features plenary sessions with thought-leaders from across the federal community tackling some of the community’s toughest problems. These sessions will not provide pat answers but they will spark those conversations that need to happen for progress to be made.
Legacy IT certainly has proven
to be a tough problem.
During the last ten years, technology has evolved rapidly, providing agencies with a dizzying array of new solutions for managing IT operations, delivering IT services and meeting mission requirements. Cloud, virtualization, mobility, big data and other technologies represent big changes in how agencies do business. In theory, at least.
Unfortunately, many agencies have been slow to modernize their underlying infrastructure, which makes it difficult to get the full benefit of these newer technologies. The perplexing question is: What’s the hold up?
Clearly, budget constraints are a factor. With that in mind, the Obama administration, as part of its fiscal 2017 budget request, proposed a $3.1 billion modernization fund to facilitate the replacement of legacy IT systems. House lawmakers did not include the proposal in its budget resolution.
In any case, Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas) sees a deeper issue. In an e-mail to FCW, Hurd wrote, “A working capital fund focusing on IT modernization could be an important tool
in making federal agencies more efficient and ultimately more secure, but in order to ensure robust system hygiene, CIOs and agency heads need to be planning for continuous modernization within their existing budget process.”
In short, modernization must become part of the culture at federal agencies. How will that happen? In “Legacy IT: Keep It or Kick It?” a panel of C-level federal executives will tackle the question of how agencies
balance the need to maintain legacy IT systems with their goal to move into the future.
Acquisition is a related area of concern.
Despite several waves of acquisition reform over the last two decades, the federal government is still struggling to develop a more cost-effective and agile procurement system—one that fosters a culture of innovation, rather than a culture of processes and paperwork.
Numerous initiatives are underway to bring about
change. For example, the General Services Administration
is spearheading the Category Management program, which
is a cross-government effort to consolidate spending in key categories. Meanwhile, Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) has introduced the Acquisition Agility Act, which looks to help the armed services speed technology to the field.
In a panel titled “Innovations in Acquisition,” a group
of CIOs and senior acquisition executives will discuss the on-going initiatives and emerging opportunities that could make the procurement system work for agencies, rather than make agencies work for the procurement system.
Plenary Sessions and Keynotes
Wednesday, June 8 | 8:30 am – 10:00 am
Keynote Address: The Seventh Sense: Power, Fortune, and Survival in the Age of Networks
Joshua Cooper Ramo
Wednesday, June 8 | 11:15 am – 12:15 pm
Innovations in Acquisition
General Services Administration, Office of Federal Procurement Policy, Army (AT&L) and Army Acquisition Executive
Wednesday, June 8 | 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Legacy IT: Keep It or Kick It?
Office of Management and Budget and Social Security Administration
Thursday, June 9 | 8:30 am – 10:00 am
Keynote Address: Endeavour to Succeed
Gabby Giffords & Mark Kelly
Thursday, June 9 | 11:15 am – 12:15 pm
Senior Leader Panel
Professional Services Council
Thursday, June 9 | 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
The PSC Acquisition Policy Survey: A Report on Federal Acquisition
Professional Services Council
Visit for the most up-to-date information. | June 8-9 | Register Now!
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