Social media platform wins CIO Council IT Challenge award

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A social networking and communications platform designed to spark collaboration among federal IT and acquisition workers from different agencies took first prize in the CIO Council’s inaugural IT Solutions Challenge, U.S. Chief Information Officer Tony Scott announced Monday

The “judge’s award” winners — a group of IT and acquisition professionals from the departments of Justice, Energy, Homeland Security and Transportation; NASA; and the General Services Administration — were challenged with the “development, standardization, and implementation of Federal IT policies and procedures.” Their solution was called, simply, “FedIT” — “a professional social network and communications platform for Federal IT and acquisition professionals that fosters real-time collaboration across agencies,” Scott wrote in a CIO Council blog post.

“This dedicated space for innovative thinking and problem solving will help modernize IT across the Federal Government,” Scott wrote.

Before deciding on the communications platform, the team explored other ideas around reducing federal inefficiencies, such as “standardizing cloud computing, moving legacy services to the cloud environment, and expanding shared services such as communication, financial, and human resource systems across agencies,” one of the winning team members explained in a post on the CIO Council website.

Scott announced the IT Solutions Challenge in March, shortly after taking office as U.S. CIO, to tap the federal government’s rising stars in the mid-ranking GS-9 through GS-13 range and “tap into the hands-on experiences of [the] front lines and find innovative solutions based on their fresh perspectives” on federal policies and procedures.

“These rising stars will bring a new set of eyes to look at the way we do things, and the motivation and innovative mindsets to find solutions that – with the help of IT leaders – can be implemented to create positive change across the Federal Government,” Scott wrote in March. And after seeing the work those professionals accomplished in October, Scott said the results of the challenge will “significantly enhance the work we do by fostering collaboration across the Federal Government and enabling us to drive greater value for the American people.”

Scott also recognized another team as winners of the people’s choice award for what it called “Project GEMMAA” — “a flexible, easily accessible, and cloud-hosted test environment where federal IT experts can collaborate, share lessons learned, leverage expertise, contribute on the implementation of cross-agency IT initiatives, and reuse an existing solution at their agency.”

It’s unclear how the CIO Council plans to continue the work of the challenge teams moving forward. Neither the CIO Council or Scott’s team at the Office of Management and Budget responded to FedScoop’s request for comment by publication. Scott’s blog post did say, however, that he looks forward to continuing to track the progress of the inaugural participants.

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Agencies, Federal CIO Council, Government IT News, Innovation, Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Tony Scott, workforce
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