The leading ladies of federal technology sat down today at FedTalks 2013 to share their information technology priorities, their work and some best practices for industry trying to work with the federal government.
Robyn East, deputy assistant secretary for information systems and chief information office of the Treasury Department, Margie Graves, acting CIO for the Homeland Security Department, and Casey Coleman, CIO of the General Services Administration, came together June 12 at the Mead Center for American Theater in Washington, D.C., for a panel discussion moderated by Teresa Carlson, vice president of Amazon Web Services’ worldwide public sector.
Sequestration was at the forefront of the discussion. At the Treasury Department, East is using increased investment oversight and strategic sourcing initiatives to deal with the affects of sequestration. An effort is currently underway to standardize Treasury printers, which East believes will result in cost savings.
GSA is pioneering innovation during sequestration by consolidating its entire IT infrastructure. By bringing all of GSA’s seven IT departments under one office, Coleman says its IT workforce is better able to support the GSA enterprise, cutting costs simultaneously.
Another important component of each woman’s IT strategy – mobility. Graves said DHS is concerned with the intersection of mobility and security, recognizing the elevated importance of social media tools and mobility for the law enforcement community. East is concentrating her efforts on mobile treasury, starting with consolidation and moving into rebuilding infrastructure and security architecture to make it more enterprise and effective.
The women concluded by each offering suggestions to private sector on how best to work with their agency.
“[I]f you’re coming in to visit us, you need to understand our goals and our priorities,” Coleman said.
According to East, the Treasury Department is “struggling to find efficiencies,” and the “private sector needs to come in and help.”
Graves suggests private sector first “fill the gaps.” There are always unmet needs and requirements within an agency and industry can more readily work with DHS by identifying and creating solutions to them. Business should take note of Graves’ pointed example of DHS gaps such as credential solutions, tokens and other types of security architectures.
Second, Graves urged industry to look at the way DHS markets services, as well as agency business models. Consumption-based pricing, for example, is important for DHS services.