New Endings, New Beginnings: Looking Ahead to 2011

Posted by Ed O’Hare
on January 7, 2011

It’s now been just over a year since I launched the Great Government through Technology blog. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it. It’s the thoughtful discussions I’ve had with you—our valued customer agencies, industry partners, and government colleagues—that prompted me to write this blog in the first place.

As you may know, I will be retiring this month. For my last two years as Assistant Commissioner of GSA’s FAS Office of Integrated Technology Services (ITS), I’ve had the good fortune to work with great people and oversee a number of exciting initiatives: the successful rollout of GSA’s Alliant and Alliant Small Business GWACs, the Future Commercial Satellite Communications Services Acquisition (FCSA) in partnership with the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), and the awarding of Infrastructure-as-a-Service contracts, GSA’s first cloud offering.

GSA has proved its commitment to greater agency and industry partnership, acquisition innovation, and operational excellence.

Looking Ahead to 2011

For my final post on the Great Government through Technology blog, I’d like to look ahead, rather than reflect on the past. Here’s what I see on the horizon for federal IT and GSA in 2011.

Sustainability, cybersecurity, and cloud computing offerings have reached or passed their tipping points. In addition, budget concerns, increased oversight, and a serious need for better IT project management will lead to smaller IT acquisitions and greater collaboration.

Sustainability. With the President’s Executive Order (EO) 13514: Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance, government agencies must become more sustainable. GSA, among others, must help achieve “greener government.” At the same time, agencies will be driven by budget concerns to seek out technologies that offer greater operational efficiency and sustainability.

Cybersecurity. Innovative acquisition solutions are critical to securing our nation’s digital infrastructure. GSA must address agencies’ current requirements and anticipate their future needs. The next generation of cybersecurity offerings must entail fully integrated solutions made up of pre-authorized products and services.

Security needs and budget concerns will require increased cross-agency partnerships, such as the DoD and DHS Cybercommand Memo of Understanding (MOU) and will spur experimentation with industry-government partnerships to leverage government buying power and private sector best practices.

Cloud Computing. Cloud computing may prove to be the nexus of sustainability, cybersecurity, and IT organizations’ need to stretch their funding. In line with these concerns and the federal CIO’s “cloud first” policy, cloud will become the default option for IT operations. Hybrid clouds will proliferate. Pay-as-you-go, or subscription models, will become increasingly common. GSA’s Infrastructure-as-a-Service offering is only the first of great things to come.

Smaller IT Acquisitions. Agencies will seek out ways to make IT projects more manageable, cheaper, and less risky, to include breaking large-scale IT implementations into smaller projects issued under task orders to existing contract vehicles such as Alliant and Alliant Small Business.

Collaboration. Whether we’re talking about innovative partnership strategies such as FCSA, the DoD-DHS MOU, new Web 2.0 tools such as GSA’s Interact, or improved communication among acquisition and IT shops, increased collaboration will be key to improving IT project management.

The “Beat” Goes On

While GSA may face many challenges, 2011 will be an exciting year. Where there are challenges, there are also opportunities to innovate.

In the words of a former major league baseball commissioner, “Players turn over, owners turn over, and certain commissioners turn over. But baseball goes on.” Though I am moving on, I want to welcome Mary Davie, who will be taking my place as Assistant Commissioner of the GSA FAS Office of Integrated Technology Services (ITS).

As former head of the GSA FAS Office of Assisted Acquisition Services (AAS), Mary’s IT acquisition experience, innate understanding of customers’ needs, and proven leadership ability make her uniquely suited for leading ITS and working with you to realize the vision of Great Government through Technology.

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