Where’s the missing link in government?

Although this blog focuses around government it highlights an interesting paradox. The first article details the US federal Chief Information Officers Council update on the list of core competencies for training and hiring policies so they can hire personnel that are capable of addressing new technology challenges facing government. The council recently released an updated Clinger-Cohen Core Competencies and Learning Objectives and recommended that every federal agency should include staff with experience in social media, open government, and cloud computing.

The document also includes new “competencies” in IT governance, IT program management leadership, vendor management, cybersecurity, and information assurance strategies and plans. According to the article, “Federal chief information officers should ensure that the knowledge, skills and abilities represented in each competency in this document are resident within their organization for overall staff productivity,” the document said. So far all’s well and good and a step in the right direction.

Switch to another scenario. In an editorial by Steve O’Keeffe, from MeriTalk, he discusses the GAO Report released in late January. What struck me as I read both articles back to back is the apparent lack of integrated agency operational plans and the lack of accountability. Some highlights from Mr. O’Keeffe’s article that are recommended in the first article are noted below.

  • Rampant systems duplication – with 777 supply chain systems, they now need a supply chain system to track their supply chain system inventory
  • Agencies spend 73 percent of “defined” IT budget on maintaining old systems
  • IT Dashboard says almost $12.5 billion in IT projects at risk
  • $3 billion worth of IT projects are without governance
  • Data center diaspora and dollar discrepancies. Only three of 24 agencies submitted data center inventories and only one has a complete consolidation plan
  • Failed IT programs total 2.6 billion

I wonder in a ‘real’ organization how often the best laid plans of mice and men often go astray? Although if you add up IT government agency spending it would probably make our eyes pop (luckily for us no one knows what that amount is), but even on a smaller scale how many companies state corporate direction and then it all falls through the cracks? The government is not alone. It is probably more than we think.

 

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