U.S. federal government CIO Vivek Kundra has had a team reviewing IT projects in all federal departments, and has promised a plan to reform how the government does IT. His 25-point Plan to Reform Federal IT was published on December 9, and it includes a number of actions that those of us in the for-profit sector should consider. These include:
- Data center consolidation and a government-wide marketplace for data center availability,
- A shift to a “cloud-first” policy, including contracts for IaaS solutions,
- Contract out commodity services and develop strategies for shared services,
- Strengthen program management, through a formal career path and integrated program management teams, a best practices collaboration platform, and a technology fellows program,
- Aligning the acquisition process with the technology cycle, by developing a cadre of professionals, identifying and sharing best practices, and reducing barriers to entry for small, innovative technology companies,
- Aligning the budget process with the technology cycle,
- Streamlining governance and improving accountability, with investment review boards and a re-defined role of the agency CIO, and
- Increasing engagement with industry.
Even the fed realize that the days of automation silos and “we’re different, so we need to do things differently” are over. IT is increasingly a commodity, and every organization that needs to look closely at how they plan to use their IT resources in the coming decade. In a forward-looking organization, the practicing IT project manager should expect to work on more outsourcing projects, fewer in-house application development projects, and more consolidation projects. Take a few minutes to do an honest review of your skill set. For example:
- Are you up to speed with the procurement process in your organization? Do you understand your role in preparing solicitations and managing vendor contracts?
- As information security practices get more complicated, do you have a solid grasp of your role in safeguarding the transactions and other data processed by the systems your projects will implement or modernize?
- As more IT activities get outsourced, do you have a clear vision of the support boundaries, and how the systems you bring to production will be supported?
- Are you keeping up with best practices, both those your organization has embraced and those they should?
The future in IT has always been close, but lately it seems to be just days away. Preparing for it should never be far from your thoughts.