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GCN : June 2013
GCN JUNE 2013 • GCN.COM 39 actionable information to more effectively and efficiently manage government re- sources and execute their respective mis- sions. BRAND NIEMANN FORMER ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY SENIOR ENTERPRISE ARCHITECT AND DATA SCIENTIST In the 1980s, the technology with the great- est impact on government were the new PCs with Lotus 1-2-3 and WordPerfect. In the 1990's, Web 1.0 and writable CD-ROMs and DVDs. 2000s: Web 2.0 and 3.0 (Wikis and semantic technology). Other key tech- nologies were: Business intelligence and analytics (SAS), Advanced visualizations and statistics (Spotfire), Cell-level data- base security (Accumulo), Entity extrac- tion and natural language processing (Se- mantic Medline), Graph computing (Cray XMP), Event processing and visualization (Recorded Future) Dynamic case man- agement (Be Informed). SASI PILLAY CTO, NASA I believe mobile computing through the use of smart phones has revolutionized govern- ment. With this technology, we can now rollout applications in a secure manner that implements risk-based security. This also enables the workforce to operate from any- where, anytime, securely, which definitely improves employee productivity. There are over a billion smart phones in use around the world and this has allowed citizens around the world to more actively participate in citizen science, interact with their government for services, and report on their concerns. Every smart phone user can record real-time events and be a free- lance reporter. They also can download applications of their choice and customize their computing environment. In the end, employees and citizens have a common platform to interact with their government. TOM SUDER PRESIDENT, MOBILEGOV In the 1980s, the personal computer, by increasing what an individual could do by automating and simplifying routine tasks. In the 1990's, the network increased what an office/organization could do through communication/collaboration. And in the 2000s, the growth of the Internet in- creased what the entire world could do though communication/collaboration. WHAT NON-TECH EVENT HAS HAD THE MOST POSITIVE INFLUENCE ON GOVERNMENT IT IN THE LAST 30 YEARS? CAREY: While the use of information technology has continued to acceler- ate, there are many non-tech events that have had profound effects on government IT. Two come to mind. The first, the dis- ability rights movement, has likely had the greatest influence on government IT in the last 30 years. It describes the cul- tural paradigm shift in how people with disabilities are regarded and treated in society. At the height of the movement, President Bill Clinton signed into law the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998, strengthening Section 508 of the act by requiring that people with disabilities have access to electronic and information technology provided by the federal gov- ernment. The second is the Wikileaks case. Due to the pervasive nature of the use of IT to conduct business, the lack of proper implementation of security policy and controls has driven the entire federal gov- ernment on a difference course regard- ing cybersecurity and the need to ensure adequate controls are in place to ensure mission success. HOWERTON: The move away from big projects with waterfall techniques that take five years to complete has been a huge win for the government. The abil- ity to move to agile environments, where prototypes can be built, you can get feed- back from the customer and then deliver products to them, has taken a lot of risk and cost out of projects. KARMEL: As IT has become consumer- ized and delivered into the hands of con- stituents, we as IT practitioners are forced to think differently, moving from the role of sole IT provider for an organization to more of an IT broker and trusted adviser. LORD: I believe it has been the educa- tion and subsequent influence of younger people to want a government that is more tech savvy. They come to government jobs and want the same high-tech capabilities they have at home and often times they don't get it in government. They have been a forcing function for the government to modernize. And failing to do so may cause that generation to not wish be part of orga- nizations they feel are technologically out of touch. The establishment of the chief information officer position within each government department has also helped to focus positively in the IT arena. MAHAFFEE: There are two major non- technical events that had a major positive influence on government IT. First, the 9/11 tragedy highlighted within the government and the world an appreciation for connect- ing and sharing vast amounts of data that exist in discrete repositories (e.g., databas- es, computers). This event made the United States and its allies more determined to break down barriers by accelerating the de- velopment of new technologies, processes, policies and creating a workforce focused on data mining and cloud technologies. Al- though this was critical to combat the war on terror, the resulting technologies have contributed to many other breakthroughs in areas such as medicine, safety, retail, etc. The second major non-technical event was how the Clinger-Cohen Act completely changed the way we think about the CIO and IT programs. Even with its flaws, it was game-changing in the 1990s and posi- tioned a lot of what we take for granted in IT today. Related to the CCA is the continued emphasis and proliferation of open stan- dards, which has enabled more companies to effectively compete in the open market. NIEMANN: Collaboration among commu- nities of practice. SUDER: The Hatch Act (prohibiting civil servants from partisan politicking) which is before my time!