Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Cloud Computing and the Process Integration Era

The Industry Advisory Council (IAC) is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to fostering improved communications and understanding between government and industry. through its affiliation with the American Council for Technology (ACT), IAC provides a forum for industry to collaborate with and advise government executives on IT issues.

In fulfilling this role, the ACT-IAC Transition Study Group recently released a paper titled "Returning Innovation to the Federal Government with Information Technology". Since the Obama's administration stated goals include the "use [of] technology to create a more transparent and connected democracy" and the employment of technology "to solve our nation's most pressing problems", this groups recommendations should certainly be considered.

For this audience, their statements about information technology creating two major categories for performance breakthroughs in government bears attention. According to ACT-IAC, service oriented architecture, software-as-a-service and cloud computing promise to create significant opportunity for reducing budget, improving process quality, and relieving staffing needs.

"The government has thousands of systems that cannot work together and were never designed to do so. This is because components of processes were automated in 1990s era PC or client server technology. Today’s technologies such as service-oriented architecture constructs, use standards and end-to-end process integration to automate processes in a manner that reduces operating costs and errors. These technologies free up labor to focus on problem solving."

The Transition Study Group sees the appointment of the proposed national Chief Technology Officer as a key step towards realizing these and other improvements in our government. They also suggest that the CTO can provide the leadership required to orchestrate innovation within and across Federal agencies. A need for significant changes in federal IT investment processes is also highlighted.

First I'd like to thank ACT-IAC and the Transition Study Group for the insight and thought provoking recommendations offered in their papers. Second, I would like to ask our government decision makers to read this paper and to seriously consider the study group's views and recommendations.

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