Are Government Agencies Drowning in Data?

Recently Federal Computer Week featured an article entitled: Why agencies are drowning in data. The article was based on a recent survey by Semantic Corporation on effective big data strategies. The survey found that that the main reasons for agencies feeling overwhelmed were data governance and data security. I think, however, they were asking the wrong questions.

The government is currently producing and making available huge amounts of data. I agree that this data needs to be kept secure and managed so it can be made available to the appropriate users. However, I think the bigger question is who is taking the time to look at the data and what are they doing with the information. Take acquisition data, for instance. There are volumes of data about what the government is purchasing, who in the government is making the purchases and what they are buying. Government analysts could be asking questions like:

Are we getting the best price possible on specific commodities?
Does one agency negotiate better prices than other agencies?
Why don’t we all get those good prices?
Which contract vehicles are most cost effective?
Is lowest price always the best answer?
Do we get more returns on commercial items that were purchased due to lower prices?

The list could go on and on. The problem is that no one is really looking at the data — truly analyzing it. Analysis of this type is very common in the private sector as businesses try to understand where they fit in a marketplace and how to make their supply chain run more efficiently. Government employees do not look at themselves as running a business.  They are always looking for cheaper prices and more efficient business practices, but often do not have the […]

3 Things I’ve Learned Since Joining the Private Sector

Many of my friends and colleagues are still “on the inside,” as in working for the Federal Government as civilian employees. I took the plunge 18 months ago; I retired and went to work in the private sector. This blog post is for my friends and colleagues who may be thinking about doing the same thing. I’ve got some points I’d like for you to consider that reach beyond the obvious.

1. You must stay informed. When working for the Federal Government, as long as you know the chain of command in your organization, the goals and objectives set by the organization, and the informal power structure therein, you really don’t have to pay too much attention to the larger world. If policies change the policy people will tell you – and even they have to be in touch with only their assigned area of responsibility. Sure, you are more effective if you continually survey the entire landscape, but you don’t necessarily have to do this.

In the private sector nobody tells you when to pay attention. Reading news articles, participating in LinkedIn discussion groups, monitoring trade journals is something you have to do now as part of your daily work habits. Suddenly it’s all about what you know that’s new in addition to who or what you know.

2. The bottom line is real and you must contribute. As a civil servant I worked hard to stay within budget for my projects. But truth be told, when unforeseen issues or needs arose, there was always money somewhere to bridge the gap. You do need skills such as anticipation, persuasiveness, and passion to get the available money before somebody else does, but somehow there’s always a way […]

An Alternative to FSSI?

FSSI solutions provide easy access to its procurement vehicles, which offer business intelligence, best practice solutions, and greater discounts with volume increases.

Let’s Get the B2G Conversation Started — Part 2

It’s hard to imagine that there would be any reluctance to explore the possibilities for a project or product with others who have direct knowledge and expertise and yet, getting that conversation started seems to be the hardest part of doing business with the Government.

Government Acquisition Players Benefit from eCommerce

No matter whose perspective you use, eCommerce is a good idea for government acquisition. Unfortunately it is a much underutilized tool in the government acquisition tool box. Why do you think the federal government has been slow in utilizing this technology that has been around for almost 20 years?

B2B VS B2G: How eCommerce Can Save the Government Money

Business to Business (B2B) markets have impacted the business community for a number of years now. Their positive impact on the economy is evident in several ways.

Why Open Source Software is Good for the Government: Part 4 – What Next?

Even with the many benefits of open source software (OSS), misconceptions of open source software persists. One of the hurdles seems to be that the government acquisition community is not as familiar with the variety of products and services as they could be.

Why Open Source Software is Good for the Government: Part 3 – OSS Adoption

Since the 2009 OSD memorandum supporting open source software, DOD has been making strides in the use of open source software, but there is a long way to go.

Why Open Source Software is Good for the Government: Part 2 – Cost Savings

Money can be saved in almost any IT application being developed, which is perhaps the most compelling reason that government should consider open source software for all projects.

  • Permalink Gallery

    Why Open Source Software is Good for the Government: Part 1 – An Introduction to OSS

Why Open Source Software is Good for the Government: Part 1 – An Introduction to OSS

In these days of tight budgets, the government has to look at every possible area to achieve cost savings. Using more open source software in government IT systems is a good way to start.

Google+