Highlights From: The Bridge on November 5th – The Future of Automation in Government & Getting Maximum Bang for Your IT Budget

On November 5th at 11 am on WJLA; and 6PM on News Channel 8 Host of The Bridge Jim McCarthy – was joined by Dave Mihelcic, Chief Technology and Strategy Officer, Juniper Networks (Federal) and Davey Ahearn, CEO & Founding Partner, BluestoneLogic to shed light on where the future of government automation is heading and suggestions for how IT systems can be made more agile and secure.

Later in the show,  McCarthy sat with Wagish Bhartiya, Senior Director of Software as a Service (SaaS) Business, REI. They’ll discuss Wagish’s expertise in the field of data analytics and performance management and how these processes can help reshape the way government delivers health, education and defense.

Highlights from the Show:

Jim McCarthy: “What are some strategies that the government and private sector ought to use in order to modernize legacy systems in a time of constrained budgets.

Davey Ahearn: I think in the current environment we are looking at these legacy systems and they’re based on old technology.  I think the government needs to look more towards the commercial sector to see what they’ve done and implement their actual solutions in a way that works for them and to share the burden of sustaining these systems with industry rather than taking on the entire burden themselves.

Dave Mihelcic: I agree with Davey. I think a couple points of focus would be to construct systems in a modular fashion, and that way we can integrate the best commercial technologies, open source technologies, and in certain instances government unique technologies.

Jim McCarthy: How can IT be made to be more agile, efficient, more virtualized and more secure?

Dave Mihelcic:  I always like to start with open standards. You may buy equipment and technologies from proprietary vendors but you want to have interfaces that are open. There are technologies that exist today, open standard source toolkits that allow you to do that. Ansible is one of them, Saltstack, Puppet, and Chef leverage these technologies and products and allows you to use them directly.

Dave Ahearn: I’d add on to that by mentioning that with open source code and open source technology many people don’t realize that software is essentially literature. Its written in a language we don’t normally speak, but it’s readable and when open source technology has a readable language it can be secured at its lowest level.

Second Half of Show With Wagish Bhartiya:

Jim McCarthy: Define for our audience what you mean by performance management and analytics, and second why should they care, or why is it important to them?

Wagish Bhartiya: Data Analytics is the notion of using data, reporting on it and visualizing to extract meaning. Performance management is the next step or the evolution from data analytics; in the form of using evidence to make better policy and to inform decision making. I think folks in the government and contracting world’s should care for the following three reasons.

  1. Right now the broader group of citizens are asking more from their government than ever before but the resources aren’t following suit.
  2. Pew research suggests trust in government is at an all-time low. One in five Americans actually trusts the government will do the right thing.
  3. Program funding and program budgets are being decided with a hatchet and not with a scalpel so it’s all or nothing. 

Jim McCarthy: What are some of the tools that you utilize or recommend in this area of Performance Management and Analytics?

Wagish Bhartiya: From a framework perspective I’d offer a four-step process. Start with describing what matters to your agency or program. Go out and collect that data. Analyze it. Then React and learn from it. In addition, individuals should understand that data is multitudinous, and as such visualization should be used to help identify outliers. Manage by exception as opposed to the rule, that will help identify some of the things that need to be either exploited because they are working, or addressed because they are a risk to the government.

For more information about The Bridge, check: http://thebridgeontv.com/ or stream the episode HERE (https://vimeo.com/241061180)

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