The Federal Government's Digital Strategy: Information and ServicesJune 13, 2012
In last week’s blog, I wrote about a report from Alta Terra Research Network regarding the proliferation of Internet and cloud-based computing and how existing and expanding green energy sources of power can help to lower the demand on conventional energy sources and lower IT’s carbon footprint. So it was with great interest that I read the new directive from the White House and report from the federal Chief Information Office that sets the stage for the federal government to use mobile and web-based technologies to develop and provide better services to the nation’s citizens. The report is entitled, “Digital Government: Building a 21st Century Platform to Better Serve the American People", and the reforms are on a rapid timeframe—12 months to completion.
“We want people to interact with government much like they do with Facebook,” said federal Chief Information Officer Steve VanRoekel. “The digital strategy is the way we’re going to do this.” Initially, the focus was on developing consistent standards for mobile devices and applications, according to Politico, “But the plan expanded and morphed into an overall digital government strategy as VanRoekel and his team incorporated key tenets of the administration’s plan for website reform. The final version fused the mobile and website reform strategies into one document.”
In releasing the report, the President issued a memorandum that summarizes the reasons for reform. “For far too long, the American people have been forced to navigate a labyrinth of information across different Government programs in order to find the services they need. In addition, at a time when Americans increasingly pay bills and buy tickets on mobile devices, Government services often are not optimized for smartphones or tablets, assuming the services are even available online.”
In light of the Alta Terra Research Network's report on IT and green power, it will be interesting to see how this rolls out and the degree to which the federal government employs energy conservation strategies as a component to reduce costs and lower their IT carbon footprint. I read the 27 page report and encourage my readers to do so, too. It’s very readable, and the geeky stuff is explained pretty well. I am disappointed there was no specific reference to incorporating sustainability as an objective. I noted five entries of "cloud" in the document, beginning in the second sentence and later in the Security section. No entries re green power, sustainability, energy savings, etc., but several references to lowering costs and achieving efficiency.
I noticed that the White House’s press release and the report itself have garnered a lot of attention and praise from the media and IT industry, who must be pleased about their expected involvement in achieving the reforms. Let’s hope that energy-conscious strategies are employed in building our 21st century digital government. I’ll circle back on this issue in the coming weeks and report on it.
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