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Archive for October 14th, 2008

Evans offers details on the coming memo defining the CIO

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OMB’s Karen Evans was speaking at the AFFIRM lunch today — and I took the opportunity to ask her about the coming OMB memo defining the CIO, which I told you about last week. (Today on Federal News Radio’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, we had Jason Miller on talking about the memo. Hear that conversation here .mp3]

Of course, agency CIOs have been required for more than a decade. They were mandated by the Clinger-Cohen Act. But since then, the government IT community loves to debate the role of the CIO — and we always hear about CIOs having a ‘seat at the table.’

The Bush administration will publish a memo — as soon as next Monday, Oct. 20 — defining the role of agency CIOs. And Evens said today that information technology is managed very differently in different agencies, and the memo will seek to put a framework around the position — particularly as the government heads into the transition period.

“What we wanted to do was to re-emphasize clearly that it is important that information technology be managed through the transition and be managed on an ongoing basis,” she said.

Evans was very frank about the memo — not that she isn’t usually frank, but…

The memo will focus on the procurement and human capital provisions of the CIO post, Evans said. OMB used as its basis the memo issued by the Homeland Security Department Secreatary Michael Chertoff. The big difference, of course, is that the DHS memo gave the CIO the power of the purse — budget control over IT spending initiatives. I’m told that this memo will not include budget authority.

Here is FCW’s March 2007 story about the DHS CIO announcement. I also made it FCW’s Buzz of the Week for the week of March 19, 2007… and the following week, in FCW’s editorial, under the headline Show ’em the money, I gave DHS credit for giving the DHS CIO spending authority over IT spending.

A few interesting points. One is that DHS, of course, has not made that memo public. DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff first announced these new provisions at a meeting of the Northern Virginia Technology Council in March 2007. (My original post back when I was the FCW Insider.) DHS doesn’t even have that speech posted.

Furthermore, again when I was at FCW, when FCW’s Ben Bain and I sat down for a conversation with DHS CIO Richard Mangonia, he specifically said that the DHS reporting structure didn’t matter.

FCW: How important is it who you report to within the organization?
Mangogna: I get my authority based on my understanding of what needs to get done and the values I get from the secretary, deputy secretary and the undersecretary for management. I don’t need any more direction than that, and I don’t think you have to manage this job by mandatory documents going down to all the CIOs and telling them to do this and that.

The reporting structure isn’t important in terms of leadership — I always say that leadership isn’t about any position. It is about getting people to believe what you believe. The reporting structure, like an agency’s budget, does say something about what an organization values. So it is perhaps interesting that OMB is using DHS as the model for this memo. DHS, after all, is one of the agencies that does not follow the Clinger-Cohen Act requirement that the CIO report to the head of the agency.

Finally, it is important to note that there are only two agencies that how the ‘power of the (IT) purse’ — DHS, by policy, and the Department of Veterans Affairs, by law.

Back to Evans for a moment… She noted that the memo is focusing on information technology, not on information management. That is largely because the information management issue ends up involving so many different parts of different organizations that it would just never get done — particularly with the amount of time left in the Bush administration.

This memo seems to be developing out the the upcoming transition, but… it seems like something that could have been done a long time ago.

Some related reading on this topic:

* FCW was at the AFFIRM event today and has a story.
* In the September issue of AFFIRM’s Signal magazine, Lt. Gen. Harry D. Raduege Jr., USAF (Ret.), the former head of the Defense Information Systems Agency, has a piece headlined, Government Oversight and the CIO . The piece has sturred some buzz around the government IT community. The money quote:

It is time for a major step toward achieving CCA strategic business benefits. This step should be to assign CIOs holistic responsibility for the areas noted above instead of allowing competitive activity outside the CIOs’responsibility and domain. After 12 years, it is time to recruit and train better CIOs, eliminate the gap between the CCA and actual practices, and give CIOs the authority needed to succeed.

* Finally, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL), as part of his technology platform, has proposed creating a government CTO. Here is what it says on his Web site:

Bring Government into the 21st Century: Barack Obama and Joe Biden will use technology to reform government and improve the exchange of information between the federal government and citizens while ensuring the security of our networks. Obama and Biden believe in the American people and in their intelligence, expertise, and ability and willingness to give and to give back to make government work better. Obama will appoint the nation’s first Chief Technology Officer (CTO) to ensure that our government and all its agencies have the right infrastructure, policies and services for the 21st century. The CTO will ensure the safety of our networks and will lead an interagency effort, working with chief technology and chief information officers of each of the federal agencies, to ensure that they use best-in-class technologies and share best practices.

Of course, it is unclear how this CTO will work within OMB… with CIOs… Sooooo many questions… About 20 days and we’ll at least begin to know who we go to for answers.

I’m fascinated by this and I’m going to keep on it because it seems important to me — and could be a real opportunity for CIOs and the CIO Council. I’m going to be following it closely. Tomorrow on Federal News Radio’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, we’re going to talk to Roger Baker, the former Commerce Department CIO. (Baker was on Federal News Radio’s InDepth program last month talking about the concept of a CTO. It is worth a listen.)

Written by cdorobek

October 14, 2008 at 7:54 PM

Happy birthday to… Helen Mosher

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Happy birthday to Helen Mosher, who is the New Media Editor for AFCEA’s SIGNAL Magazine. She is one of the hardest working “virtual” people I know — and absolutely passionate about innovative ways to use technology… in publishing… in government… She Twitters… she has built AFCEA’s Second Life island… she blogs — in fact, she work blogs and she off-work blogs. And she just got married, so… it has been an exciting year for her.

I should note that Signal magazine and I are in talks about me writing a column for their monthly magazine… so there you go — transparency.

Anyway, happy birthday to Mosher.

On this date in history:

* in 1964, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was named winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.

* 1890, Dwight David Eisenhower, the 34th United States president and highly respected American general, was born.

* in 1968, the first live telecast from a manned U.S. spacecraft was transmitted from Apollo 7.

* in 1979 Wayne Gretzky of the Edmonton Oilers scored the first of his National Hockey League record 894 goals in a home game against the Vancouver Cancucks.

It’s the birthday of William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania, born in London in 1644. He was the son of an admiral, and even after he became a Quaker, he continued to wear splendid clothes and to carry his sword to Friends meetings. Read more about Penn on the Library of Congress’s ‘on this day in history’ page.

Also celebrating today:

98 John Wooden
Hall of Fame basketball coach

92 C. Everett Koop
Former surgeon general

81 Roger Moore
Actor

70 John Dean
Former White House counsel

69 Ralph Lauren
Fashion designer

50 Thomas Dolby
Rock singer, musician

34 Natalie Maines
Country singer (Dixie Chicks)

Written by cdorobek

October 14, 2008 at 9:07 AM

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A correction… and a even bigger congratulations to Microsoft’s Teresa Carlson

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Over the weekend, I posted about Microsoft promotions. Unfortunately, I had heard word about Teresa Carlson’s promotion and the… well, I just got it wrong. (And no, I’m not linking to an incorrect item. Well, OK. You can read the incorrect item here. In the interest of transparency, I have not deleted it. Instead, I have made it clear that I was in error and I have directed people to this post, which is correct. As I mention there, I didn’t have a formal DorobekInsider correction policy — how would I deal with mistakes when we make them — because we will make them. I will have one and I will post it by the end of the week.)

That being said, a very big congratulations to Teresa Carlson.

In fact, Carlson is going to lead all of Microsoft’s federal government business. She replaces Curt Kolcun, who was promoted in July to be vice president of Microsoft federal’s parent division, Microsoft’s Public Sector business group.

Here is the real release — dated today, I might add.

Microsoft Promotes Carlson to Lead Federal Government Business

Moves to V.P. Position after Managing Company’s Civilian Government Sector

Washington, D.C. – October 14, 2008 — Microsoft Corp. announced today that the company has promoted Teresa Carlson to Vice President for its U.S. federal government business. In this role, Carlson is responsible for all of Microsoft’s business focused on the U.S. federal government, including sales, contracting, pre-sales technical support, consulting services, and customer satisfaction. Carlson replaces Curt Kolcun, who was recently promoted to manage Microsoft’s entire U.S. Public Sector division, which in addition to the federal government, includes responsibilities for state and local government, as well as higher education and K-12 markets.

Carlson joined the company in 2002 as part of Microsoft Federal to start up and manage its Business Productivity unit. In that role, she led a team focused on delivering customer business value through a portfolio of business scenarios. She then was promoted to lead the U.S. Federal Solutions Unit where she created a comprehensive solutions framework that was introduced into the U.S. federal market place. Teresa was also responsible for Microsoft’s U.S. Federal partner channel, which consists of more than 2,500 Microsoft business partners.

In July 2005 Carlson became Microsoft Federal’s U.S. Director of Strategy and Operations, where she assisted in running the overall Federal business, in addition to developing new concepts, methods and strategies for working in the U.S. federal market. In 2006 she assumed responsibility for Microsoft’s U.S. Federal Civilian Agencies and International Global Organizations (IGOs) business. In this role, Carlson was responsible for sales, contracting, pre-sales technical support, customer satisfaction and performance.

Before joining Microsoft, Carlson was the Worldwide Vice President for marketing and business development for Lexign Inc., formerly Keyfile Corp., a software company focused on secure, end-to-end business transactions using XML and other technologies. Upon acquisition of three separate companies by Lexign, Carlson was responsible for the overall strategy, integration world-wide launch of the newly merged company.

Carlson is a native of Kentucky and holds an undergraduate as well as an M.S. degree in Communications, Speech and Language Pathology from Western Kentucky University. Carlson currently serves on the boards of the Bethesda, Md., chapter of AFCEA; AFFIRM; the American Red Cross; TIE-DC, and NPower.

I will reiterate what I said in the earlier post:

Carlson leads Microsoft’s strong federal team — a group of people who are passionate about helping the government accomplish it’s mission. Yes, they are also interested in helping Microsoft be successful, but…

I know Carlson fairly well. She has been a powerful force in helping the government establish the Federal Core Desktop Configuration. (Read Microsoft’s info about the FCDC here.) That is a case where the FCDC may have helped Microsoft, but… it is also an important piece of securing agency PCs… and it is a key part of the Bush administration’s stepped-up cyber-security initiative. It ends up that she did not win a Fed 100 award for her efforts — Shelly Bird, chief architect at Microsoft Consulting Services did, and, from what I have heard, deservedly so. But I have also had insiders tell me that this initiative never would have come to fruition without Carlson’s energy and efforts.

I think FCDC is an example where both government and industry can work together. It doesn’t always work out that ways, right?

Congratulations to Carlson. This is well deserved.

Written by cdorobek

October 14, 2008 at 8:23 AM

Hearing from Bruce McConnell about Bruce McConnell

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I mentioned late last night that Bruce McConnell has agreed to sell his companiesMcConnell International and Government Futures — to Clinton Rubin LLC, a management consulting firm in Pennsylvania.

Early this morning, I got this note from McConnell:

I am pleased to announce that my two firms, Government Futures and McConnell International, have been acquired by Clinton Rubin, LLC, a management consulting firm based near Philadelphia. As you will see, the combined company offers exciting new services and value to government-facing clients. I will continue to be involved as an adviser and consultant.

On a more personal note, I have come to believe that our planet is at a profound turning point. The challenges we face as human beings and as a nation create daunting yet wonderful opportunities to collaborate in new ways, if we open to them. I believe my best contribution is to continue to find common ground among diverse worldviews, and to be a catalyst where business, government, and technology collide and react to create a better world. I welcome your ideas and inspirations.

McConnell — even while he was at OMB — has been one of the people who looked at technology as a way of enabling organizations to accomplish their missions. And like me, he is fascinated by what Web 2.0 means for government. I hope he stays actively involved in those issues — and others.

And… congratulations.

Written by cdorobek

October 14, 2008 at 8:15 AM

Posted in Industry, M&A

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McConnell International sold to Clinton Rubin

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McConnell International, which was founded and run by Bruce McConnell, the former information
technology chief at the Office of Management and Budget, has been sold to Clinton Rubin LLC, a consulting firm specializing in executive level management services, it was announced overnight.

I literally just saw the release, so I don’t know much more then what I read, but… according to the release [.pdf]…

McConnell International – a Clinton Rubin LLC company, is a consulting firm specializing in bringing the best of private sector resources, including technology-centered services, to government executives to solve their mission critical problems. The firm provides executive consultants with in-depth governmental experience and expertise to advise senior management in industry and government. McConnell International has an established Federal agency practice that provides expertise across a broad range of civilian agencies including the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of
Treasury, and other financial services agencies.

McConnell International, while becoming a Clinton Rubin LLC company, will maintain its focus on the government sector and will bring significant additional value to client engagements through Clinton Rubin’s strategic consulting and project management capabilities. Bruce McConnell, McConnell International’s founder and former information technology chief at the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, will remain actively involved in the new venture.

I assume that McConnell’s Government Futures site comes along with the deal, but… the release doesn’t say. Government Futures was an interesting experiment in building a futures market — a predictive market — around government issues. The difficulty, as with so many of these initiatives, is building a user base.

Read the full release after the break…
Read the rest of this entry »

Written by cdorobek

October 14, 2008 at 1:32 AM

Posted in Industry

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