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DorobekINSIDER: GovLoop issue of the week: CES, CES Government, and mobile

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GovLoop InsightsWelcome to the GovLoop Insights Issue of the Week with Chris Dorobek.

Each week, our goal is to where each week, our goal is to find an issue — a person — an idea — then helped define the past 7-days… and we work to find an issue that will also will have an impact on the days, weeks and months ahead. And, as always, we focus on six words: helping you do your job better.

This week, we’re going to get geeky… we’re going to embrace our inner nerd. This week was the annual gadget-a-thon known as CES — the Consumer Electronics Show out in Las Vegas. I got to attend for the first time this year — both to CES and CES Government. One of the key speakers was Steve VanRoekel, the federal chief information officer. And later on, we’ll have highlights of his speech, and talk about what it means for you.

Also later on, we’ll have our weekend reading list — the weekends are a good time to rejuvenate — but also some time to take a step back and ponder. And we’ll have some reading that may guide you as you work to think outside of the box.

But after the break, we’ll have our look at the week that was for the second week of January 2012… plus the full Week in Review…

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DorobekINSIDER: HUD’s Chris Niedermayer to retire

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HUD Dept. Chris Niedermayer

HUD Dept. Chris Niedermayer

Chris Niedermayer, the Deputy CIO for Business and IT Modernization at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, has announced internally that he is retiring after 33 years of public service, the DorobekINSIDER has learned.

His last day will be Dec. 3. He has told friends that he plans to take two or three months off to “decompress” and that he will start looking for new opportunities after the new year.

Niedermayer is well respected in the government IT community having worked in a number of key posts, most recent at the Patent and Trademark Office, and before that at the Agriculture Department. He was recruited by HUD CIO Jerry Williams to be a  key part of the IT leadership team at the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Earlier this year, Niedermayer was struck with Lyme Disease. After a tough battle, he has now fully recovered.

Read Niedermayer’s full bio… after the break.

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Written by cdorobek

December 2, 2011 at 8:52 AM

DorobekINSIDER: GovLoop Insights Issue of the Week: cyber-security innovation

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It was a difficult week to find a single topic that defined the week.As always, our goal with GovLoop Insights Issue of the Weekis to look at an issue — a person — an idea — then helped define the past 7-days… but we also work to find a topic that also will have an impact on the days, weeks and months ahead. And, as always, we focus on six words: helping you do your job better.I was at the 21th annual Executive Leadership Conference, hosted by the American Council on Technology and the Industry Advisory Council, took place last week in Williamsburg, VA. And I helped to lead an UNsession talking about government innovation. (I’m still looking for your thoughts: How would you finish the sentence: “I can help government innovation by…” I’d love to hear what you think.)In the end, we decided to talk about innovation… and to close out Cyber-Security Awareness Month… by talking about cyber-security innovation.

But first… a quick review of the other stories that were news for the last week of October…

We start with the technology story of the week… which was… the first speech [PDF] by the new federal CIO, Steve VanRoekel. Unfortunately he didn’t speak to an audience of government executives — the 21st annual Executive Leadership Conference was going on this week. VanRoekel decided to speak to an audience in California — specifically, at Palo Alto’s storied PARC headquarters.

That aside, it was the federal CIO’s first speech since he took that post nearly three months ago. And he stressed that his focus will be to drive innovation in government and make investments in technology that better serve the American people.

He detailed specific initiatives inside each of the administration’s focus areas — maximizing IT return on investment, improving citizen and business interaction with agencies, closing the so-called productivity gap and cybersecurity.

I’ll have a round-up of stories about the speech soon on DorobekINSIDER.

Staying in technology… what are the challenges facing state technology executives? The National Association of State CIOs has just published its annual list of the strategies, management processes and solutions [PDF]. Topping the list — it will be no surprise to you: consolidation — and I would add, doing more with less. Number two is budget and cost controls. Security comes in at number six… and mobile comes in at number 10.

The top tech priority for state CIOs, according to NASCIO: virtualization.
Read full list [PDF]GovLoop is also asking you for your thoughts about the priorities and technologies that will help you do your job.

Our management story of the week… well, it also involves technology… it’s the ongoing troubles with the government’s job site: USAJobs.gov. We’ve told you over the weeks that the Office of Personnel Management rolled out a brand new version of USA-Jobs, but the new site has been plagued with problems. The Washington Post reports that the site would crash repeatedly, error messages popped up over and over, résumés disappeared, passwords were obliterated. In some cases, it even got geography wrong. Searches for Delaware, for example, turning up jobs in Germany. And Federal Computer Week notes those problems were having an impact. An analysis indicates that the number of resumes coming in through the new site is at least 60 percent less than the earlier version. And now lawmakers are asking the federal CIO to step in to help.

In gov 2.0 news… The Department of Veterans Affairs named RelayHealth as the winner of its “Blue Button for All Americans” contest. The Blue Button allows veterans across the country to download their health data. Even better: McKesson’s RelayHealth announced that it is donating the $50,000 prize to the Wounded Warrior Project, which supports programs that assist injured Servicemembers, Veterans and their families. Awesome — all the way around!

Our budget story of the week… is, of course, the super-committee, which is facing a deadline just before Thanksgiving to make its recommendations on cuts. And there is a lot of back-and-fourth fighting going on. At the Executive Leadership Conference this week, a congressional staffer suggested that agencies should expect significant budget cuts. We’ll continue to watch it, of course.

And four recommendations for some reading this weekend…

One from the Harvard Business Review about government start-ups… Government “start-ups” — new agencies, offices, or initiatives — have the potential to be a powerful tool for solving critical policy problems at the local, state, and federal levels. But while creating the “new and the nimble” within an established bureaucracy is a well-known art form in the private sector, governments are still struggling to do it effectively. Read more — we have the link online.

FastCompany has the story about the Silicon Valley’s new hiring strategy for IT: NOT hiring PhDs.

And are you having trouble finding the right person for the right job? In the Wall Street Journal, this week, a piece on why companies are facing the same challenge.

Finally, social media experts… some feel uncomfortable with that title. The EPA’s Jeffrey Levey explains on GovLoop.

But the GovLoop Issue of the Week… the end of October also marks the end of cyber-security awareness month… and this week, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told the Washington Post that she spends a considerable amount of time dealing with cybersecurity threats, including potential attacks on the nation’s infrastructure. (Video)

This week, the Security Innovation Network was holding a conference in Washington assessing ways to help solve the challenges facing government — and there are many of them, and they have been evolving quickly. Robert Rodriguez is the chairman and Managing Principal of the Security Innovation Network. He tells me that things are changing in the age of austerity…

Written by cdorobek

October 29, 2011 at 3:36 PM

DorobekINSIDER: ELC 2011: UNsessioning about YOUR role in government innovation

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Innovation — we all know it’s important, particularly in these rapidly changing times. We also know that it is hard. At the 2011 Executive Leadership Conference, hosted by the American Council on Technology and the Industry Advisory Council, we are going to try to help. And even if you are not at ELC 2011, there is still a way for you to participate — even if you aren’t here in Williamsburg.

ACT-IACToday, as part of ELC’s technology innovation track – the last panel of the day – and we are trying an ELC innovation about innovation. We are holding an UN-session. For the past several years, there have been un-conferences. Un-conferences — and, by extension, our un-session — is very open. There is a topic, but there are no set list of speakers. It is wisdom of the crowds in the conference format — it enables open, collaborative learning using a format that “creates space for peer-to-peer learning, collaboration and creativity.”

I’m thrilled to be working with Kathy Conrad, the principal deputy associate administrator of GSA’s Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies.

The UN-session is the final panel of the ELC’s technology innovation track. And our goal is to walk out of the UNsession with… homework, for lack of a better term. We want to come up with tools that people can take — and try — in their organization that encourage and enable innovation. And we are then continuing the sharing after ELC ends — I’ve created a section on GovLoop, the social network for government, where I hope people will share their lessons… what worked, what didn’t. (Hear Conrad talk about some of her thoughts on the GovLoop Insights Issue of the Week podcast from this past week.)

One of my new favorite books is Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries — and I think it is a book about innovation. It’s about making it a part of your live and your thinking. (A preview: The DorobekINSIDER book club will be coming back next year — and, if we can work out schedules, this will be our book. More to come. Stay tuned.)

Read our thoughts — and our notes for the un-session — after the break.

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Written by cdorobek

October 24, 2011 at 11:31 AM

DorobekINSIDER: Kundra names Schlosser as deputy federal CIO

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Lisa Schlosser has been appointed the next deputy administrator in the Office of E-Government and Information Technology in the Office of Management and Budget. She will start in that post on July 5, sources tell the DorobekINSIDER.In that role, she effectively serves as the deputy federal CIO.

Schlosser has been at the Environmental Protection Agency since 2008, initial overseeing the Office of Information Collection and most recently as the principal deputy associate administrator for EPA’s Office of External Affairs and Environmental Education. Before that, she was the CIO at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. (NOTE: This information has been updated at of 06.02.2011.)

She will replace Mike Howell, who left the OMB post late last year to become deputy program manager for the Information Sharing Environment.

Schlosser is widely respected within the CIO community and she has an impressive resume having experience across a wide variety of issues, including cyber-security. She also served as a military intelligence officer for the Army. Her efforts have also been recognized with Federal Computer Week’s 2008 Fed 100 award and the Laureate Award by the Computerworld Honors Program.

Before HUD, she was the associate CIO and chief information security officer at Transportation Department and she served as the vice-president for Business Operations and Response Services for Global Integrity and a a senior manager for Ernst & Young.

Schlosser is a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserves and did a tour of duty in the Middle East during the Iraq war.

Read her full bio after the break:

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Written by cdorobek

June 1, 2011 at 4:15 PM

DorobekINSIDER: Pre-panel prep: Building a bridge between IT and acquisition

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Communication is difficult — any of us who have been married have learned this lesson the hard way — and we do it over and over again. And in organizations, it can be intensely difficult.I get to moderate a panel next week that looks at the issue of communication between agency IT and acquisition organizations. And improving that relationship cover four of Federal CIO Vivek Kundra’s 25 point IT management reform plan (PDF):
Align the Acquisition Process with the Technology Cycle
13. Design and develop a cadre of specialized IT acquisition professionals
14. Identify IT acquisition best practices and adopt government-wide
15. Issue contracting guidance and templates to support modular development
16. Reduce barriers to entry for small innovative technology companies
On Tuesday, April 26, I get to moderate a fantastic panel of luminaries to talk about the issues and challenges of bringing IT and acquisition. (More information about the 1105 Government Information Group’s Federal IT Acquisition Summit here.)

The panel:

  • Linda Cureton, Chief Information Officer, NASA Headquarters
  • Simon Szykman, Chief Information Officer, Department of Commerce
  • David Wennergren, Assistant Deputy Chief Management Officer, Department of Defense
  • Roger Baker, Assistant Secretary for Information and Technology, Department of Veteran Affairs
Read our discussion points… and add your thoughts… after the break…
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Written by cdorobek

April 21, 2011 at 5:39 PM

DorobekINSIDER: It’s officially official: Takai named DOD CIO

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In a town that has become accustom to long and tangled appointments, this one may go down in the books, but it is officially official this morning: Defense Secretary Robert Gates named Teri Takai to be the Defense Department’s chief information officer, ostensibly replacing John Grimes, who retired in April 2009. Takai will start her new job on Nov. 7.
 

Takai is widely respected in the state CIO community having served most recently as the CIO for the state of California, where she carried out an enormous consolidation of the state’s data centers. Before that, Takai was the Michigan CIO.

Teri Takai

She was first rumored for the DOD CIO post back in February and then officially nominated in March, but that nomination was waylayed — and eventually withdrawn — as Defense officials reinvented the position.

And, in fact, there are changes to the post. Previously the DOD CIO also served as the Assistant Secretary of Networks and Information Integration. That part of the position is gone and Takai will just serve as the DOD CIO.

Takai is already building a strong team. Rob Carey, the former Navy CIO who is widely respected in the federal IT community, will serve as the deputy CIO. He replaces Dave Wennergren, who will leave his position of four years as the Defense Department’s deputy CIO to be the new assistant deputy chief management officer for the Office of the Deputy Secretary of Defense. Carey started in his new post yesterday.

The DorobekINSIDER also heard that Cheryl Roby will serve as Takai’s chief of staff.

While many are heartened that there is a named DOD CIO, there are still questions about the CIOs role within DOD.

Here is Takai’s note to the California CIO staff:

From: Takai, Teri@CIO
Sent: Monday, October 25, 2010 1:03 PM
To: CIO All
Subject: Thank You

Dear Friends and Colleagues, I have accepted a position in the Obama Administration as the Chief Information Officer for the U.S. Department of Defense, and my last day of service in California will be November 5, 2010.  Chief Deputy Director Christy Quinlan will be Acting Chief Information Officer during the transition. It has been a tremendous honor to serve as Governor Schwarzenegger’s chief technology advisor and State Chief Information Officer, especially during a critical time of change for California’s IT program.

When I arrived in Sacramento nearly three years ago, the Office of the State Chief Information Officer (OCIO) had just been created in statute.  We set out to implement the Governor’s agenda to transform and modernize California’s aging technology infrastructure.  Starting next year, the California Technology Agency will move forward as envisioned by the Legislature and Governor as technology continues to play a vital role in delivering services to our constituents. Although there is still a lot to be done, so much has been accomplished thanks to the hard work, vision and support of Governor Schwarzenegger, Susan Kennedy, cabinet members, legislative leaders and IT professionals throughout the state.

I especially want to thank the agency and department CIOs for their leadership and many contributions to our community.  On behalf of the OCIO, we appreciate the support, interaction and time spent to dive with us into the details of policies and projects. Most of all, I want to thank the OCIO Team, including the Program Management Office, IT Policy Office, Office of Information Security, Public Safety Communications Division, Office of Technology Services, Enterprise Solutions and Services Unit and Executive Office for working so hard to serve the people of this state.  Whether working nights and weekends to move a data center with no interruption of service, building high-profile websitesor designing the next generation of emergency radio systems, the talent and dedication of our Team is unparalleled.  With the budget crisis, organizational changes and so many challenges to overcome, you have done such an incredible job, and with a great attitude and true spirit of public service.

I will miss working with you all – keep up the terrific work! I will cherish my time spent here in California and look forward to serving the public in my new position.

Teri Takai
State Chief Information Officer

Written by cdorobek

October 26, 2010 at 9:08 AM