Among the changes already underway, he noted, is a new high-level advisory group tasked with developing government-wide guidance for Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) initiatives and the establishment of a Digital Services Innovation Center that will help to “operationalize the principle of ‘build once, use many times’” in the creation and sharing of new digital services.
The Digital Government Strategy, a 12-month action plan announced by the Obama Administration on May 23, is designed to make government information and services accessible to citizens anytime, anywhere, and on any device, including mobile phones and tablet PCs. Further, it is envisioned this new guidance will help government agencies adjust by enabling information-centric approaches that are open, streamlined, customer-centric, and highly secure.
A core principle will be to shift away from focusing on the “final presentation” of information in the form of documents, Web pages, and applications. Instead, the new strategy encourages “design for openness from the start” by turning unstructured data elements into structured data that can be tagged, shared, secured, mashed up, and presented in whatever way the consumer wants and needs it.
“Treating the government as an open platform in this way encourages innovation,” VanRoekel said in announcing the strategy, noting how the release of government-gathered weather and global positioning satellite (GPS) data has fueled billion-dollar private sector industries. “It also makes government more efficient and able to adapt to inevitable changes in technology.”
Under the new strategy, the Digital Services Innovation Center, the Advisory Group, the Federal Web Managers Council, and other organizations will develop new policies, guidelines, and models for a number of uses by agencies, including digital services delivery, mobile applications development, mobile device management, satisfactory customer experiences, digital privacy controls, mobile security approaches, and consistent performance measurement.
The new action plan will have a profound impact on Federal agencies and how they do business on a day-to-day basis, as they will be mandated within months of the release of finalized policies and documents to comply with a number of new directives, including requirements to:
Federal technology experts already have started analyzing and weighing in on the short-term requirements and the long-term significance of the new Digital Government Strategy.
Richard Spires, Chief Information Officer (CIO) for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), opined in a June 20 blog published on the Federal CIO Website that the initiative “provides a solid execution plan to leverage the power of today’s technologies and provide more open, efficient, and effective services for the American public.” He noted that the strategy dovetails nicely with two DHS initiatives that are already underway: the development of shared platforms for service delivery and embracing and enabling mobility.
Rick Holgate, CIO of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), told a crowd at the Management of Change Conference on June 4, that the strategy will provide clear security standards for mobile devices “as opposed to what is now an infinite conundrum of various nuances and security postures and risk tolerances across all Federal agencies.”
By contrast, Jim Wilson, senior producer of NASA.gov, noted in a May 30 blog on DigitalGov.com that, no matter how obviously necessary the new strategy is, “making it a reality will require considerable effort, including the always difficult ‘culture change.’”
However, he noted, agencies must work to effectively address and overcome those hurdles and others as “the time has come for government to deliver the services our customers expect and deserve – where and how they want it.”
What do you think of the Administration’s new Digital Government Strategy? In what ways do you think it will enhance your own mobility and ability to work more effectively from home? We’d like to hear from you – please post your comments below or email Shannon Joyce at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your story.
Click here to read the full text of the new Digital Government Strategy.