The Defense Department has awarded a first of its kind joint enterprise licensing agreement for Microsoft collaboration, mobility, productivity and security tools. Valued at $617 million, the three-year agreement will allow the Army, Air Force and the Defense Information Systems Agency to begin using the latest versions of the company’s products.

The agreement creates a single framework providing all three organizations with a single, standardized way to access new Microsoft technologies. The contract also supports top DOD IT goals for data center consolidation, collaboration, cybersecurity, mobility, cloud computing and big data, company officials said in a statement. Keep reading →

Trying to measure the real return on investment for allowing federal employees to telework has inevitably involved a bit more art than science. Intuitively and anecdotally, it seems obvious that giving federal workers more flexibility to work remotely makes smart economic sense; and it goes a long way toward improving employee productivity and satisfaction too.

Yet after years of trying to implement telework policies in the federal government, it’s clear from the Office of Personnel Management‘s first comprehensive report to Congress on Telework, released July 6, that assembling reliable figures about telework implementation is still not an easy task. Keep reading →

Daniel Stoneking thinks the Federal Emergency Management Agency has taken public-private partnerships to a whole new level.

“You hear about transparency in the federal government and folks talk about opening the door. I like to joke that we’ve taken the hinges off the door,” said Stoneking, FEMA’s director of the Private Sector Division. Keep reading →

The virtual worlds operated by federal agencies are evolving in several directions and many of them — including more than 20 government virtual world projects — will be on display this week, May 16-18, at the 6th Federal Consortium for Virtual Worlds (FCVW) Conference.

Established by the Information Resources Management College (iCollege) of the National Defense University in July 2007, the consortium was created to explore multi-agency and intra-agency collaboration using the robust capabilities of virtual worlds. Keep reading →

Only 6% of civilian agencies and 3% Defense and Intelligence agencies currently have the infrastructure and processes in place to take full advantage of big data sets and most federal organizations will need at least three years before they can, according to a just-released survey of federal IT professionals.

The survey’s findings seem to indicate a rocky road ahead for President Obama’s “Big Data Research and Development Initiative” announced in late March. As part of that initiative, six federal departments and agencies announced more than $200 million in new big data projects. Keep reading →

The House voted Wednesday to eliminate the detailed surveys of America that have been conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau since the nation’s earliest days. Keep reading →

Email in the workplace is credited for both increasing productivity — and hindering it. Most of us groan about hours and hours of answering email, and analysis shows that most communication that happens via email is unproductive. In 2010, organizations lost about $1,250 per user a year in productivity due to spam, and up to $4,100 per year due to emails which were written poorly.

However, as the Economic Development Administration recently discovered, it is not so easy to get by without email either. A computer virus took out the agency’s entire computer network for a total of 81 days, forcing employees to rely on fax and ‘snail mail’ for paper communications. Though workers at the agency found ways around the lack of email, they did find it challenging. Keep reading →

Federal information technology officials are on a mission to hammer out a new, more coherent strategy for using mobile technology in government by the end of next month. But already, they are beginning to conclude that parallel efforts focused on outward-facing citizen services and inward-focused workforce productivity opportunities must be viewed increasingly from a larger, more integrated perspective, according to Richard Holgate.

Holgate, CIO and assistant director for science and technology for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), is playing a lead role in developing a new “federal mobility strategyannounced last month by U.S. CIO Steven VanRoekel during the Consumer Electronics Show. Keep reading →