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 →

With shrinking budgets and job freezes, teamwork among federal employees is more critical than ever to ensure the delivery of quality services to the American people.

The good news is that teamwork received the second highest score of the 10 workplace categories included the 2012 Partnership for Public Service’s “Best Places to Work in the Federal Government” rankings. Based on the views of nearly 700,000 federal employees, teamwork was given a score of 64.4 on a scale of 100.
This is one in a series of reports on the 2012 Best Places to Work in the Federal Government. For more news and insights on innovations at work in government, please sign up for the AOL Gov newsletter. For the quickest updates, like us on Facebook.
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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has contracted with Lockheed Martin and Microsoft to migrate the email and collaboration systems supporting approximately 25,000 employees to Microsoft’s cloud-based Office 365 system, according to a joint announcement released by Lockheed Martin and Microsoft today.

The collaboration and communication service is expected to improve EPA employees’ access to communications and mobility tools and result in expected savings of $12 million over the four-year contract period. Keep reading →

There has been a lot of activity from the Obama Administration this week in the name of innovation and best practices.

There was a double-post on the White House Blog by Federal CTO Todd Park and the Federal CIO Steve VanRoekel about two new initiatives that would seem to be related, but it is not clear how. The first was a prelude to White House’s Plans To Announce Presidential Innovation Fellows and the second was from VanRoekel touting the progress of the Digital Strategy Progress. The latter featured the use of the term “building blocks.” Keep reading →

Several weeks back, at a GTRA Council Meeting, I heard my former CIO at EPA, Malclom Jackson, talk about “Developing a Secure Mobile-First Culture – the EPA’s Story.”

Among other points, he announced an “aggressive and accelerated procurement for new EPA collaboration tools”: one month to advertise, one month to decide, and four months to implement, so it is ready by November. Malcolm deserves credit on a number of fronts for pushing these ideas forward and quickly.

But it also reminded of a point about government that I experienced many times during my 30-plus years of government service at EPA: namely, senior managers in government repeat work that has been done in the past either because they do not know about it or choose to ignore it and start from scratch again.

I asked him if he was also working on the two functions that I had found important in my experience with doing this, provisioning content and dealing with limited bandwidth, and he said they were.

But I know from my experience at EPA that those two things are not going to happen in a short period of time. It took me three years to prepare EPA’s best content in a collaboration tool that supports limited bandwidth use on both desktop and mobile devices.

In my government experience, the 90-9-1 rule applies… only 1% will really use (new tools) and be doers and evangelists.”

I would have also felt better about what Jackson announced if he had mentioned it supported and followed the standards outlined by Federal CIO Steve VanRoekel in his Building a Digital Government Strategy.

One can do these things from the top down: That is, respond to the need for collaboration tools for an agency that work on mobile devices, procure them and hope that the employees put their content in them.

Or one can work from the bottom up: Use what employees are already using to put their content in to collaborate with others and see if those tools will scale up and federate.

We have all seen organizations procure yet another set of collaboration tools, only to then have a massive migration problem with legacy content and users still continue to use their tools of choice. For example, mobile has evolved from “This is the only tool we offer” (e.g. BlackBerry) to now Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) (e.g. iPhones, iPads, etc.)

So what should Malcolm and others in his situation do?

First, I would go around asking and looking for what has already been done and ask the real productive people at EPA, who are collaborating with others inside and outside the agency, what they are using (at EPA or outside of EPA) or would use if they had permission, and encourage others at EPA to try those pockets of excellence first.

Keep reading →

Environmental Protection Agency Chief information Officer Malcolm Jackson has embarked on a six-month, rapid-deployment plan to contract and implement a new email and collaboration platform to help improve work processes for EPA employees.

“We’re ripping the Band-aid off,” declared Jackson, acknowledging the initiative “is aggressive; it’s really aggressive.” Keep reading →

We all know government is facing extreme budget pressure. It’s no secret that more work needs to be done than there are dollars to pay for it. Additional resources to invest in opportunities to improve citizen services and increase operational capability are extremely difficult to find.

However, if we as a country want to keep our competitive edge, we need to continually evolve to run better than ever before. We have to break through barriers, embrace new ideas, and innovate faster than any other country in the world. Taxpayers deserve no less. Keep reading →

Perhaps it was inevitable. With all the computing power in the palms of a critical mass of end users, commercial off the shelf (COTS) mobile devices – smartphones, tablets and small factor computing devices of various hues and types – are now also getting into the hands of warfighters, first responders, federal law enforcement personnel, covert operators, command and control operation center staffs, and many other government workers.

And as a result, the age of tactical mobility may very well be upon us – finally. Keep reading →

Recently, there have been several articles about companies moving to cut back or somehow control email, including an item on NBC News. Organizations are beginning to rebel against email’s constant, increasing presence – and realizing that by itself, email isn’t a solution to most business challenges.

Yes, email is great for communication. But too many organizations also depend on email for collaboration – and email provides no visibility. And many organizations also depend on email for execution – and email provides to tracking, no control, no auditability. Keep reading →

Last week I attended the EarthCube Charrette with about 140 geoscientists from the National Science Foundation (NSF), US Geological Survey, academic institutions, and industry. Estimates are there are about 100,000 geoscientists in the world.

The goal of EarthCube is to transform the conduct of research by supporting the development of community-guided cyberinfrastructure to integrate data and information for knowledge management across the geosciences. Keep reading →

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