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FCW : November and December 2014
November/December 2014 FCW.COM 23 needs was a critical factor in the overall success.” — Mark Rockwell Jon Quandt When Jon Quandt started college, he intended to major in computer science. After a semester, however, he wasn’t feeling passionate about the discipline and switched to history, eventually earn- ing a master’s degree in that area from American University. But life has a way of coming full circle. Today, as a program planner for the public-facing website of the 150-year-old Government Printing Office, Quandt gets to combine his inter- est in history with his early IT training. Quandt focuses on the Federal Digital System (FDsys), which provides free online access to official publications from all three branches of the federal government, and he has been a leader in expanding mobile access to GPO content. He led the development of a suite of mobile apps that include access to a directory of members of Congress, presidential documents and the federal budget, which drew 100,000 hits in the first 72 hours after it went live. “We could continue releasing indi- vidual apps for each different collection that we have, but it would just become unmanageable,” Quandt said. Instead, his team is looking to respon- sive design to adapt FDsys content to a wide range of user devices and screen sizes. The FDsys interface hasn’t changed since its launch in 2009, and the redesign is expected to include improved search rankings and a feature that will automati- cally connect related documents — for example, a bill passed by Congress and the relevant presidential signing state- ment. A beta version of the refreshed FDys is scheduled to launch next year. As a history student, Quandt used to consult GPO materials in his research, Peter Wilson combines technical knowledge with an abiding inter- est in management and process improvement. So although he has helped shape the development of competency standards for enter- prise architecture and supported a range of agencies as a techni- cal director at ICF International, lately he’s been thinking about better managing “life events.” As chairman of ACT-IAC’s Plan- ning and Architecture Shared Interest Group, he is working on a framework to smoothly connect people with agencies and ser- vices as they age and their needs change. Organizing around peo- ple’s needs rather than agencies’ organizational charts is “painfully obvious,” Wilson said, “but when you use it, it can lead to innova- tive breakthroughs.” And those breakthroughs could transform citizen services. Certain events in a person’s life or a com- pany’s life cycle drive government activity. They could be as routine as a loan application or as urgent as a home destroyed by a cata- clysmic weather event. “We hope to encourage agen- cies to subscribe to a taxonomy of life events so they can identify a fabric of interactions, common missions, common ground where they can collaborate and identify shared services, and also really begin to figure out the customer journey,” Wilson said. “It spans agencies and levels of govern- ment. We think life events [are] a very accessible and powerful way to think about the problem.” Wilson assists agencies with the nitty-gritty of enterprise archi- tecture, identity management, integration issues and software development. And he helps agen- cies understand the relationship between having a plan and having a strategy. “The things I do stem mostly around...helping people execute the basics better so everything else works better,” he said. He sees his job as making sure government agencies don’t dis- card proven solutions in a rush to adopt something new. “Some of the work...that has been devel- oped over decades is really good at its core,” he said. “Some of my job is really to help agencies understand the potential of what they have so they don’t have to always reinvent whole hog.” — Adam Mazmanian Peter Wilson