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FCW : August 15, 2015
34 August 15, 2015 FCW.COM ment and in open data. Since then, open data has really become one of the key principles of government and is now being adopted all around the world. Data.gov now hosts 130,000 datasets from 80 different agencies along with the states, counties and some cities. We’re unleashing the power of open data to drive economic growth and improvement in society in key areas like health care, transportation, the environment, disaster recovery. Broader than that, we’re developing software in the open. We are ensuring reuse and building a stronger community of developers and designers as a result of that open-source community. That shift to meet the changing expectations of citizens for transpar- ency, accountability and engagement is now operationalized in a whole fleet of shared services and solu- tions, and they’re based in policy. A couple of the other things that I think are making a real differ- ence: FedRAMP is really changing the landscape. Agencies are able to move to the cloud with a consistent, rigorous, reusable security authori- zation and assessment framework, which is now fully operational, and it’s really demonstrating the benefits of a governmentwide approach to cloud security. I know people continue to believe that the FedRAMP process should be shorter and quicker. And it should be more efficient, and it will be more efficient. But we will never trade speed for rigor. The heart of FedRAMP is trust, and trust is based on the rigor and consistency of the process. I’m also excited to see what hap- pens with Connect.gov, which is ready for takeoff as our newest high- impact shared service. Are there other projects like Chal- lenge.gov that haven’t quite hit escape velocity yet that you hope or expect to get more traction in the next year? I think one thing that will be really interesting is to pay attention to what’s happening with USA.gov and its transformation to a content man- agement and digital service platform. Just last month we launched a very robust content-management platform on USA.gov, and I don’t mean just the website USA.gov. It’s the whole family: the contact center, GobiernoUSA.gov and Kids.gov. It is enabling USA.gov to evolve from what’s really been a self-contained portal to a powerful, bilingual pub- lishing platform for government agencies. It will fulfill its promise as the front door of government and be able to consume content directly from agencies and then dynamically publish it on the USA.gov domain. It’s very, very effective as a platform to amplify content from around the government. Another one to keep an eye on is our Digital Analytics Program, which will soon be adding customer satis- faction data to give us an even more complete view of the use and performance of fed- eral websites. That’s quite a list. How much of your work is focused on new systems and actual technolo- gies and how much of it is about changing the culture and mindset in government? Much of what I’ve done is to be a champion for change. I spent a lot of my time building awareness, interest and support for new ways of developing and delivering govern- ment services. It’s really important not just to offer new technologies but to build receptivity and appreciation for how they can help government better meet the needs of its customers. Part of that is baking in an understanding of what does that really mean? I think government can sometimes be so steeped in process that it’s easy to lose sight of what we’re try- ing to accomplish. So much of what your office does relies on persuading, not compel- ling. Are there things you’ve learned in the past four years about how to convince people to change when you don’t have command authority? I’ve felt like it’s always better to offer carrots rather than sticks when you can and frankly to listen, not to lec- ture. Having a collaborative, down- to-earth approach that’s focused around delivering results works best. Most people in government are here because they passionately believe in what they’re doing. If you can, [it’s best to] tap into that mis- sion focus and have people engaged in not only understanding what we’re offering or what the new way of doing things might be but how it will help them be more successful. It’s not enough to just bring in smart, talented people. They need to work hand-in-hand with the many innovators and career leaders in government, and then to show incremental results and quick wins. FirstPerson 0815fcw_033-035.indd 34 7/27/15 3:24 PM
July 30, 2015
August 30, 2015