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FCW : August 30, 2016
28 August 30, 2016 FCW.COM ing that houses innumerable agencies and offices operating in almost as many silos. Notifying everyone about a specif- ic threat — even 15 years after the 2001 terrorist attack — is not as straightfor- ward as it should be. “How do you reduce risk to the public...by notifying users and warn- ing them?” asked PFPA Systems Engi- neer Eddie Herchert in a case study published by BlackBerry. “PFPA is one small unit, but we have the Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, Navy and various defense agencies in the Penta- gon. AtHoc Connect bridges the gap between the different networks and, by way of secure connections, allows for members on each network to be able to communicate easily with each other.” He added that “it may seem to an outsider that it would be easy to get the messages to certain important people, but we actually have groups that are 50 feet away from each other, and they are not on the same network.” Slack, Trello, Asana, Yammer and many other colorfully named pack- ages are available via the General Ser- vices Administration’s IT Schedule 70, NASA’s Solutions for Enterprise-Wide Procurement and other acquisition vehicles. The Apps.gov site has a com- prehensive list. In addition, because many of the products feature free and low-cost options, an agency might be able to acquire all the collaboration software it needs without crossing the micro- purchase threshold. The hurdles As with every IT solution in this age of hacktivism and outright cyberwarfare, data security is paramount. IT departments must be able to make sure that data is secure at rest, in tran- sit and at endpoints for any solution selected. But there are organizational hurdles as well. For collaborative software to work, people must be willing to use it. The closest thing to a Luddite these days is someone who will use only email — and there are plenty of those. On the other hand, if a less-than-current package is forced on employees, CIOs are likely to hear, “I’ve got better apps preloaded on the phone I bought last year!” But perhaps the most insidious stum- bling block to adopting this new soft- ware — and more efficient processes — is a matter of culture. An employee who believes that “if everyone knows what I know, I’m expendable” is unlike- ly to share tasks in the cloud or even let information they “own” leave their hard drive. The sense that collaboration makes them more, not less, valuable must be communicated in public and private, frequently and above all honestly. n ExecTe c h 0830fcw_023-028.indd 28 8/9/16 2:40 PM
August 15, 2016
September 15, 2016