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FCW : May 30, 2013
May 30, 2013 FCW.COM 15 lack of customer understanding of how OIT works, and the fact that many OIT organizations are not measuring the right metrics. "It s a leadership issue. The problem with OIT leadership is that they all are out for themselves, trying to promote careers and do what s best for them," a regional VA source said. "When you don t have good leadership, you don t have people at the lower levels mak- ing things happen by working together. When is the last time anyone came out to a VA hospital to see how doctors are getting things done? Things keep get- ting worse; there s been no signi cant progress in the last ve years." Deloitte s report also highlighted shortcomings in OIT s organizational structure, which was centralized in recent years. That led to an in ux of management and administrative func- tions even as IT continued to be under- staffed. Fewer than 8,000 IT staffers support VA s 320,000 employees, or about one IT staffer per 40 employ- ees --- a ratio that is much lower than the rest of the government, according to Deloitte. In addition, Deloitte concluded that multiple management layers have stunted OIT s ability to deliver serv- ices ef ciently or effectively. There are currently nine layers between the CIO and the IT staff at medical facilities, but industry best practices recommend no more than ve to seven layers of management. "The layers have created discon- nects in communication between OIT senior leadership and facility IT staff as messages get lost in the long chain," the report states. Not everyone agrees with Deloitte s ndings. According to the regional VA source, the ndings were based on Warren s agenda to get rid of the lay- ered regional system, which underwent reorganization in 2010, in favor of one that is even further consolidated under national regulation. "Warren is trying to use this paper to reorganize in the way he wants to do it," the source said. "The regional directors wanted the ability to com- ment on the report. Warren won t take anyone s comments. He s presented it as if written by God himself. And now he s trying to nd friends inside who also didn t like the reorganization to support him." Throughout VA s various layers, the low morale is palpable. Deloitte s cri- tiques paled in comparison to longtime IT staffers criticism of IT management at the agency. "It s gotten to the point where it is embarrassing to say you re at VA," said one former of cial who keeps close tabs on the agency. "The press releas- es say the Veterans Bene ts Manage- ment System is about to have a huge breakthrough, but from what I see and hear, it s slowing down and has a lot of problems, both in IT platforms and the amount of work it takes to use. VA had a period of excellence, and that period is long gone."
May 15, 2013
June 15, 2013