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FCW : July 30, 2014
Trending July 30, 2014 FCW.COM 3 of those with a bachelor ’s degree in science, technology, engineering or math are not employed in STEM occupations 74% FCW CALENDAR Acquisition DISA will present its 2014 Forecast to Industry, which details its acquisition plans for fiscal 2015 and 2016. Fort Meade, Md. http://is.gd/FCW_disa Identity management FCW hosts GSA’s Anil John for a discussion of identity- proofing essentials for agency operations. Washington, D.C . http://is.gd/FCW_idproofing 8/20 8/12 Cybersecurity DHS’ John Streufert will give the keynote address at this 1105 Media event on continuous diagnostics and mitigation. Washington, D.C . http://is.gd/FCW_cdm 8/20 Danny Harris identifies himself as a technologist, but he has worn both the CIO hat and the chief financial offi- cer’s green eyeshade. He is currently CIO at the Education Department and previously served as the agency’s dep- uty CFO. So Harris is well placed to explain how collaboration should take place between IT experts and financial systems operators in government. At Education, Harris has led a cul- tural transformation “away from being an IT organization and into an organiza- tion that provides business solutions,” he told FCW. “As crazy as this sounds, that’s still a very new thing.” Establishing CIO/CFO collabora- tion will take on increased importance as agencies come under pressure to migrate to one of the four financial shared-services providers and update their systems and financial data stan- dards to comply with the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act. “People are nervous,” Harris said. The act’s aggressive deadlines and the move to financial shared services will require agencies to examine their data to make sure it’s ready for prime time. “If I were king for a day, I would look at those agencies that are struggling from a financial management perspec- How IT and accounting can play nice tive” for priority in the shared-services migration, he said. “When you look at agencies that are struggling, it’s not the IT or the system that’s the problem. The data is so bad that they have rec- onciliation nightmares.” Simply migrating to a shared ser- vice does not solve the problem. “If you move bad data to another system, you’ll still have bad data,” Harris said. (For more on the challenges of shared services, see p. 16.) Harris has learned that people often come to the IT department with prob- lems that aren’t really about technol- ogy. “They come to us asking for an IT solution, and 50 percent of the time. it’s not hardware or software that solves the problem,” he said. “Quite frequent- ly, it’s using the same technology they have in a different way.” On the IT side, the key is to find and support “those unique individuals who really understand technology and finan- cial management,” Harris said. On the financial side, too many accountants fail to understand that “people don’t do accounting, systems do.” Accountants need to focus more on the business logic behind the systems and understanding, even in a nontech- nical way, how their systems create obligations and process transactions. That is an important area where CIO and CFO professionals can collaborate, Harris said. What keeps that from happening in a lot of organizations isn’t so much a clash of cultures as a knowledge gap. “The IT professionals stop here, and the accounting professionals stop here,” Harris said. “Unless you have gifted people who understand both sides — and we do here at the Depart- ment of Education — then you don’t optimize. Things work, but you don’t optimize.” — Adam Mazmanian If you move bad data to another system, you’ll still have bad data. — DANNY HARRIS, CIO, EDUCATION DEPARTMENT
July 15, 2014
August 15, 2014