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FCW : August 30, 2014
22 August 30, 2014 FCW.COM When Darren Ash started his govern- ment career at the Internal Revenue Service in the early 1990s, he worked in a football eld-size area full of tax returns. "Back then, it was very paper-inten- sive," Ash said. "When you got a tax return from an individual, there was a limit on the amount of information you could key-enter." As technology evolved, the tempta- tion to buy the next shiny object that ashed past was often too tempting to ignore. Dozens of agencies, including the IRS, spent millions on IT projects that never met expectations. Now, as CIO at the Nuclear Regula- tory Commission, Ash says he doesn t feel the pressure to adopt the latest thing just because other organizations are doing it. "Technology really is the delivery mechanism," Ash said. "It s about the information. It s about the capabilities that you re providing." Ash got his rst taste of agency mod- ernization at the IRS, where he was part of its major revamp. After hold- ing several positions at the Treasury and Transportation departments, Ash joined NRC in 2007. Moving quickly on mobile These days, the explosion of mobile connectivity at NRC is a key challenge for Ash --- far more so than he might have predicted. "Five or six years ago, we knew mobile was important, but I don t think we could have predicted how impor- tant and how much it would change things," he said. "I mean, we weren t talking about different types of tablets back then." Tablets are the device of choice for a growing segment of the federal workforce, and bring-your-own-device options are spreading. At NRC, where BYOD has been an option for two years, about 500 of the roughly 3,800 employees use their own devices for work. "Technology and the pace of change have caused us to think about really what [are] our delivery model and mechanism, what s the right and most ef cient way to do business," Ash said. "We went into BYOD knowing that the pace of change for that type of solution was changing quickly, and the invest- ment we made was such that we knew likely, in a year and a half or two years, we would have to change." Now, NRC is shifting to a new ver- sion of BYOD. Ash wouldn t talk spe- ci cs, but he and his team have been working on the next phase for the past six months and are expecting to launch a pilot project soon. "We spent a great deal of time doing pre-work before we even launched the BYOD technology," Ash said. "We worked things out with our local union chapter, with security, privacy, records, our stakeholders internally, our attor- neys to make sure we re comfortable doing it this way before we turn it on." No rush to the cloud Despite the growing migration to the cloud, Ash said NRC is taking its time guring out what makes the most sense for the organization as a whole. The opportunity to move to the cloud came up when he and his team realized that they had to refresh some of their data center hardware. After BY COLBY HOCHMUTH Nuclear Regulatory Commission CIO Darren Ash has some de nite views on how technology can change government For NRC's Ash, information comes before technology
September 15, 2014
August 15, 2014