21st century smarter government is 'data-centric' and 'digital first,' says US CIO. +Steven VanRoekel says that machine-readable open data must be the 'new default' in government.
Last week, I had the opportunity to interview Steven VanRoekel. Naturally, I took it. For those who are unfamiliar with who that is, exactly, he's the chief information officer (CIO) of the United States.http://radar.oreilly.com/2012/04/21st-century-smarter-governmen.html
Any nation's top government IT executive has a tough gig in the 21st century. The United States CIO governs has an immense budget — an estimated $80 billion dollars in annual federal IT spending.
VanRoekel inherited a staggering challenge from Vivek Kundra: evolve the nation's aging IT systems toward a 21st century model of operations. In the age of big data, he and everyone who works with him must manage a lot of petabytes, and do much more with less. He must find ways to innovate to meet the needs of the federal government and the increased expectations of citizens who transact with cutting-edge IT systems in their personal and professional lives.
When he was named to the position, he told the New York Times: "We're trying to make sure that the pace of innovation in the private sector can be applied to the model that is government."
From adjusting to the needs of an increasingly mobile federal workforce to moving to the cloud to developing a strategy for big data, it's safe to say that VanRoekel has a lot on his plate. When he was named to the post, it was also safe to say that there were reasons to be hopeful about his prospects. Under VanRoekel, FCC.gov got a long overdue overhaul to reboot as an open government platform. In the process, he and his team tapped into open source, the cloud, and collective intelligence.
He brought a dot-com mentality to the FCC, including a perspective that "everything should be an API" that catches some tech observer's eye. He worked with an innovative new media team that established a voice for @FCC on social media, where there had been none before, and an FCC.gov/live livestream that automatically detected the device a viewer used to access it.
VanRoekel is the man who told me in April that "the experiences that live outside of FCC.gov should interact back into it. In a perfect world, no one should have to visit the FCC website." Instead, he said, you'd go to your favorite search engine or favorite app, and open data from the FCC's platform would be baked into it.
"If we think of citizens as shareholders, we can do a lot better," he said. "Under the Administrative Procedure Act, agencies will get public comments that enlighten decisions. When citizens care, they should be able to give government feedback, and government should be able to take action. We want to enable better feedback loops to enable that to happen."
After VanRoekel spoke at the FOSE conference this month, I walked with him to the Old Executive Officer Building, next to the White House, to dig a bit deeper into some of the broad strokes he outlined in his speech that morning. (The images below come from pictures taken during his presentation.)
The Office of Management and Budget is widely expected to release a strategy on mobile and data-centric government in the near future. Our interview, which is linked below, touches upon many of the issues outlined above and provides some insight into the strategic thinking of one of the key players in the Washington tech policy world.http://radar.oreilly.com/2012/04/21st-century-smarter-governmen.html