Advisory panel looks for 'moonshot' in Commerce data
April 24, 2015
The inaugural meeting of the Commerce Data Advisory Council discussed how the Commerce Department can take their troves of data to the next level for the American public.
Legacy systems are some of the most costly in government. The Government Accountability Office reported agencies are spending more than 70 percent of their IT budgets on maintaining legacy systems, totaling more than $54 billion per year governmentwide.
Federal Communications Commission Chief Information Officer David Bray, who came into the role in September, has been working with FCC officials to modernize the organization’s IT enterprise, specifically legacy systems. In those meetings, FCC officials identified key issues to address and prioritized them.
“Like an iceberg where a majority of the ice is hidden underwater, modernizing manual, human-intensive processes at the FCC will reduce legacy 'sunk costs' at the commission,” Bray said in a blog post. “The result will be a more agile, responsive, IT-enabled FCC enterprise able to work faster and float 'above water.'"
Bray announced seven areas of focus for FCC: improving secure employee mobility and telework; securing internal and external collaborations; strengthening FCC’s IT security posture; transforming access to FCC enterprise data; modernizing legacy systems and tracking; improving FCC.gov and complaint reform; and increasing transparency and system usability.
The FCC Speed App test, a crowdsourcing effort to assess the state of broadband in the U.S., is one successful example launched this year. The app was recently ranked fourth in the iOS store — a first for any government agency.
FCC will also be rolling out its virtual desktop infrastructure across its bureaus and offices to improve telework and mobility. In fact, the FCC chairman volunteered to be a beta tester for the initial launch of the program after seeing a demo.
“The accelerating pace of IT change means the FCC must modernize its enterprise and its culture to embrace new IT advancements,” Bray said.
Bray certainly has his work cut out for him. More than 40 percent of FCC's IT systems are 10 years or older, and FCC has more than 200 different systems for fewer than 1,800 employees.
Feedback, ideas and comments on these seven focus areas can be directed at Bray.