Federal Agencies Continue to Push for IT Innovation, Cost Savings

The goal of gaining productivity advantages and reducing overall cost is not a new objective in the world of the federal government. When it comes to IT innovation, however, agencies have been more likely to pull the trigger on forward-thinking tech projects. In hopes of bringing systems into the next generation of efficiency, efforts such as the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative and the Federal Mobility Strategy have displayed the government's penchant for innovation, but there is still much more to be done to harness the full potential of today's ever-evolving tech.

Leaders take a turn for the cynical

Federal leaders have had high expectations for IT since these systems first began playing a role in agency operations. In many cases, however, IT reform has not yielded the results that these decision-makers desire, according to Federal Times. The pressure is on for these agencies to show results in the form of efficiency and cost savings, yet some in Washington have been voicing frustrations as they come up short.

"When it comes to major government IT projects, history is not encouraging," said former defense secretary Robert Gates at a Federal Innovation Summit in Washington, as the source noted. "In the time it takes federal agencies to figure out what they need, how to collaborate, make decisions and get congressional appropriations, the technology can become obsolete or the costs increase dramatically."

Innovation crops up in new areas

While the innovative spark may be fading within federal agencies themselves, many organizations are opening up their data and software code to the public to seek more creative solutions, according to InformationWeek. With the entrepreneurial spirit alive and well in the U.S., this may be the cure for the pessimism taking root in federal IT circles. Just how badly is this outsider influence needed? The source pointed to its Federal IT Priorities survey, revealing that only 7 percent of respondents thought that their departments displayed a significant level of innovation - a 7 percent drop from last year.

"We can't possibly recognize all the potential uses for this data," said Damon Davis, director for the Health Data Initiative at HHS. "Companies just come out of the woodwork who have utilized this open data made available by the government."

Although the public may provide some helpful support, agency leaders must recognize that true innovation comes with the assistance of third-party service providers. With a clear vision for improvement and the expert guidance in place to realize their objectives, organizations can finally achieve the infrastructure goals that have escaped their reach for so long.