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Van Roekel to Fed CIOs: Better Learn How to Share

Ben Farrell
May 8, 2012

I'm the father of two young boys. It's clear to me that the more Charlie and Henry learn to share, the better it is for everybody. Their play is more rewarding. They learn from each other. I don't have to buy them two of everything.

Federal CIO Steven Van Roekel wants federal agency CIOs to embrace precisely that same lesson. Earlier this month, he announced finalization of the Federal IT Shared Services Strategy. This is big news, and BPM software can play a big role in helping government IT become "good sharers."

The finalization of this strategy gives new directives (and new powers) to government CIOs to find new ways to leverage existing IT assets and programs across agencies. The essence of the goal, in Van Roekel's words, is "to root out waste and duplication across the Federal IT portfolio."

An IT shared service is defined as "an information technology function that is provided for consumption by multiple organizations within or between Federal Agencies." There are three general categories: commodity, support, and mission.

CIOs have been directed to focus on commodity IT services first. This includes things like acquisition and identity/access management. Appian has government solution frameworks already available in both these areas (and others as well) that accelerate solution deployment while allowing easy configuration to fit the unique needs of individual agencies.

Even in the absence of pre-built frameworks, Appian offers a far-superior approach to that of packaged applications in establishing cross-agency services. For starters, Appian offers secure, fully functional deployment in the cloud (with easy migration on premise as needed), which is a key enabler of effective service sharing. In addition, Appian's "configure, don't code" approach gives agencies much greater flexibility in adapting the software as their needs evolve over time. For more on this, read our "Don't License Another Software Application Until You Read This!" white paper.

Federal CIOs are required to act quickly on the IT Shared Services Strategy. By the end of August, each agency must submit an enterprise roadmap showing their plan to consolidate commodity IT services. As they start looking at this closely, the challenges associated with supporting multiple customers for the same service will emerge. Commercial shared services organizations and business process outsourcing companies have already encountered this in spades.Read "The Five Characteristics of Highly Successful BPM Deployments in Shared Services and BPO" for some proven best practices.

It's always interesting to reflect on how childhood lessons like "learn to share" continue to ripple through our adult and professional lives. Now if only BPM could automate the "clean up your room" process...

Ben Farrell

Director of Corporate Communications

Ben Farrell