Social Media Week: How social media has already changed the way we talk to governments
Back when I worked in Washington D.C. at a nonprofit that doled out best practice policy advice to state and local government leaders, part of my job was researching and answering questions from our members. Oftentimes a week would not go by without a city manager or department director asking about social media. Sometimes they asked what the best platforms were to use; other times they wondered about standardized practices and guidelines or legal and ethical pitfalls. Some wondered whether it was even appropriate for governments to be communicating in real time on Facebook or Twitter. Most of the time, they just wanted to use social media to better communicate with their citizenry. As one member put it to me: “In order to speak to the people I serve, I have to go to where they are. And social media is where most of my people are today.”
This powerful need for governments to gravitate toward Web 2.0 tools – even when they don’t fully understand how or why – has stuck with me as I’ve moved to the IT contracting intelligence market. It’s a powerful illustration of not just the need for governments to keep up with the technological habits of their citizens, but also how it can act as a catalyst for rethinking the way we interact with our civic leaders and vice versa. It also shows that there is still plenty of room for experimentation, creativity and selling in the private sector when it comes to integrating these tools into the IT arsenal of agencies, universities and policymakers.
Social media as a portal for G2C interaction
Source: “Social Media in State & Local Government: A New Paradigm for Engagement and Innovation”, Deltek 2012
By now it is no secret that one of the best ways to use social media in government is G2C, or government-to-citizen applications. As a direct communication or public relations tool, these apps can only be so distinct from the information presented on a government’s Web page or a written press release disseminated to newspapers. As a Canadian government official asked while delivering a speech last year on the potential of the medium: “How are … social media and interactive websites changing how public institutions conduct their business? Is the change profound or are we just replicating the use of traditional media on new platforms?”
Where the technology really distinguishes itself is through its ability to coordinate real-time, citizen-produced updates to their government in order to coordinate more efficient action on a range of issues or problems that plague every city, county and town across the country. Larger cities or states with sophisticated or well-funded budgets might want to emulate the U.S. State Department’s CO.NX program, which connects users to officials through Web and video chats on a range of public policy issues. It would not be difficult for states to model and merge a program like this into their existing 311 call center technologies to provide a wider range of services relying on online interaction. San Francisco, Calif., currently integrates several social media platforms into its 311 system, providing citizens an easy and familiar portal to submit a help request when they may have no idea who to contact about a downed tree outside of their apartment.
The spread of social media over the past 10 years has proven to be exponential. A pair of University of Illinois studies on local government social media use found a dramatic increase in government-to-citizen interaction from 2009 to 2011.
“The change in social media adoption is remarkable - increasing from two to five times over the levels observed two years ago,” according to the authors. The integration of popular sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube into government operations increased from 250-600 percent.
Source: “Social Media in State & Local Government: A New Paradigm for Engagement and Innovation”, Deltek 2012
Of particular interest to government contractors should be the rise and relatively untapped potential of open data portal technology. These portals often need to be customized to fit an individual government or agency’s information-sharing needs, and thus cannot always be purchased off the shelf or adapted from available (and free) social networking applications. Oftentimes governments will need third-party expertise to design and integrate these portals into their existing IT infrastructure. Making this information easily accessible and user friendly to those outside of government is crucial to the growth of this technology, something that policymakers who have spent a lifetime in government may not be best suited for.
Of the 75 largest U.S. cities included in the University of Illinois study, 12 reported the use of open data portals in 2011. That is a large jump from several years earlier when such portals were almost unheard of in local government; vendors can expect this trend to increase exponentially over the next five years throughout large and small state and local governments.
Still, we are just scratching the surface when it comes to the potential of G2C to meet the unique needs of state and local government. According to State Tech Magazine (which has a treasure trove of local government social media infographics that I cannot recommend highly enough), smartphone users will download more than 76 billion apps in 2014, and the app industry as a whole is expected to generate $55 billion of business by 2015. That graphic also does a fantastic job of showcasing some of the more innovative state and local G2C apps in the country, from the Sacramento, Calif., app that shows users the results of a restaurants latest food inspection; to Chicago’s Taxi Share app, which pairs up users heading in the same direction; to the city of Sparks, Nev., which has a mobile app guide to local stores, restaurants, hotels and events. Other graphics display the effective use of social media in public safety (Did you know that social media evidence used for a search warrant is accepted in court 87 percent of the time?) and show how big data analytic tools are changing the way governments approach and solve big challenges.
Social media use in emergency management
The other great early success of G2C interaction is in disaster and emergency management, where it has had a dramatic effect on how governments manage and coordinate their response to large-scale weather and public safety threats. Nowhere else is the ability to communicate back and forth between citizens and government more important than during a large-scale emergency, when traditional modes of communication may be down or overloaded. While social networking platforms are not entirely immune from these externalities, they do provide an excellent venue for micro-targeting a public safety organization’s response and identifying as well as prioritizing resource allocation to ensure maximum efficiency.
Twitter has proven to be an especially effective tool to this end, both because of its popularity across demographic lines and its simplified setup. According to a 2012 Pew report, Twitter usage among the ages of 18-44 range from 16-31 percent. That may not sound like much at first glance, but it is often more than enough people required to create an information “snowball effect” where advice and guidance can spread effectively throughout an affected population. That is also the age group most likely to be physically able to provide assistance to other citizens during an emergency. Think “pushing cars out of snow traps during a blizzard” or “going door to door to help evacuate elderly citizens in the aftermath of a flood.”
Source: “Social Media in State & Local Government: A New Paradigm for Engagement and Innovation”, Deltek 2012
Public safety organizations were among the first to realize the potential of integrating G2C communication into their operations, and it has changed the face of emergency response in some amazing ways. A 2009 report by the International City/County Management Association on local government social media use during emergencies illustrates the multitude of ways Web 2.0 has helped localities mitigate the damage of a disaster with both proactive and reactive examples provided. The report looks at a geographically diverse set of case studies by enterprising localities as they utilized Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Foursquare and text alerts to more effectively prepare and respond to floods, tornados, snowstorms, the H1N1 flu virus and other emergencies.
It is important to understand that the use of social media by emergency management and public safety agencies is not a one-way street. In addition to the G2C interactions, many public safety agencies provide forums on Twitter, Facebook, and even Pinterest to enable citizens to provide valuable information in a variety of areas. For instance, public safety agencies may receive information on emergency situations such as car accidents, robberies or other incidents that may leave the individual unable to make a phone call. Being able to tweet or send other messages to a public safety agency enables anyone to contact their local police agency, assuming they have a presence on social media.
For example, during Hurricane Sandy, the New York City 911 System was completely overloaded due to the receipt of 10,000 calls per hour. To put that in perspective, the city typically receives 1,000 calls per day. The use of social media tools during the hurricane skyrocketed with Instagram users posting 10 photos per second, leading a whopping 86,000 images in a 24-hour period. And this is just one of many social media sites.
This is not to say that these photos or other social media message directly saved lives, but the onslaught of information allows emergency management agencies to understand the who, what, when and where during an emergency.
When citizens can directly engage with public safety agencies, those agencies may find it necessary to utilize social media tools. In March 2012, Deltek looked at the possible rise of social media management software, which allows agencies to utilize social media for direct engagement with the community and to sift through information sent by the public. While this type of software system has not taken off across the country, it may become a necessity as more agencies utilize social media tools.
Social media use in higher education
According to a 2012 Pearson survey on social media by universities, nearly two-thirds of higher education faculty use social media on a monthly basis, and nearly half (45 percent) for professional purposes. When it came to social media use in the classroom, the number was significantly lower (a little more than one third), but in all cases there was a very strong age correlation, with younger professors reporting much higher rates of social media use than their older counterparts. This trend indicates that the overall proportion of professors and faculty incorporating social media into their curriculum should only increase as time goes on. Of the top Web 2.0 platforms used in class, blogs and wikis were the most prevalent, with podcasts and Facebook ranking second and third. Other popular platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter had very low usage rates, indicating that faculty has yet to figure out a proper teaching use for these sites.
Source: “How Today’s Higher Education Faculty Use Social Media”, Pearson and Babson Survey Research Group, 2012
As with governments, social media can also be utilized to great effectiveness during disaster or emergency management crises, such as severe weather or school shootings. After the infamous Virginia Tech shootings in 2007, a research group led by Leysia Palen of Educause documented how social networking was integral at disseminating information at almost every step in the immediate aftermath, from students using text and instant messaging check on the safety of their peers, to the use of IM and Facebook to spread breaking news to alumni and the outside world, to Wikipedia updates on the shootings just an hour after the university sent out its first emergency alert.
The result of all this social media activity, the authors argue, was a “distributed problem-solving” model that was “collective and bottom-up rather than orchestrated and top-down.” This allowed lists that correctly identified victims to emerge online well before the university officially released that information. The study also examined 29 Flickr groups across six different disasters from 2004-2007, and found a distinct pattern whereby a few central accounts began rapidly aggregating images of the disaster as well as the accompanying media coverage, providing on-the-ground coordination and reporting that would be almost impossible to reproduce with Web 2.0.
The greatest potential for contractor involvement is with opportunities around social media management software and applications that can supplement off-class learning and virtual learning environments. As a range of technological trends converge over the next five years (virtual learning, BYOD, online universities), the need to connect teachers, students and resources all from one device will only accelerate. Social media and social networking functions already have permanence in the marketplace, and they will only continue to become more integrated with the way people, governments and education institutions communicate and disseminate information in the future.
For more information on this topic, download the free summary of the Deltek Report on Social Media in State and Local Government, here.
Or go here if you want to purchase the report in full.
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Arizona Releases Statewide Strategic IT Plan For 2013 To Improve Efficiencies
The Arizona Strategic Enterprise Technology (ASET) Office has released a Statewide Strategic IT plan for fiscal 2013 which builds on Governor Janice Brewer’s agenda by leveraging technology to enable a “more innovative, efficient, and sustainable government.”
In July 2011, Arizona’s Government Information Technology Agency merged with the Arizona Department of Administration’s Information Services Division to form the ASET Office, which now develops and executes the statewide IT strategy, while providing capabilities, services and infrastructure to ensure the continuity of mission critical and essential systems for the state.
As part of the Statewide Strategic IT Plan, which was developed in conjunction with the Governor’s Office, eight transformational initiatives were identified, defined and scoped to develop the strategic plan for 2013. These initiatives are expected to have a significant impact on the state as a whole - ensuring the business continuity and security of statewide assets, while providing citizens with the ability to access state services anywhere, any time.
Below, we highlight each of the initiatives which encompass the strategic plan for 2013, and detail how these will help the state moving forward:
1. Implement a Continuous Improvement Culture - As part of the Governor’s commitment to reform state government, the Government Transformation Office (GTO) was established within the Department of Administration to implement a statewide continuous improvement program focused on education, process improvement projects, and capital impact.
Moving forward, Arizona will coordinate with the GTO to adopt improved and efficient policies and procedures. This coordinated effort will result in automating policies and procedures that are free of waste and inefficiency. With an emphasis on service excellence and customer centricity, Centers of Excellence will be established throughout the state, which will offer recognition and reinforcement to best practices, while providing an opportunity for continued shared learning, as well as a continuous improvement culture.
2. Accelerate Statewide Enterprise Architecture Adoptions and Asset Management - Over the past year, Arizona has made significant progress on the adoption of a statewide Enterprise Architecture (EA) strategy and framework. An EA advisory committee was established, a charter was developed and ratified, and an EA framework was selected. Accelerating this planning methodology throughout the state will result in “a more agile, efficient organization with more effective decision-making capabilities.”
As part of the EA expansion, Arizona will start with an assessment of technology contracts, infrastructure and applications. It will also begin to define and adopt a statewide Data Governance Model to improve the quality and accessibility of information. Together, these
capabilities will accelerate the business decision-making process, streamline the planning and procurement of statewide assets, and reduce the overall cost of doing business.
3. Implement A New Statewide Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Solution - In January 2012, Governor Brewer addressed her plan for operational reform. The state’s accounting system which is a central operational system for the state’s employees, customers, and vendors is an outdated system with antiquated software and no external support. When the system fails, the consequences will span beyond the state and will ultimately impact our schools, businesses, and community. Therefore, Arizona plans to implement a statewide ERP system that will replace the Arizona Financial Information System (AFIS) and a number of other central and agency-specific administrative systems. It will also provide new administrative system functionality that will benefit the entire state. The benefits from replacing this outdated system will be more efficient and effective business processes, better informed and faster decision making, and improved business continuity.
4. Expand E-government and Mobility Capabilities - In order to fulfill its vision, Arizona will begin to develop a statewide web platform to provide agencies with full content management functionality, mobile compatibility, and user identity management. Ultimately, this will allow agencies to deliver services faster, more consistently and securely, and to any device utilized by its citizens.
The state web portal (www.az.gov) is the gateway to Arizona, which contains invaluable information about how citizens work, live, play, and interact with state government. A collaborative approach with key stakeholders will be established to modernize the state web portal by developing a new design, adding new capabilities, and making it easier for citizens to access state services.
5. Implement Critical Business Continuity Improvements at the State Data Center - The State Data Center currently houses technology systems that are mission critical to the continuity of business. There are more than 140 state entities that leverage the data center’s infrastructure, services, and capabilities. Ensuring these systems are operational and secure is absolutely critical to the functions of the state. Arizona will begin initiatives to upgrade critical aspects of the facility itself, ensure redundancy and continuity of critical systems, and increase capacity to support the growing number of agency customers.
In addition to upgrading the current environment, Arizona will also facilitate the foundation of a cloud-computing environment by beginning to build a comprehensive virtualization infrastructure. By providing capabilities such as self-provisioning, service monitoring, and capacity management, the state will begin to provide state agencies with a cost-effective model for moving to “the cloud.” This will also allow for an improved way to plan and manage the cost of IT. Moving IT costs from a capital expenditure (CAPEX) to an operational expenditure (OPEX) model will result in a consistent sustainable model that will improve IT cost planning.
6. Implement a New Statewide Infrastructure & Communications Network -The AZNet program was established several years ago to ensure Arizona has a cost effective, efficient and consolidated shared telecommunications infrastructure to meet the needs of government agencies, their employees and the public. The next generation of the program is in progress to refresh the current infrastructure. This refresh will be an expansion of the central ring, which will extend out network capabilities to agencies that are currently unable to receive services on the state network. Ultimately, this program will provide improved business continuity, reduced costs, and improved connectivity.
Additionally, the Digital Arizona program is playing an active strategic role in changing the definition of infrastructure and addressing middle-mile issues throughout the state of Arizona. The impact of this program is far reaching and will benefit education, economic development, public safety, and healthcare.
7. Enhance Statewide Security and Privacy Capabilities and Training - Protecting citizen data, as well as the privacy of state employees, are of the highest priority for state agencies. Due to the sensitivity of government data, the state’s environment of diverse technologies and data sources requires adoption of robust and effective operational security and privacy programs.
As part of this initiative, Arizona will strengthen cyber security and privacy operations by supporting essential cyber-security technologies and continuing the implementation of a single-sign-on solution for all state employees. In addition, Arizona will optimize incident reporting and deploy an enterprise log aggregation solution for real-time threat detection and notification. Lastly, the state will strengthen cyber-security awareness by providing state employees with training on security and privacy policies, standards, and procedures that are essential to preventing security and privacy incidents.
8. Streamline Project Oversight, Improve Transparency and Strengthen Project Management - To truly transform state government, it’s critical that Arizona clearly defines its project deliverables and executes with precision. This requires a level of maturity in several areas including program and project management, as well as oversight. In addition, Arizona must improve efficiency, increase transparency and escalate accountability in the state’s project oversight process.
Leveraging the GTO and lean principles, Arizona plans to simplify the Project Investment Justification (PIJ) document and streamline the process from end to end. Through automation, Arizona will provide agencies with the ability to self-report and provide more accurate, current, historical, and aggregate reporting capabilities.
Overall, Arizona’s Statewide Strategic IT Plan outlines the various steps and investments the state is planning to make for fiscal 2013. As part of this IT transformation, Deltek expects opportunities in the areas of IT refresh, systems integration, communications, cybersecurity and IT services to arise as a result of these strategic initiatives.
Looking ahead, interested contractor’s should use Arizona’s past strategic IT projects to create business development justifications for IT solutions that will allow the state to accomplish its goals of creating greater efficiencies, while providing an innovative, sustainable government.
New York Looking At IT Transformation To Improve Efficiency While Lowering Costs
New York State is currently in the process of improving its information technology (IT) operations to better meet agency business needs, increase accountability, and lower the cost of doing business.
As part of this process, New York analyzed its IT operations against best practices in the public and private sectors in early 2011, and concluded that most of New York’s IT services do not support Governor Andrew Cuomo's vision of transforming New York.
In its analysis, New York noted that its management of IT operations and services is too decentralized, and its IT infrastructure is redundant and inefficient. The State also said that its applications are outdated, while noting that it lacks effective IT standards.
In response to these findings, New York created an IT Transformation program to enhance IT capabilities to improve government services and that will enable the State to build an IT environment that maximizes existing resources; meets agency business needs with world-class customer service; creates a talented, innovative IT workforce; and provides cost-savings for the State.
The new Office of Information Technology Services (ITS) provides IT services to all State agencies, sets IT policies and standards, and will lead the strategic initiatives of the IT Transformation, which will proceed as a multi-year effort until April 2013 followed by three waves of multi-year implementation.
Overall, the IT Transformation includes 4 main strategic initiatives. Below, we break down each of these strategic initiatives, and detail the goals and benefits of each:
1. Data Center Consolidation - More than 45 existing data centers across the state will be consolidated into two or three sites.
•Consolidate 11,000+ servers in 45+ data centers
•Strengthen disaster recovery capabilities
•Improve infrastructure service levels
•Provide services at competitive cost
•Lower administrative and maintenance cost from consolidation
•Increased application uptime with more reliable hosting and system management
•Enhanced system monitoring and management capabilities
•Mitigated risk from separate disaster recovery site
•Reduced energy footprint
2. E-mail Consolidation -The new model will leverage the benefits of a single statewide e-mail system, migrating most Executive Branch e-mail users, when significant cost-savings opportunity presents itself, from legacy systems to an enterprise NYSeMail Service.
•Offers flexible size, tiers, and price to meet agency business needs
•Provides a feature rich platform, including archiving as an add-on
•Creates a single statewide user directory
•Lowers e-mail support costs from moving most users to a cloud-based managed service
•Reduces operating cost for all NYSeMail users through a lower chargeback rate
•Consolidates mobile device servers, using a centrally managed service
•Provides a single statewide employee directory with cross-agency calendar sharing
3. Enterprise Identity and Access Management - A consolidated Enterprise Identity and Access Management solution will enable the State to provide: employees with a common access and identity management system; citizens a greater opportunity to engage government electronically; and vendors the ability to do business online with the State.
•Provide single sign-on capability for State employees, citizens, and vendors
•Implement central monitoring and governance functions
•Integrate with future Human Resource systems
•Align with the Federal Identity, Credential and Access Management (FICAM) framework
•Single sign-on capability or fewer usernames and passwords
•Lower administration costs
•Better security and fraud protection
4. Network Consolidation - The State will use new telephony and communication tools that will promote inter-agency communication and lower the operational cost of all electronic communications.
•Consolidate countless diverged networks
•Replace legacy voice and data network with low cost internet-based solutions
•Use shared services to deliver data, voice, and video services to agencies
•Enable structured, secure exchange of data among agencies
•Reduced IT support costs and time to obtain IT services
•More consistent service to all agencies
•Uniform support coverage and industry-standard processes for all IT services
•Improved productivity for faster delivery of IT services
For IT customers, New York’s IT Transformation is expected to:
· Elevate business delivery through partnerships that align IT more closely with agency needs and enable more innovation
· Enhance agency ability to focus on their core missions without losing transparency or control over their IT solutions
· Provide more value and resources per dollar spent on IT
For State IT staff, the IT Transformation is expected to:
· Provide world-class skills and experience supported by state-of-the-art technologies
· Provide personal/professional growth and opportunities for promotion
· Provide active participation in building a new high-performing IT organization
Overall, we applaud the actions taken by the State of New York to transform its IT operations to make agencies more efficient, while increasing accountability and lowering costs. As part of New York’s Transformation, Deltek expects opportunities in the areas of IT refresh, systems integration, data center and e-mail consolidation, communications, cybersecurity and IT services to arise as a result of these significant IT efforts.
Looking ahead, interested contractor’s should use New York’s past strategic IT projects to create business development justifications for IT solutions that will allow the State to accomplish its goals of creating greater efficiencies and cutting costs.
Hawaii Details 12-Year IT Roadmap To Streamline Business Processes While Improving Efficiency
Earlier this month, Hawaii unveiled a plan to overhaul the state’s use of technology to streamline business processes to improve the delivery of government programs and services.
As part of this, the newly-created Office of Information Management and Technology developed a 12-year roadmap which outlines the necessary steps that will drive the decade-long business and technology transformation. The Transformation Plan was developed in consultation with state agencies and after a thorough review of national best practices and lessons learned from other states. The effort is one of the key initiatives under Governor Neil Abercrombie’s New Day Plan, which calls for a transformation focused on jobs and investments in people to “ensure long-term economic prosperity and resilience.”
“A solid foundation must be built that will enable the state to continuously adapt in order to provide services, now and in the future,” said Hawaii CIO Sanjeev “Sonny” Bhagowalia. “This 12-year plan, which includes two years of planning and 10 years of implementation in multiple phases, will revolutionize the way information is managed to improve how programs and services are delivered to the public.”
As reported, Governor Abercrombie appointed Bhagowalia as its first chief information officer in 2011, after recognizing that a large-scale effort was needed. Hawaii said the state has “not significantly invested in technology for more than 30 years,” while noting that “transforming the state’s $11 billion business enterprise with 220 business functions and services across 35 distinct lines of business is an enormous endeavor.”
The Transformation Plan will morph the current paper-based and inefficient business environment into a future environment that is more cost-efficient, digital, and mobile-accessible. It will also consolidate the state’s 743 fragmented legacy systems into fewer, but, integrated, enterprise-wide solutions that facilitate improved information sharing.
Currently, Hawaii spends about 1.4% of its annual budget on technology, while most states invest around 2% to 3%. Industry best practices suggest spending between 3% and 5% of the annual budget on technology to realize the greatest benefits.
The Business and Information Technology/Information Resource Management (IT/IRM) Transformation Plan includes three major components:
- Streamlining and improving current business processes and applications to directly benefit the public.
- Leveraging the state’s investment in shared support services and technology infrastructure.
- Establishing a strong organization-wide management and oversight framework, including policies, processes, performance measures, program management and organizational change management.
As part of the transformation, Hawaii has identified 11 top strategic technology priorities, which include:
- Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) - Hawaii is moving forward with implementation of an enterprise-wide ERP system that will replace the large majority of the current central systems within the Enterprise Support Services band.
- Tax Modernization - This involves a strategic initiative to explore ways to streamline and modernize tax processing away from the current Integrated Tax Information Management System (ITIMS). It will expand the overall use of electronic tax filing, electronic payment, improved analytics, and improved case management processing to streamline and decrease cycle times for the citizens of the state.
- Health IT - Envisioning a more effective, efficient, patient-focused healthcare system, Hawaii’s Transformation Plan includes a four-point strategy of innovations for Delivery System Improvements, Payment Reforms, Health IT and Healthcare Purchasing. Hawaii is seeking systemic improvements in public health through measuring health status, performing assessments, and the tracking of preventions, promotion, and outcomes. The State will look to use Electronic Health Records and a secure exchange of information to improve care coordination, reduce duplication and waste, empower patient engagement in their health, and enable public health analytics to shape policy decisions that will improve the overall health system.
- OneNet/Enterprise Services Network - A single network, OneNet, will look to fulfill the network needs of all state departments and employees and citizens with guaranteed performance levels.
- Adaptive Computing Environment (ACE) - Establishes a consistent configuration for computing devices across the State using pre-approved vendors. State employees can order standard systems that are engineered to operate most efficiently in the OneNet environment. Choices are provided based on job classification for mobile/tablet solutions, laptop/desktop, or a strictly virtual environment for certain work. These systems require fewer support resources than non-standard configurations, enhance overall support effectiveness, and reduce total cost of ownership.
- Shared Services Center - For the future State vision, the goal will be to have five fully meshed functional shared services centers (SSC) distributed across the islands to provide high availability, redundancy, fault tolerance, data backup and replication, disaster recovery, and always-on services to Hawaii. Connections between shared services centers will be provided with dedicated high-speed fiber optic lines with service providers and State wireless connections acting as redundant and backup links respectively.
- Information Assurance & Privacy - Hawaii has a fully integrated Security Operations Center (SOC) and Computer Security Incident Response Centerv (CSIRC) to: provide uninterrupted security services while improving security incident response times; reduce security threats to the State; and enable quicker, well-coordinated notification to all State Departments regarding security threats or issues.
- Mobile Computing – Hawaii is aiming to establish a standard mobile applications solution pattern and approach with standard methods, skill development, contractor resources, and tools/technologies in conjunction with the adoption of preferred smartphones and tablets. Since mobile application development has a very small footprint in the State at this time, this initiative will need to analyze, pilot, and invest/implement in a standard approach, capabilities, and tools for developing mobile applications.
- E-Mail, Collaboration and Geospatial – This effort is looking to provide several integrated services in a single environment, including integrated multi-media online communications services; collaboration and conferencing services, and multimedia content and information services.
- Open Government – Seeks to establish a State of Hawaii data.gov internal and public-facing website to facilitate the sharing of master data sets.
- Hawaii Broadband - Hawaii currently has many broadband projects underway as part of the Hawaii Broadband Initiative (HBI) with departmental participation that highlights the importance of the program. An assessment of the current program illuminates the fact that there must be strong unification of these disparate efforts within an established, disciplined program management framework with continual progress reports.
Our Take: Overall, we applaud the actions taken by the new CIO to outline how the State of Hawaii can streamline its operations while improving efficiencies through the use of technology. With this in mind, Deltek expects opportunities in the areas of IT refresh, systems integration, portal development, broadband, and IT services to arise as a result of these significant IT efforts.
In terms of contracts, Hawaii currently has over 154 active GovWin tracked opportunities. The following is a breakdown of Hawaii’s top 5 opportunities (in terms of value) across all market verticals:
- Pharmacy Benefit Management Services and Fiscal Agent Services In Support of Pharmacy Claims Processing; Value: >$30 million; Primary Requirement: IT Professional Services; Award Date: February 2013.
- Statewide Telecommunications Equipment; Value: >$30 million; Primary Requirement: LAN/WAN Equipment; Award Date: January 2014.
- Hawaii Broadband Initiative; Value: >$30 million; Primary Requirement: Fiber Optic Materials & Components; Award Date: June 2013.
- Health Insurance Exchange Services; Value: <$30 million; Primary Requirement: Information Technology; Award Date: November 2012.
- Third Party Administrator (TPA); Value: <$30 million; Primary Requirement: Information Technology; Award Date: July 2013.
Contractor Survival Tactics: General Dynamics Making Acquisitions To Offset Tightening Budgets
Over the past few weeks, we have been highlighting how various vendors are dealing with today’s challenging federal market, and outlining some of the steps these contractor’s are taking to achieve success going forward.
In this edition, we would like to turn the spotlight on defense giant General Dynamics Corp., which has been among the most active participants in the M&A arena since early May, acquiring five companies to expand its list of capabilities and addressable markets.
General Dynamics expanding capabilities in several growing markets via recent acquisition spree. Below we highlight the recent acquisitions GD has made, and detail how these purchases may help the company going forward.
- In early May, GD acquired IPWireless Inc. for an undisclosed sum. Based in San Francisco, IPWireless provides 3G and 4G LTE wireless broadband network equipment and solutions for first-responder and military customers. The acquisition will allow GD to expand its commercial networking solutions to better serve the needs of its customers, including municipalities who are moving to broadband public safety networks such as the FirstNet nationwide interoperable broadband network.
- In late June, General Dynamics bought Earl Industries ship repair and coatings division to enhance its ability to compete for Naval contracting opportunities. The ship repair and coatings division of Earl Industries is a prime contractor for nuclear aircraft carrier programs, and provides maintenance and repairs for other Naval ships. Financial terms for the transaction weren’t disclosed.
- In mid-August, GD said it would acquire Fidelis Security Systems, a provider of network security tools that provide real-time network visibility, analysis and control. Based in Waltham, Mass., Fidelis' solutions help customers stop advanced threats and prevent data breaches by providing visibility into the complex layers of a network, exposing malicious content in real-time. This acquisition will allow GD to expand its capabilities in the growing cybersecurity market, with a particular focus on incident response and situational awareness. Earlier this year, GD opened its Cyber Intelligence and Solutions Center located in Annapolis Junction, which houses experts working on cyber threat detection and mitigation solutions.
- In late August, General Dynamics acquired the defense operations of Gayston Corp., which supplies precision metal components used in several munitions programs. Gayston's defense unit makes rocket motor tubes for the U.S. Army's Hydra-70 air-to-ground rocket program. It also provides liners and cartridges for 40mm ammunition rounds and components for 60-120mm mortar rounds, among other things.
- Earlier this month, GD also acquired virtualization security software start-up Open Kernel Labs Inc. for an undisclosed amount. OK Labs provides virtualization software for securing wireless communications in the corporate and government sector. In addition, Open Labs creates apps and content for mobile devices and in-vehicle 'infotainment' systems. This acquisition will expand GD’s capabilities as a provider of secure mobile devices for public safety, civilian, military and commercial customers.
In 2011, General Dynamics spent $1.6 billion on six acquisitions, compared with three purchases in 2010 for $233 million.
Overall, we believe that General Dynamics will continue to be aggressive in making moves to remain competitive, while expanding its capabilities in growing markets such as cybersecurity and wireless.
Over the next few years, companies which will succeed in this challenging environment will need to be flexible and make strategic adjustments where needed. We believe General Dynamics is taking these necessary steps, and that the company’s M&A strategy will expand its addressable markets and list of customers moving forward, while enhancing its ability to pursue future opportunities in growing markets.
At the end of last quarter, GD had about $2.54 billion in cash and cash equivalents in its war chest to put towards future acquisitions.
CACI Performing Admirably In Today’s Evolving Federal Market
At FIA, we are always checking the pulse of the federal contracting marketplace, and keeping track of how various vendors are executing on their strategies to achieve success going forward.
Last week, we listened in on CACI International Inc.’s earnings call to investors, and came away impressed with some of the numbers disclosed on the call, and outlook for the company moving forward. Below we highlight some of the details CACI provided on the call.
CACI posts solid financials in FY2012 despite challenging market conditions. For fiscal 2012, CACI’s revenues rose 5.5% to $3.77 billion, compared with $3.57 billion in fiscal 2011. At the same time, the company saw its net income climb over 16% to $167.6 million, up from $144.2 million a year ago.
For fiscal 2013, CACI said it expects revenues to be between $3.8 billion and $4 billion and net income to be between $160 million and $167 million.
On its earnings call, CACI noted that it has “a large and established client base providing a steady stream of new opportunities.” Because the company offers a broad range of capabilities and services, CACI said it maintains a large addressable market, and is “executing on roughly 2,200 ongoing contracts or task orders.”
CACI also said its “new business win rate and high re-compete win rate allow it to continuously refresh its current program and add new business across its platform.” This large addressable market provides CACI room to maneuver as it sees opportunities, while the diversity of its clients and contracts minimizes the risk associated with any individual program, the company said.
CACI seems to be clicking on all cylinders in evolving federal market. Looking ahead, CACI said it has “examined its addressable market of approximately $235 billion and identified 10 market segments that are high-priority missions for its clients, including Intelligence, Cyber, Business Systems and Healthcare.
In fiscal 2012, CACI noted that it had its “best year yet for funding orders,” totaling more than $3.9 billion, which is up 8.8% over fiscal 2011. Its fiscal 2012 awards also reached record levels and totaled $4.5 billion, up 40.8% from fiscal 2011. The company’s fourth quarter awards, like those throughout the year, represent strong growth in CACI’s Cyber, Business Systems, Healthcare and Intelligence markets and continued volume in its C4ISR, Enterprise IT and integrated security solutions markets, the company said.
As its recent contract awards and funding orders illustrate, CACI continues to “see attractive opportunities for growth in its markets and believes it’s well positioned to capture those opportunities.” CACI closed the year with a total backlog of $7.2 billion, a 5.9% increase over last year. In addition, its funded backlog grew 7.2% over last year as well.
As CACI looks to fiscal 2013, its opportunity pipeline “remains very strong.” Specifically, at the end of the fourth quarter, CACI had more than $9 billion in supported proposals under evaluation with various agencies, and it expects to submit another $11.7 billion of proposals over the next 6 months. Over half of this pipeline is for stand-alone contracts and task orders, which will fuel the company’s revenue growth, CACI noted.
M&A remains a key part of CACI’s long-term growth strategy. Layered on top of CACI’s organic growth focus is its strategic mergers and acquisitions (M&A) program. Over the past 20 years, CACI highlighted that it has completed more than 57 acquisitions, which has extended the company’s client base, solutions and addressable markets.
CACI noted that its recent acquisition of APG and Delta Solutions are examples of how it uses M&A to support its long-term growth objectives. APG boosts CACI’s capabilities in the Oracle E-Business Suite, while Delta expands its SAP and Momentum System capabilities. Both acquisitions provide CACI core capabilities that enable the growth of its Business Systems market segment, while supporting its government transformation activities.
In the future, CACI said it expects to continue to use strategic M&A in a “disciplined way” to complement its organic growth, ensuring it will remain aligned with the company’s clients' highest priorities, while creating “sustainable, long-term organic growth.”
Overall, we believe CACI has done an admirable job in identifying areas that are slated for growth, including Intelligence, Cyber, Business Systems and Healthcare. Going forward, it will be interesting to see if CACI can continue to outperform in the federal marketplace, while remaining agile and executing in today’s challenging and evolving market.
Telework Progress Report to Congress: Technology as an Enabler and Barrier
A recent Office of Personnel Management (OPM) report to Congress on finding of a survey of agency telework programs shows that 21% of federal employees now telework under The Telework Enhancement Act of 2010. However, we are still in the early stages of telework and there will be challenges ahead. The study had some interesting findings on IT as an enabler and barrier to telework. We predict that the bulk of future telework challenges will come, not as much from hardware or software, but from “wetware”—the wet stuff between the ears!
The2012 Status of Telework in the Federal Governmentreports findings of a baseline survey for evaluation of Federal telework programs. This year’s survey is a benchmark from which to measure the progress of federal telework under The Telework Enhancement Act going forward.
After years of telework hype and then disillusionment, it took the mandate of a law to finally make telework happen, and progress has been slow but steady. It has now been year and a half since The Telework Enhancement Act of 2010was signed into law and about a year since agencies were required to notify eligible employees that they could telework (up to 20% every two weeks) and begin to enable them to do so. In the next two years, look for telework momentum to pick up steam as even more federal employees begin to telework.
Besides the law, technology-related forces have converged to create a growth spurt for this market in 2012, including the consumer ubiquity of smart mobile device use that enable working remotely, unified communications architectures, and cloud communications services that keep employees productive, well-connected and collaborating with their colleagues.
The report points out that the concept of telework is going through a paradigm shift of benefiting primarily individual employees to being a strategic organizational change program for agencies. In this environment of “Do-More-With-Less and do it more efficiently” telework becomes even more strategic because it does offer efficiency gains. It can improve employee performance and job satisfaction, as well as help attract or keep good talent. At the same time, it also reduces agency costs (in telecommunications services, real-estate, and energy) and provides agency continuity of operations and mitigates potential disruptions to workplace productivity, for example, from severe weather.
The OPM report was a census of those teleworking as of September 2011. Although this period of reporting was just a few months after the deadline for meeting Act requirements, a quarter of all employees deemed eligible to participate were reported as teleworking. The numbers are thought to be low because some agencies were not yet set up to capture and report the statistics.
The Data Call Survey of Agencies
This year, the Call, which is the name of the longitudinal benchmark survey of agencies, included questions about technology to enable telework. Survey responses indicated that while technology is a major enabler, they likewise recognized that when technology is inadequately addressed in a telework program, it can be a significant barrier.
The survey found that the majority of agencies provide equipment (such as computers) to telework participants, or share the cost of equipment with participants (46 agencies). However, 61% of agencies ask teleworkers to pay the entire cost of technology services, such as Internet connectivity, that support telework. A smaller percentage of agencies share the cost and only 8% of agencies pay for the services. The austere budget environment will hamper telework in agencies that require that employees use only agency-issued equipment.
Because telework is part of agency continuity of operations plans, it is important to test the IT capacity for supporting telework and most agencies do test this. But only 8% of agencies conduct tests on a regular basis. Most agencies believe that their IT systems have adequate capacity for handling increased usage due to telework emergencies, despite the fact that most are not testing regularly. Vendors advising agencies on telework policies and technical capabilities should provide counsel to test regularly and at known peaks to ensure that their clients aren’t being lulled into a false sense of security, should something bigger than Snowmageddon or a derecho hits.
We anticipate that as telework takes off other IT-related challenges or potential barriers may surface, including technology disparities, security and privacy, unanticipated infrastructure requirements (such as storage shortages). However, in the end, our prognosis is that human factors, such as difficulty adjusting to new management and work styles and tools and cultural resistance to change will have the biggest drag effect on telework.
Not going anywhere soon: Social media for state and local government
This guest blog is the first in a series by analysts at Market Connections Inc., Cynthia Poole, Director of Research Services, and Melissa Burgess, Research Analyst. In an effort to bring our customers the best current market intelligence available, Deltek and Market Connections Inc. collaborated on data sharing and analysis for our recent social media in state and local government report. Be sure to check out Market Connections Inc. for more information on their services and their own social media report.
According to Malcolm Gladwell, key trends in society reach a “tipping point” when ideas, behaviors, messages and products behave just like outbreaks of infectious diseases. When these societal epidemics take hold, these concepts can reach a level of near ubiquity.
The use of social media by government agencies has reached a similar tipping point, and unlike examples cited in Gladwell’s “The Tipping Point” (i.e. the rise and fall of Airwalk shoes), social media is here to stay.
From a state and local perspective, social media use has reached astronomical proportions. In addition, social media is being used in new and innovative ways – beyond citizen communications -- for obtaining crowdsourced data to inform smarter decision making.
According to a recent GovWin study called “Social Media in State & Local Government, a New Paradigm for Engagement and Innovation, 2012,” the increase of social media use allows state and local governments to:
· Add value to existing vendor solutions through IT integration
· Add social media integration to existing state and local government IT systems, including at the enterprise level
· Aggregate the big data of social media for government innovation
· Create purpose-built mobile solutions that integrate social media to improve government service delivery
Last year, Market Connections launched its “Social Media in the Public Sector 2011” study and many of the findings underscore what was uncovered by the GovWin study. In fact, GovWin included many of Market Connections’ data points in the new state and local social media report, including:
· Social media in general saw noteworthy increases in both public sector and contractor use.
· State and local governments used social media for both informed decision making (100%) and to communicate externally with citizens and other agencies/organizations (96%).
· State and local governments used social media for research (86% compared to the federal government at 64%). In addition, they were more apt to use social media for promotional purposes (80%).
Social media will continue to increase by both state and local governments and federal agencies. In fact, the Market Connections study found that 84 percent of state and local agencies and 81 percent of federal agencies expected to increase their use of social media in the next 12-18 months.
As the Market Connections study was released November 2011, we can already see this prediction coming to life based on the findings of the new GovWin study. While having social media reach near ubiquity is certainly notable, it is more important to note how social media can transform citizen engagement and data mining.
Federal agencies like FEMA are leading the charge on the federal side when it comes to data crowdsourcing – especially during natural disasters like Hurricane Irene last year. However, FEMA may be the exception, as opposed to the rule, when it comes to agencies effectively obtaining, and acting upon, crowdsourced data. The state and local government sector is clearly ahead of the curve when it comes to this next-generation approach.
Please stay tuned for future posts, where we will be discussing how federal agencies could benefit from using this crowdsourced social media approach, as well as highlighting some key state and local government social media case studies.
Follow Market Connections, Inc. on Twitter, @mkt_connections.
Iowa develops statewide plan to improve interoperability
Iowa has taken strides to improve public safety communications across the state. The state Interoperable Communications System Board recently had its current 911 systems, both wireline and wireless, reviewed by a consultant to determine current challenges and what can be done to improve efficiency and interoperability between its public safety answering points (PSAPs). The consultant is also charged with helping develop a future 911 program.
In addition to improving interoperability between PSAPs, the state is also taking enormous steps to modernize and update its radio systems in order to intercommunicate with other agencies. Many agencies across the state currently use wireless land mobile radio (LMR) systems through frequencies ranging from VHF band through 800 MHz bands for mobile communications. Iowa recently announced it is looking to employ a system-of-systems approach to statewide communications by connecting existing infrastructure rather than duplicating systems. The approach will occur in two phases: the first including connecting existing systems across the state, followed by a second phase of working with local agencies and a consultant to develop a solution for connectivity for the rest of the state. The state partnered with CTA communications to study its current radio infrastructure and determine next steps for a statewide solution.
Interoperability remains an important issue for Iowa. Given its location and rural populations, a lot of challenges occur with respect to connectivity and intercommunication between jurisdictions and agencies. These issues could jeopardize any additional assistance needed for a large-scale emergency or natural disaster. Iowa has found that a lot of disparate systems are working side by side and are resulting in inconsistencies for interoperability. As far as radio operations, the state has multiple radio systems with limited ability to operate outside the local system and, therefore, cannot extend their operation beyond a local dispatch center. The state is looking to leverage current assets and money already spent by state and local agencies to develop connectivity among these systems. Contracts held by localities within the state include TAIT Radio Communications for the city of Des Moines and Harris Corporation’s radio system for Linn County. It is important for vendors to develop solutions for improving interconnectivity among rural areas and additional technology methods to help ease cross-communication between jurisdictions. Solutions may incorporate the use of common applications such as computer-aided dispatch (CAD) systems and forms of voice and radio communications, as well as the sharing of facilities and operations centers.
Another issue at the forefront for Iowa is the ability to fund these types of initiatives. Iowa is a prime example of a state experiencing a decline in surcharge funding for operating its 911 service across the state. The need to share technology and infrastructure as well as combine PSAP operations is highly likely in the future. Some states have taken this effort more seriously. For example, the state of Indiana issued a mandate for PSAP consolidation within certain counties to occur by December 2014. Efforts taken to reduce costs will help make the transition to NG911 and state interoperability more feasible for states, and Iowa currently has a contract with Telecommunications Systems Inc. to assist in this migration over the next five years.
Fast Forward: FCC Enhances Spectrum Access to Spur Wireless and Mobile Health Care Innovation
Talk about fast forwarding health care into the future: Earlier this month, FCC Chairman Genachowski announced a plan for enhanced spectrum access for testing new wireless health innovations, with the goal of “speeding new mobile and wireless health technologies to market” to create a “wireless health care revolution.”
Wireless medical technologies can save huge sums of money while providing better health outcomes. For example, currently managing chronic diseases comprise 75% of total US health care costs. Remote monitoring technologies could save as much as $197 billion in the US over the next 25 years, primarily due to better management of chronic diseases, according to economist Robert Litan. Per Continua Health Alliance, remote monitoring of vital statistics of patients with chronic conditions has resulted in up to a 56% reduction in mortality, and cost savings through a 47% reduction in risk of hospitalization, reduced hospital stay length, and a 65% reduction in office visits. This is a very compelling case for how wireless and mobile technologies can create a health care revolution and the impetus to speed such technologies to market.
In that vein, in the first week in June, FCC Chairman Genachowski hosted the FCC mHealth Summit to discuss with leaders from the private sector, academics, and government how to improve use of mobile devices for health information, in order to improve health care and lower costs. A major topic was also how to foster innovation in mobile health care.
Chairman Genachowski announced a plan to increase innovation in wireless device development by reducing regulatory barriers to testing and evaluation of new technologies and increase spectrum flexibility for testing new wireless health innovations, to speed new wireless health technologies to market. The plan includes creation of:
· More flexibility for experimental uses of spectrum for wireless health care devices in the coming months;
· New, streamlined experimental licensing processes for universities and non-profits;
· A research license that cuts the red tape to testing new wireless medical devices, in coordination with the FDA, to get new technologies to market;
· An “innovation zone” license to allow pre-approved spectrum use experimentation in specified locations.
To harness spectrum and health IT to improve health outcomes and lower health care costs, the FCC has already:
· Proposed permanent reforms to create of a nationwide broadband network dedicated to health care, connecting public and private non-profit health care providers in rural and urban locations. These reforms were based on a pilot funding program to facilitate the network.
· Moved to allocate spectrum for Medical Body Area Networks (MBANs), wireless sensors, often no bigger than a Band-Aid, that continuously transmit data on a patient’s vital health indicators to their doctor or hospital. The US is the first country in the world to dedicate spectrum for this usage.
· Entered into an unprecedented partnership (through a 2010 memorandum of understanding) with the Food and Drug Administration to work together to ensure that communications-related medical innovations can swiftly and safely be brought to market.
· Adopted rules (also in 2010) to enable a new generation of wireless medical devices, called Medical Micropower Networks (MMNs) that can be used to restore functions to paralyzed limbs. MMNs are ultra-low power wideband networks consisting of transmitters implanted in the body that take the place of damaged nerves, restoring sensation and mobility.
Summit participants included senior executives and leaders from companies such as Philips Healthcare, Qualcomm, Verizon, and Medtronic, startups such as MedApps, Telcare, TheCarrot, and WellDoc; non-profits including the Center for Integration of Medicine and Innovative Technology (CIMIT), West Wireless Health Institute, and the Alfred Mann Foundation; hospital leaders; academia, including the George Washington School of Medicine; and government experts from the FCC, FDA, HHS (HRSA, CMS, Center for Medicaid and Medicare Innovation (CMMI), VA, CMS, and NIH.
The summit participants discussed both the promise of mobile health care as well as the challenges. They recognized the opportunities and potential of mobile and wireless health technologies and products to revolutionize the delivery of patient care, both by increasing patient awareness and engagement with their own health, and by cutting costs and improving outcomes in hospitals and doctor’s offices. The challenges to increased adoption of mobile health included the regulatory approval structure, reimbursement and payment issues, maintaining privacy and security for patient information, among others.
Chairman Genachowski challenged summit participants to work together to create solutions to these challenges. Qualcomm, TheCarrot, and the Center for Integration of Medicine and Innovative Technology (CIMIT) will lead a working group effort to research the barriers to rapid deployment of mobile health technology. At a follow-up meeting in September, they will present a white paper on an industry-led plan to address the barriers and suggest ways to increase adoption of evidence-based mobile health technology, including what this working group can do to create solutions.
Let the revolution begin…