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5 Predictions For Government IT In 2010

Government agencies will continue to struggle with cybersecurity, while making strides in transparency and cloud computing. There will also be new pushes for accountability and IT procurement reform.

The GSA, which federal CIO Vivek Kundra has called a "center of gravity" for cloud computing, will launch several "platform" efforts and look to begin providing more shared services that sit on some sort of private cloud platform. The federal government will make a big deal out of data center consolidation, forcing agencies to begin thinking about how to architect their private clouds. Some states will attempt to become a private cloud service provider to local agencies, but will see a number of failures owing to the complexity of their efforts.

Apps.gov will move from beta phase to real use, but GSA will struggle convincing agencies to use it rather than buying apps on their own until it figures out a way to wrap easy certification and accreditation into the process. Apps.gov will also see the launch of application development prizes, new outreach to start-ups, and the creation of a SourceForge-like open source effort.

Increasing vendor engagement from companies like Amazon and Microsoft and private sector case studies will even spur a few agencies to begin using Amazon Web Services, Windows Azure and other public platforms and infrastructure as a service for substantive workloads, including for application testing, number crunching and Web hosting. However, security and procurement, as well as legacy obligations, will continue to be stumbling blocks for a massive uptick of cloud computing use.

3. Transparency Won't Always Be Easy

2009 launched the open government era, but 2010 will be about making sense of it all. Efforts like Data.gov will continued to be echoed across the country and worldwide, with the United Kingdom's effort, co-developed by Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee, becoming a keystone of innovation.

In the United States, USASpending.gov and Data.gov will get major overhauls, making it easier for the public to find more and more granular information, and making it easier to sort through that information. However, many open government efforts will suffer from lack of use and poor usability, even as governments push for adoption of standard formats. Any number of agencies will lag behind, struggling with cultural and technical issues. Some activists will become more annoyed by what they will see as selective transparency.

Agencies will begin to make more effective use of social media, creating real dialogues with citizens rather than simply throwing up a few YouTube videos or a Facebook page and patting themselves on the back. Federal CIO Vivek Kundra will also begin more public dialog on standard semantic data models in government.

4. Dashboards Will Push Agencies To Improve Performance Management

This could be the year of the dashboard as a transparency lever to force change in government operations, especially at the federal level. First, we had the IT Dashboard. Then, the White House announced it would be creating a dashboard for transparency. Just today, the Office of Management and Budget announced plans for a dashboard for data on federal contracting.

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