Government looks to the private sector to fix its IT
The federal government is bringing in experts from the private sector to do more than improve data management as they announced the formation of the U.S. Digital Service, according to Fox Business. In order to avoid any future problems similar to the rollout of the Obama administration's new healthcare website, the president has appointed former Google site reliability manager Mikey Dickerson, who was first brought in to fix Healthcare.gov, to lead a major technological reform for the country.
Now, the government is establishing its own team of private technology experts to bring their fluency in dependable and easy-to-use features into the public sector. As Dickerson takes the helm of the new team as its first administrator, he has his work cut out for him in dealing with the aging infrastructure of the nation as he and his team move forward, the main concern they'll have is the user experience.
A small group of people can make a difference
Rather than exhausting the available IT budget, the U.S. Digital Service is planning on assembling a small team of experts with diverse backgrounds of abilities and knowledge instead of the largest team possible, the source asserted.
"The Digital Service will work to find solutions to management challenges that can prevent progress in IT delivery. To do this, we will build a team of more than just a group of tech experts – Digital Service hires will have talent and expertise in a variety of disciplines, including procurement, human resources, and finance," said a White House statement.
While the team is starting out especially small, it's hoped to grow modestly in the next year when more money is put aside for it in the budget. The administration wants this task force to be comprised of as many as 25 employees, reported The Washington Post.
One of the ways U.S. Chief Technical Officer Todd Park hopes to convince other private IT experts to join the government's cause is by recruiting with the understanding that not everyone is going to want to leave their careers for a job in the public sector, added Fox Business. Park hopes to persuade many by offering positions that are held only for a limited time, so many of the technicians can do some work for the Digital Service while on sabbatical from their other endeavors.
Changes to expect now that the Digital Service is on the job
Many who have worked with Dickerson believe he has what it takes to bring a massive overhaul to the problem areas of the country's online presence. With patience and expertise, he can bring some innovation to a stagnating industry, the source stated.
One new tactic resonates deeply after the sting of Healthcare.gov, where Dickerson introduced the idea of gradual improvements and reductions instead of massive debuts and large updates. This allows better IT service management for issues that slowly come to light compared to discovering a problem during rollout and scrambling to identify its source.
By adopting strategies that private companies use, Dickerson hopes to bring a more adaptive and agile mindset to the technology departments across multiple agencies. The Digital Service will look at the websites of different organizations and find ways to improve them and make them more appealing to users.
However, in time, the group plans to take preventative actions, actively seeking out problems before they happen instead of waiting for them to come. As dilemmas are revealed the Digital Service will move from agency to agency, fixing whatever is needed or replacing old systems when they reach the end of their life or usefulness. This spreads out its efforts to make the largest impact where it's needed most.