Share and Share Alike?

My mother told me it was good to share my toys. Seems Uncle Sam can cut costs by sharing tech toys. That, according to a new MeriTalk study – Shared Services: Ready or Not?. The study’s based on a survey of 138 Fed IT execs at the MeriTalk Cloud Computing Brainstorm in January. For the multitaskers, too busy to read the study, the takeaways are below.

Rampant Redundancy
GAO reports 777 supply chain systems and more than 600 HR systems strewn across the Fed IT playground. Someone’s not sharing…

And the study puts the first numbers around the waste associated with Fed IT fiefdoms – $27.9 Billion. That’s the savings from shared simplicity. That’s about one third of the Fed IT budget.

Making Nice
Feds are in touch with the opportunity. Ninety six percent of survey respondents recognize the importance of shared services – and 72 percent say their agency’s tracking shared services as a strategic initiative for the CIO Council.

Reality Check

Okay, so we know it’s good to share, but who’s doing it? According to Fed IT execs, just over half of agencies are using any shared services and 44 percent are providing shared services. Top of the list of shared services apps: help desk, MDM, and finance. But – and it’s a big but – bear in mind, those shared services are only a fraction of those agencies’ IT consumption diet.

Get a Plan, Stan
So, we know that redundancy is rampant. Feds know shared services will unlock savings. Why aren’t we sharing more? It appears government-wide efforts are all at sixes and sevens. Just 40 percent of agencies have defined shared services goals and objectives. Only 32 percent have established service-level agreements. A paltry 16 percent have developed a financial model and chargeback system to deliver services to other agencies. Agencies call out procurement, security, culture, measurement, and infrastructure as key barriers to sharing the IT love.

First Things First

Cloud is clearly the pathway to shared services reality. While it certainly doesn’t absolve the sharing sins, FedRAMP takes a swipe at the shared security shyness. The FedRAMP OnRAMP allows agencies to see which CSPs are FedRAMP approved, by what agencies – and which CSPs are currently in the pipe. Important stuff as we run at OMB’s June FedRAMP deadline.

Play Nicely Together
And, the FedRAMP OnRAMP shows the value of government and industry playing well together – sharing information to accelerate change. What agencies need is a procurement platform and culture change to enable and measure progress. Perhaps a government-wide cloud broker that gets us out of solitary IT confinement?

It’s less than two months to May 11th. No, that’s not another OMB deadline – it’s Mother’s Day. When we’re able to save $27.9 billion by sharing, seems she really does knows best. Perhaps send her a copy of the study with that bunch of flowers this year?

Steve O'Keeffe
About Steve O'Keeffe
The most connected executive in the government technology community – O'Keeffe is an accomplished entrepreneur and tech-policy expert, with 30 years’ experience as an innovator at the crossroads of government and industry. He founded MeriTalk, O'Keeffe & Company, 300Brand, among other entities. O'Keeffe is a fixture on the Hill, in both the House and Senate, testifying on IT, budget, government workforce, and the requirement to modernize government IT to enhance outcomes for the American people and government employees. He is a champion for change, simplification, transparency, and clear communication of IT value without jargon. A committed philanthropist, O'Keeffe has served for 15 years on the USO-Metro Board of Directors – Vice Chairman of the Board and Chair of the Annual Awards Dinner. He started his career as a journalist – O'Keeffe has contributed to The Economist, Government Executive, Signal Magazine, The Washington Post, and, of course, MeriTalk.