Welcome to my new feature, “Inside the Reporter’s Notebook,” where every two weeks I’ll dispatch news and information you may have missed or that slipped through the cracks at conferences, hearings and the like.
This is not a column nor commentary — it’s news tidbits, strongly sourced buzz and other items of interest that have happened or are happening in the federal IT and acquisition communities.
As always, I encourage you to submit ideas, suggestions, and, of course, news to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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There was a lot of discussion about mobile computing and the Digital Government Strategy this week, but what was most interesting was the juicy tidbit teased by different people in the know at two different events.
First, Gwynne Kostin, the General Services Administration’s director of the Digital Services Innovation Center, offered a nugget about a new governmentwide Web analytics tool at the AFCEA Bethesda breakfast.
“For the first time ever as director of the program it’s unprecedented, we will have an overall view of the traffic of all websites, the performance traffic. We will be able to find out what’s hitting, and what’s important, where the public is going from one website to another website,” she said. “There is a huge amount of data.”
Then the next day at the Federal Mobile Computing conference, Lisa Schlosser, the federal deputy chief information officer, offered a few more details.
“We just released a digital analytics program where there is a governmentwide capability to actually analyze how well our Web services are doing and how well our mobile services are doing in terms of customer effectiveness for the American citizen,” she said.
Neither, however, would offer any more details on the program, saying it’s not quite ready to be made fully public.
But sources say they are using the Google analytics tool. The goal is to let agencies see common searches and where traffic is coming from, which will be a huge help as they ensure websites meet the demand during hurricanes or floods or any other emergency situations.
Sources also say there are only a handful of agencies using it now, which means the Office of Management and Budget wants more capacity before going public.
Speaking of capacity, the FedRAMP cloud cyber program still has only one vendor, but 78 are in the queue to be approved.
Federal CIO Steven VanRoekel offered this update as one of the few news nuggets from his speech at the Cloud Computing and Big Data workshop sponsored by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
Just wondering, why did VanRoekel drive 45 minutes to NIST to speak for 15 minutes and take no questions from the audience at an event focusing on one of his office’s major priorities?
FedRAMP announced in December Autonomic Resources became the first cloud provider to receive approval from the Joint Authorization Board (JAB) to offer infrastructure-as-a-service that meets the cyber federal cyber standards.
GSA hoped as many as three vendors would have qualified by the end of 2012, but both the FedRAMP process and commitment from companies turned out to be barriers.
One source close to the process said they were amazed when GSA asked vendors to provide more information about a specific and seemingly straightforward area and that it took the companies two or three weeks to respond.
Unlike what GSA saw with Homeland Security Presidential Directive-12 approvals where vendors worried about their competition receiving approval first, companies don’t seem to have much anxiety about not being the first out of the gate to offer cloud services.
Reaction to GSA’s decision to bring in Tom Sharpe as the new Federal Acquisition Service Commissioner was definitely mixed around the federal community.
Sharpe is an outsider to GSA, but not to the government. FAS also is not your usual procurement shop, it’s more about customer service than getting acquisitions awarded.
Roger Waldron president of the Coalition for Government Procurement, told Federal News Radio’s Francis Rose that Sharpe has an opportunity to change both FAS’s offerings and processes.
Waldron said among Sharpe’s top priorities is putting in a central management structure for the schedules program.
Sources tell me GSA is considering consolidating all current 30-plus schedules into eight mega-schedules around areas such as professional services or technical services, which would incorporate all the piece parts agencies need to meet their mission. Sort of like what GSA is considering with its next multiple award contract, OASIS.
And speaking of OASIS, no update on the status of the draft RFP for almost a month, but a GSA source says the draft RFP could be released by mid-February.
As a double aside, congratulations to the director of the OASIS program office, Jim Ghiloni, who reports he’s cancer free after being diagnosed with Burkitt’s Lymphoma, cancer of the lymphatic system, in May.
But let’s get back to Sharpe. Others in industry, however, expressed some trepidation about his previous comments about preferring lowest-price, technically acceptable, otherwise known as LPTA.
One industry person said Sharpe made a comment a year or so ago during a panel discussion expressing a strong inclination to LPTA, and many vendors do not like the government’s lean away from the best value approach.
The same source said it’s important for Sharpe to include industry in any conversations about changes to FAS’s processes, especially since what the organization does is sell industries’ services to the rest of government.
The bigger question is whether Sharpe is the right person to meet acting GSA Administrator Dan Tangherlini’s goal of transforming FAS. Some say it’s hard for an insider, such as Mary Davie, to do that, which may be a major reason why she didn’t get the job.
A major personnel change at Lockheed Martin will take place April 1 when Linda Gooden retires as the executive vice president of information systems and global solutions.
Lockheed Martin CEO and president Marillyn Hewson announced the decision by Gooden and Joanne Maguire, executive vice president of space systems, to leave the company, which won more than $33.4 billion in contracts in fiscal 2012, according to USASpending.gov.
Rick Ambrose will replace Maguire and Sondra Barbour will replace Gooden, Hewson said.
Gooden’s decision to leave Lockheed is significant for several reasons. She spent 32 years with the company, including the last 18 in the IT services organization. She helped IT services generate nearly $9 billion in revenue in 2012.
During her tenure, Lockheed had its share of ups and downs. It struggled with the Electronic Records Archive program at the National Archives and Records Administration and the FBI’s Sentinel case management system. But it found successes with the Army WIN-T program as well as NASA’s ODIN desktop support program. It also has moved into providing cloud services, such as email-as-a-service to the Environmental Protection Agency.
A couple comments from industry:
Out and about: Next week is starting off pretty slow on the conference and hearings circuit. The Senate Armed Services Committee will hold the nomination hearing for Chuck Hagel to be defense secretary. PSC, ACT-IAC and the Coalition for Government Procurement hold a discussion on strategic sourcing with OFPP’s Joe Jordan and GSA’s Mary Davie on Thursday. And the Defense Strategies Institute is holding a big data symposium in Alexandria, Va., Tuesday and Wednesday.