Justice applying lessons learned in kindergarten to IT

Justice Department CIO Joe Klimavicz will join Federal News Radio on March 4, at 1 p.m., for a free Ask the CIO Online chat. All you have to do is register and you can ask Joe your own questions.

The Justice Department isn’t being picky about shared services. They can come from headquarters, components or vendors. But without a doubt, the move to shared services has to happen.

Joe Klimavicz, CIO, Department of Justice
Joe Klimavicz, the Justice Department’s chief information officer, has been a big supporter of enterprisewide services since his experience at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Klimavicz was NOAA’s CIO before coming to Justice in May.

While at NOAA, Klimavicz moved the employees to email in the cloud and implemented the NOAALink IT services contract.

Using that experience, he said DoJ has plenty of opportunities for shared services.


“I want our folks to learn from each other and make this model part of the culture. I believe shared services should be the de facto way we deliver IT, and adopting this service broker model makes it easier to implement these services,” Klimavicz said. “Under this model, I encourage component leaders to be providers of shared services. My office doesn’t need to deliver every service that is shared. If a component has a service that they want to extend across the department, I would encourage them to do so and I have been. Service providers are not just DoJ entities, they could come from other federal agencies or from industry. We’ve made a good bit of progress in this area, but it’s clearly a multi-year effort.”

One area that is primed for shared services is email. Klimavicz said there are nine separate email systems across DoJ.

For instance, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives moved to the Microsoft Office 365 in the cloud, which includes email and SharePoint. But other Justice components still run their own email services.

“We are trying to develop the strategy right now that would consolidate [our email systems],” he said. “We still are going system-by-system to evaluate what the end state architecture would look like. One of the biggest challenges right now is the cyber aspect of it. There are clearly things we can take advantage of the commercial solutions and we are today, but there is more we can do in this area. It’s a question of how much time do we have to go through each one. We have to do that and have a plan laid out.”

Shared services cataloged

It’s not just email that DoJ is looking to share.

Klimavicz said in September his office published version 1 of DoJ’s services catalog. He said it’s all the shared services his office provides as well as structure for future and existing shared services.

He said the catalog lists dozens of shared services, including the Justice cybersecurity assessment and management (CSAM) program, which is a set of automated tools available to agencies to help them meet the requirements under the Federal Information Security Management Act.

“By the end of fiscal 2015, we are on track to deliver an online catalog where customers can begin to order some services and track their status online. I think this is the direction we all should be headed,” Klimavicz said. “My vision is to create a catalog that has an Amazon.com look and feel where we can even take customer feedback and rate their services. Some services may cost a whole lot less, but then they deliver a whole lot less too. It’s important to close that customer loop in terms of feedback.”

Klimavicz said his focus is around commodity and common IT services to begin with.

“If you think about it, infrastructure services is at the base of this pyramid, but there also is enterprisewide services that are right on top of this common infrastructure. We need to define a set of services that everybody can take advantage of and do it easily,” he said. “One of the things that hinders the sharing of services is its too complex, either in terms of the acquisition or moving money, and then finding out what’s available. So you need to make sure it’s easy to find the services, easy to consume the services and then people will get on board a lot better.”

Klimavicz said that’s beginning to happen at Justice. He said discussions with component CIOs are going well and are coming forward with services they are providing already across their bureau.

“If a service already is in place, already exists, already has been defined and contractually it’s available, then we want people to say ‘Hey, look it’s going to be easier for me to go into somebody else and get this service, and I’ll focus on higher order problems, problems that I can’t just go buy a solution from somebody else — maybe more on the mission or business IT,'” he said.

Klimavicz knows quite well the challenge of getting component CIOs to move toward an enterprise approach to IT services. When he was a NOAA — one of the bureaus in the Commerce Department — he was one of those 800-pound gorilla components.

Now that he’s at DoJ, the shoe is on the other foot, so to speak with the FBI, ATF and the Drug Enforcement Agency as a few of the large components he has to manage and convince shared services makes sense.

“I’m very understanding of what is being put on the component CIOs in terms of just the compliance things and the pressures their leadership is putting on them to perform, so I really want to make this a collaborative, transparent effort in working with the components. So far so good, but it’s always a work in progress,” Klimavicz said. “My office has been working to strengthen and optimize the department’s CIO Council. It’s really about ensuring buy-in and participation on council priorities to ensure better collaboration and coordination. Beyond that, we recently established a department investment review council. This council is to provide oversight, risk reduction, assistance to ensure the successful delivery of our IT programs and investments. The council will monitor and review programs against their operational metrics and performance objectives. I’ll serve as the chairman of the council, but membership will include the controller, human resources, acquisition executives and three components CIOs.”

The council and investment review council also will apply its oversight to five other strategic goals along with shared services.

  • Enhanced customer service around the services his office is providing and the enterprise services.
  • Improved management of the IT budget. Klimavicz said he’s initiated a bottoms- up review to ensure the organization is operating efficiently and providing cost transparency to its customers.
  • Continued focus on cybersecurity to protect DoJ’s mission and deploy new tools to protect networks and systems.
  • Ensuring innovation around information sharing and collaboration continues.
  • Training and development of the IT Workforce to better prepare them for the future of IT services and delivery.

Klimavicz said the customer priority is about bringing all the operations, services and delivery staffs together, and about customer relationship management.

“What I’m trying to do it make sure we’re consistent and do it across all the different components and treat everybody with the same care,” he said. “The other thing is IT Information Library. We want to have standard processes. An organization that is large and diverse needs to be process driven with standard processes that are not only captures, but baked into our technology solutions as well.”

Klimavicz said he recognizes that for Justice to be successful, it has to have the best workforce. So, he’s both using all hiring tools available whether it’s direct hire authority for cybersecurity or Schedule A authority for term hires to bring in the best and right people.

“One of the ways we are going about doing this is identifying opportunities for high performing employees to enhance their skills so training, rotations and job sharing to get a different perspective on things,” he said. “The areas that I think are most critical would be three areas: program management and acquisition with some business skills. Obviously, cybersecurity continues to be a challenge because it’s very competitive out there for the best talent; and the last one is broad technical engineering talent that really is aligned with what OMB is pushing, the digital services or digital experts.”


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