Insight By Booz Allen Hamilton

Keys to digital transformation in government

The White House released its draft 36-point IT modernization plan for public comment in September. Over the next few months, it will finalize that strategy with a strong eye toward cloud computing, cybersecurity and agile development.

At the same time, Congress is considering a new approach for agencies to move money from legacy IT systems to new, modernized platforms.

The Modernizing Government Technology (MGT) Act would establish working capital funds in each agency. Departments would...


The White House released its draft 36-point IT modernization plan for public comment in September. Over the next few months, it will finalize that strategy with a strong eye toward cloud computing, cybersecurity and agile development.

At the same time, Congress is considering a new approach for agencies to move money from legacy IT systems to new, modernized platforms.

The Modernizing Government Technology (MGT) Act would establish working capital funds in each agency. Departments would be able to retain savings for up to three years from systems that were modernized and consequently cost less.

While legislation and strategies are nice, the real digital transformation work is being done on the ground inside agencies.

The Office of Management and Budget reported in 2014 that over the previous year, agencies decreased the time it took across their high-impact investments to deliver functionality by 20 days. That decrease, without a doubt, is much larger today.

You can see these reductions at places like Treasury, which reported in 2016 that it cut the time it takes to deliver incremental capabilities to 100 days from more than 220 days.

The focus on agile and dev/ops is clear in contracting data as well. Information from Bloomberg Government from June showed that spending on agile services increased to $368 million in fiscal 2016 from $242 million in 2015 among the 40 biggest contract vehicles.

But it takes more than just contracting and technology delivery. Digital transformation also requires a change in thinking by the workforce, and the contractors agencies hire.

As we’ve heard over the last two decades, it’s rarely about the technology and it’s almost always about the people, culture and approaches.



Jason MillerJason Miller

Jason Miller is a reporter whose work focuses mainly on technology and procurement issues, including cybersecurity, e-government and acquisition policies and programs.



John Owens II, Chief Information Officer, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

John B Owens, II was appointed Chief Information Officer (CIO) for the USPTO in December, 2008.  As the CIO, Mr. Owens is the principal advisor to the USPTO on the design, development and management of the information systems and technology that enable the agency’s business and strategic growth.

Since joining the USPTO, Mr. Owens has stabilized the agency’s infrastructure and legacy systems while building next-generation tools and services for Patent and Trademark examination.  He has led the organization’s journey to adopt innovative models such as Agile and DevOps so new software systems reflect customer needs and are delivered rapidly.

Early in his tenure, he led the initiative at the USPTO to develop and implement a Strategic IT Roadmap to rebuild the agency’s information systems and infrastructure. The roadmap addressed capabilities for IT planning, management, measurement and customer collaboration. Overall, his relentless focus on continuous process improvement and performance excellence has driven up operating efficiency.

Mr. Owens’ distinguished career spans 20 years.  Prior to joining the USPTO, Mr. Owens served as Technical Director at America Online (AOL) from 1995 to 2008. Before AOL, John was a senior software engineer at GE Consulting for GE Aerospace and Keane Inc. for Martin Marietta.  He has been recognized as a “Fed 100” winner(link is external) by Federal Computer Week magazine and a “Top CIO” by Bisnow.

Originally from Rome, N.Y., John lives in Virginia with his wife and children. He earned a Bachelor of Science in computer science from Clarkson University and Master of Business Administration in Technology Innovation Management from the University of Phoenix.


George Chambers, Executive Director, Office of IT Infrastructure Operations, Department of Health and Human Services

George Chambers is part of the Senior Executive Service (SES) and serves as the Executive Director of the Office of Information Technology Infrastructure and Operations (ITIO) and Acting Executive Director, Office of Enterprise Application Development (OEAD) for the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). In those roles, he has responsibility for the lifecycle development, implementation, support, and operations of shared enterprise solutions that assist federal agencies within HHS such as NIH, CDC, FDA, CMS, and IHS achieve their mission goals.

In years prior to joining HHS, Mr. Chambers served in an SES appointment as Principal Advisor to the Assistant Secretary of Defense, Health Affairs. Mr. Chambers came to the federal government from private industry where he directed the selection, acquisition, configuration, and deployment of enterprise scale medical and clinical support systems for acute care, ambulatory, in-patient, and academic research facilities.

Mr. Chambers holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics from the University of Maryland, College Park and a Masters of Engineering Administration from the George Washington University in Washington, DC. He is also currently a PhD candidate in Health Policy and Translational Clinical Research at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, PA. For philanthropy, Mr. Chambers is a founding member and served as Board President of Odyssey Charter School for 12 years. Students go to school free at this non-profit K-12 academic institution, are taught classic Greek language with content focused in mathematics, the sciences, and humanities, and perform scholastically in the top 5% of all public schools in Delaware.


Bill Zielinski, Deputy Assistant Commissioner, IT Category Management, Office of IT Category, Federal Acquisition Service, GSA

­Bill Zielinski is the Deputy Assistant Commissioner, Category Management within the Office of Information Technology Category (ITC) in GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service (FAS). The Federal Acquisition Service provides buying platforms and acquisition services to Federal, State and Local governments for a broad range of items from office supplies to motor vehicles to information technology and telecommunications products and services. As an organization within FAS, ITC provides access to a wide range of commercial and custom IT products, services and solutions.

Mr. Zielinski formerly served as the Acting Unit Chief for Agency Oversight in the Office of the Federal Chief Information Officer (OFCIO) in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).  In this role, he provided oversight of the Federal Government’s Information Technology Capital Planning and Investment Control (CPIC) process on behalf of the Federal CIO.  The Federal CIO is responsible for providing guidance on the formulation and oversight of an annual IT investment portfolio in excess of $85 billion.

Additionally, he has served as the Chief Information Officer for the Social Security Administration, where he led a staff of approximately 3,400 Information Technology (IT) Specialists and managed an annual total budget of more than $1.5 billion. In this role, he was responsible for the delivery of IT solutions that allow the Agency to effectively manage more than $800 billion in annual benefits to more than 60 million people around the world. Prior to being the CIO, Mr. Zielinski served as the Regional Commissioner for SSA’s San Francisco Region.   As the principal Social Security official for the states of California, Arizona, Nevada, Hawaii and the Pacific Area, he provided leadership for the effective and efficient operation of all Social Security programs within the region.  Mr. Zielinski directed approximately 6,500 employees in the regional and field facilities and managed an annual budget of $725 million.


Gary Labovich, Executive Vice President, Booz Allen Hamilton

Gary Labovich is an Executive Vice President at Booz Allen Hamilton leading the firm’s Digital Solutions business. He joined Booz Allen in July 2004 from American Management Systems (AMS) where he spent 18 years in key roles as both an entrepreneur and a senior executive specializing in systems development and strategic consulting for federal, state and local, and commercial organizations.

At Booz Allen, Mr. Labovich serves as the leader of the Digital Solutions Functional Service Offering (FSO) which is responsible for supporting the capture, execution and delivery of the firm’s $1B+ software development business. In this role, Mr. Labovich leads a team of technology experts who deliver world class, modern Digital capabilities.  Prior to this role, Mr. Labovich was the Client Service Officer (CSO) for Financial Services organizations in the civil market.  In that capacity, he lead the delivery of the firm’s capabilities and service offerings to both federal and private sector clients such as the US Department of Treasury and its bureaus, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Reserve, the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation and private banking institutions. Previously Mr. Labovich lead the firm’s Technology Capability Area which was an 8,000+ person organization providing technology consulting and systems solutions to clients across the federal government and in commercial markets–specifically financial services, health and energy. The Technology Team provided capabilities and service offerings via the deployment of three Centers of Excellence (COEs) representing Systems Development, Cyber Technologies and Strategy Technology and Innovation.

At an institutional level, Mr. Labovich serves on the Leadership Teams for the firm’s Civil, Defense, and Strategic Innovation businesses, where his responsibilities include strategic market development, senior client relationship management, and financial oversight. He serves on the firm’s Enterprise Risk Management Committee which is responsible for identifying and managing operational risks to the firm; and the Capital Committee which is responsible for overseeing the review process for non-traditional investments.  He also serves as a Trustee for the firm’s Employee Capital Accumulation Program (ECAP) which provides accrued benefits to employees for retirement and the occurrence of disability or death.  Previously, Mr. Labovich served as a member of the firm’s Leadership Team, the Ethics and Compliance Committee and the prestigious Booz Allen Excellence Awards (BEA) committee which recognizes those projects that generate the highest impact and most meaningful results for clients.

Mr. Labovich holds a M.S. in Public Management and Policy from Carnegie Mellon University and a B.A. with high honors in Economics from Clark University. Upon completing his graduate studies, he was awarded a Presidential Management Internship in Washington, D.C. Besides his work at Booz Allen, Mr. Labovich is a former Chair and now a member of the Board of Trustees for the National Capital Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and serves on the Board of Trustees for Clark University.