Shared services is new ‘default’ for federal CIOs

Using shared IT services is not a new phenomenon in federal government. What’s new is the push to make shared-first the “default” for federal chief information officers.

“Within NOAA, we’re trying to make sure that everything we do is extensible to the entire Department of Commerce, and we’re also trying to work with other agencies outside of Commerce on the same services,” said Joe Klimavicz, the CIO of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, in an interview with The Federal Drive with Tom Temin and Emily Kopp.

Those shared IT services include virtualized services, cloud computing, object reuse, security controls and continuous monitoring, Klimavicz writes in an April 1 blog post for Government CIO Magazine.

Joe Klimavicz, NOAA CIO (Photo from
NOAA strives for platform independence when considering software and — with hundreds of NOAA locations — location independence as well, he said.

The agency also shares its supercomputing capabilities and uses other agencies’ supercomputers, such as those at the Energy Department and NASA, Klimavicz said.

“It helps in terms of innovation, driving our model development, but also there’s a huge return on investment,” he said. “It’s an economical way to provision these services where you may not need all of the computing every single day.”

Some best practices for shared IT services will be outlined at a conference May 20-22 in Baltimore by the Government Information Technology Executive Council. The conference is free for federal employees. Klimavicz will be one of the federal CIO speakers at the conference.

Klimavicz said the Office of Management and Budget will be releasing guidance by month’s end on shared services, and discussion on how to implement this document will be part of the conference agenda. The conference will also give examples of shared IT services at federal agencies and common challenges.

“In the end, CIOs essentially face the same challenge at the federal level: How to reduce costs while keeping technology current,” Klimavicz said. “No one wants to miss the opportunity to help their agency move forward in the IT space.”


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