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FEDTALKS: How To Improve Government With Technology

This past week in Washington, DC, Goldy Kamali and her company Fedscoop put on a stellar event at the Sydney Harman Hall, pulling together leaders from government and business alike to discuss technology and how it can make our government better.

According to the FEDTALKS site:

FedTalk’s 2010, is a one day widely attended conference, held on October 12th 2010, at the impressive Sidney Harman Hall in Washington DC. Speakers will be addressing an audience comprised of Federal Agencies’ CIOs, distinguished members of Congress, Obama Administration Officials and staff, and the most influential thought leaders of our nation’s high tech industry, media, and academia. The focus of FedTalks 2010 is how technology can support our governments key goals and initiatives with keynotes and discussions on Innovation, Engaging Citizens in Government, Cyber Security, Open Government, and Lowering the Cost of Government with Technology.

The event revolved around how technology can, will, and is being used to make big government agencies run more efficiently and in turn, more productively. The agenda was jammed packed with speakers who ranged from giants of the private sector world like Craig Newmark and Arianna Huffington to many CIO’s and CTO’s of various government agencies.  Many, like Peter Levin the CTO of the Department of Veterans Affairs, spoke about using new technology to make process improvements that cut down on waste and save all of us a time and money.

Craig Newmark, FedTalks

Jim Moran, the VA 8th District Congressman, spoke candidly about Congress and the use of new technologies.  He spoke about the importance of utilizing new social media tools to reach out and communicate with constituents as well as the importance of educating our youth in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) as well as retaining this knowledge inside our own country and not letting knee-jerk legislation force this knowledge pool out of the US.

FedTalks 2010 by Jimmy Garnder

The event included a good round-table of private and public sector managers who spoke of the importance of cloud computing, particularly private clouds to enable government cost reductions across the board, from hardware to rent to pure energy costs of maintaining all bare metal equipment.  At the same time, Linda Cureton, CIO of NASA, warned that just because the technology is there, it isn’t necessarily the best solution in all cases. NASA must look at what it is doing that fits well in a cloud model and implement those areas –  letting what works best be the deciding factor.  For instance, she said it was not a good fit for its accounting software to run on a cloud system, so they keep that on its own.

Arianna Huffington at FedTalks 2010, by Jimmy Gardner

The final two speakers to round out the day were Arianna Huffington, publisher of the Huffington Post and Vivek Kundra, the US CIO.  Arianna spoke of how technology, most importantly the breakout of Social Media, has created a positive environment where the decision makers are now within a tweet of their districts and how this is a good thing for everyone.  Following Arianna, Vivek Kundra was very dynamic on stage. I have know him for years since I met him in his office when he was DC CTO to talk about technology in DC and what he could do to improve it.  He was doing great things back then locally for DC and he has stepped up and is doing it on a national scale now, helping President Obama transform America’s infrastructure and federal organizations, utilizing technology to make government better and more efficient.

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About the Author

Jimmy Gardner is a Senior Unix/Windows Engineer, a lover of technology and photography. Follow him online at @jjgardner3 and enjoy his portfolio at jjg3photo.com/.

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