Pulse


Pulse

By GCN Staff


Survey: Agencies save with automation technology

Survey: Automation in Public Sector IT Systems from SolarWinds.

Key points: A survey of 162 public-sector IT workers found that 84 percent believe automation has somewhat or significantly saved time and money for their teams, while 67 percent have seen some degree of increased productivity from their teams.

Network configuration management tools were the most beneficial in terms of time money saved according to 58.3 percent of respondents. Help desk automation came in second at 41.7 percent, followed by IP address management at 38.8 percent and app/server provisioning and configuration management at 36.6 percent.

The successful rollout of automation technology, however, has been a challenge for a number of agencies. More than half (53.6 percent) of the survey respondents have cited finding a budget to pay for the right tool as the major challenge. This is in addition to the 28.8 percent who said they wished they had the time and budget available for training.

Other challenges to a successful rollout included integrating new tools with other automation (49.3 percent), training (42 percent) and getting management support (39.9 percent).

The survey also found that more than half of the respondents have not seen their IT teams change in size as a result of investments in automation, despite the promise they have shown. More than half (53.3 percent) have not had their teams change in size, while only 6.5 percent said their teams are smaller as a result of these investments.

Bottom line: Investments in automation technology have brought an overall benefit to public-sector IT employees, with a majority finding the technology has saved time and money for their teams.

Posted on Feb 19, 2014 at 11:58 AM0 comments


Report: Enterprise app activations growing rapidly

Report: Good Mobility Index Report for Q4 2013,  part of the Good Technology Mobility Index, an ongoing initiative to track and analyze the impact of mobile apps and platforms.

Key Points: The report found a 54 percent growth quarter over quarter in activations of enterprise applications, which are designed to take advantage of the mobile devices employees are already carrying. The rate is a jump from the 43 percent growth rate from second quarter to third quarter of 2013.

Custom app development continued to grow rapidly at 55 percent, an increase from 52 percent in last quarter’s report. Although document editing remains the dominant choice of enterprise applications, more advanced mobile applications are continuing to close the gap, including business intelligence, secure browser and social business.

The report also found that organizations are continuing to move away from BlackBerry and are further embracing the iOS platform. Fifty-four percent of all device activations last quarter came from iOS smartphones. Android activations saw a one percent decrease to 26 percent.

Financial services dominated all other industries in net activations, accounting for 39.3 percent. Business and professional services were second on the list at 19.6 percent, while the government and public sector accounted for 6.5 percent. 

Bottom Line: “With a 54 percent growth rate quarter over quarter, it’s becoming more and more apparent that organizations are leveraging mobile apps to make employees more collaborative, productive and engaged.”

Posted on Feb 18, 2014 at 7:09 AM0 comments


Report: Agencies struggling to carry out cloud strategies

Report: The Road Ahead: Three Years After Cloud First from Accenture Federal Services and Government Business Council.

Key Findings: A survey of 286 federal executives found that agencies implementing the federal “cloud-first” policy are having trouble with their cloud transition  strategies. Nearly half (49 percent) of agencies have moved only 10 percent or less of their IT portfolios to a cloud three years after the policy was mandated.

The biggest driver of cloud adoption is cost savings. More than one-third (34 percent) of respondents cite cost savings as their primary motivation. Data center consolidation came in second at 24 percent, which is a path to further cost savings.

Respondents believe the largest potential gain from moving to the cloud is better security. This was followed by bigger storage capacity and reduced IT costs.

Otherwise, staff and procurement have been the biggest challenges for federal agencies in adopting cloud technology. Less than one-third (32 percent) of respondents are certain their agency has the necessary staff to execute its cloud strategy.  Nearly one-third (31 percent) believe their agency needs to hire more employees to manage their cloud strategy.

In addition to hiring more employees, nearly half (45 percent) of respondents feel their agencies need to invest in training. Of the 45 percent, nearly one-third (30 percent) believe a significant investment of $25,001 to $50,000 is needed.

Bottom Line: Cloud adoption has proved difficult for federal agencies despite three years of mandates. Most have yet to move a substantial portion of their portfolios to the cloud.

Posted on Feb 14, 2014 at 8:47 AM1 comments


Walter Reed launches mass communication system

Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) has launched a system for mass notification and interactive hospital communications, which will enable the health care center to integrate messaging across once separate campuses. Established in 2011, WRNMMC of Bethesda, Md., comprises two renowned health care institutions, Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the National Naval Medical Center, also known as Bethesda Naval Hospital.

WRNMMC implemented the AtHoc Interactive Warning System (AtHoc IWS), which enables IP-based interaction among all 12,000 on-premise medical staff, keeping personnel accurately informed and ensuring business and operational continuity in emergency situations. AtHoc leverages mobility, cloud and the IP network for rapid and pervasive two-way communications with anyone in the organization at any time.

Converging physical security and safety into the IP system, emergency managers are able to leverage all assets to issue interactive warnings with enterprisewide reach throughout an entire healthcare facility. According to AtHoc, the IWS suite enables:

  • A nurse to activate a one-click, geo-tagged emergency alert from her smartphone and receive immediate help at her location.
  • An operations center to view an event via rich media — photos, audio, video, texts, and maps — from hundreds of employees and field personnel to assess an unfolding event.
  • Emergency managers to send maps of cordoned areas to security forces and forward evacuation routes to affected personnel.
  • A base commander to account for all personnel and view base status in detail, following an emergency.

WRNMMC said it chose AtHoc IWS for its network-based, enterprisewide notification and communication system, which would help provide a secure environment for the care of presidents, dignitaries and wounded soldiers and their families.

AtHoc's offerings are available as software-as-a-service, on-premise and hybrid configurations, based on customer operational needs and security requirements, the company said.

Posted on Feb 12, 2014 at 10:09 AM0 comments


Lessons learned from NARA's social intranet

The Internal Collaboration Network is the social intranet platform that the National Archives and Records Administration uses to foster communication across the organization’s facilities and help build relationships among employees. 

With 40 facilities across the country, NARA often has people doing the same job in different locations. ICN allows them to connect more easily. The network also captures the ideas and knowledge that are frequently lost from the organization when people retire. 

Kelly Osborn, a NARA Web developer and the community manager for ICN, spoke to the Federal Communicators Network last month about the process of creating the network. 

The top takeaways:

  • NARA asked agency managers who were critical of the network to be among ICN’s first users. This tactic allowed managers to see how communication would actually work, as opposed to how they expected it to work.
  • Horizontal communication, rather than a top-down flow, enables a more effective spread of ideas.
  • The bell curve of early adoption shows that employee interest grows as people explore the network.
  • Ten percent of participants are power users who comment and use the network frequently. About one-third of employees use it once a week, and two-thirds have logged in within the past six months.

Posted on Feb 07, 2014 at 8:03 AM0 comments