Collaboration initiatives a rising priority in US Federal Government according to new Larstan Research

WASHINGTON, DC, Aug. 26, 2004 -- In the hierarchy of IT priorities, few initiatives beat out the need to communicate and share critical data and information resources within and between federal agencies. Collaboration touches virtually all critical technology-enabled business strategies being implemented today by government agencies, and serves as an organizing principle around which line-of-business, technical and security officials in the executive branch coordinate key management decisions.

This is the central conclusion of a recent Larstan Business Report survey of 189 readers of Federal Computer Week which also featured interviews with key players in the federal technology community. (Full report can be accessed at Among the specific findings of the report:

-- Forty-nine percent of the IT professionals surveyed said that their organizations are actively building web services to integrate stovepipes of automation and support collaborative business processes.

-- Fifty-nine percent said they are implementing an IT infrastructure that will enable web services.

-- Nearly half of the federal IT professionals surveyed for this report said that their organization was exploring ways to provide the mobile work force with the same level of enterprise system support as fixed place workers.

-- Fifty-eight percent said their organizations plan to modernize their storage infrastructure, and about half of those surveyed said storage problems are holding back collaboration efforts.

-- Fifty-five percent expressed concern over the ability to effectively integrate heterogeneous enterprise infrastructures in a secure manner.

The full report will also be the subject of an industry summit Web event entitled "The Government Collaboration Summit," to be webcast on October 5, 2004, (interested parties can register for the event at The results of the survey will be presented, and a roundtable of experts will he held to discuss what the findings mean for federal IT decision makers.

Both the report and the industry summit explore specific trends and implications of federal collaboration initiatives. For instance:

...Security must be approached in an entirely new manner

As government agencies embrace Web Services to "webify" the functionality of individual IT components, new opportunities and challenges are being created to make the underlying systems more robust and secure.

"Individual government entities and individual functions within government have traditionally been stove-piped. They have evolved over time without regard to external functions, even within the same government departments, in many cases," says Vic Winkler, Security Architect for Sun Microsystems. "Many of the tools that have been used to build these really don't lend themselves toward enforcing security beyond a very limited extent."

...Role of systems integrator changing

"As federal agencies come to grips with mandates to collaborate with each other in IT architecture development to share information and to re-use IT infrastructure designs, government executives are not only revisiting how they conceive of and manage major IT initiatives, but also are re-evaluating the role of major systems integrators," says Robin Lineberger, Senior Vice President at BearingPoint.

In a growing number of cases, federal agencies have pooled funding and initiatives to develop standard systems that remove unnecessary redundancies through infrastructure consolidation. This has resulted in important, but non-core activities -- such as travel and payroll systems -- to be consolidated on to fewer platforms.

"The new emphasis on collaboration requires integrators to be much more interactive with the government in requirements development activity. We see much more of a partnership emerging between industry and government."

...Mobility strategies being integrated into collaboration initiatives

Efforts to accomplish more tasks with fewer resources have also caused many agencies to establish connections between collaboration and mobility initiatives. In order to achieve real efficiencies through mobility in federal agencies, it is not enough to simply allow field workers -- such as inspectors, case workers, surveyors, etc. -- to input information through mobile devices.

"They need to be able to stay in the field while drawing information from the same enterprise databases they would have access to at their desks," says Rick Turner, a Senior Business Development Executive with Chantilly, Va.- based GTSI Corp..

...Existing storage infrastructures being stressed

As federal agencies embrace both internal and external collaboration initiatives, new strategies are needed to keep critical data immediately available and shift non-critical data to more cost-effective storage. Limiting expensive storage options to only critical data also decreases the search time within that set of data.

"Many federal agencies are struggling with their current storage environment," said George J. Symons, Chief Technology Officer, EMC Software Group. This is creating the need for a tiered approach to storage. "Without tiered storage, you would be drowning in data and you would not be able to afford the storage costs," he said.

To learn more about the reports findings, and to get insights on specific action items that federal IT decision-makers can use to optimize their investments in collaboration initiatives visit

Larstan Publishing Inc. 
Lane Cooper, 202-338-7226

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