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Accenture Survey Shows Federal Agencies See Benefits of Digital Tools

Accenture Survey Shows Federal Agencies See Benefits of Digital Tools, but Concerns About Costs, Budgets Remain
Source: Accenture

More than two years after the White House announced its Digital Government Strategy to better meet citizen needs, federal agencies report positive outcomes from digital services, but remain concerned over budget constraints and costs of implementation, according to survey research conducted by Accenture Federal Services and Government Business Council.

The survey research was designed to assess the perceptions, attitudes and experiences regarding digital collaboration and service delivery of nearly 400 senior-level executives across more than 30 U.S. federal defense and civilian agencies. The findings are outlined in a report, Delivering on Digital Government.

According to the report, government executives believe digital services help drive improved collaboration within and across federal organization and help harness emerging technologies to enable people – and an increasingly mobile workforce – to access high quality information and government services.

The survey indicates that three in four respondents identified positive outcomes from digital services, including improved employee efficiency or productivity (selected by 49 percent of respondents) and increased ease of service delivery to citizens (48 percent). More than one-third (37 percent) said that digital tools also save customers time.

Yet only 33 percent of respondents said they had realized cost savings by implementing digital tools. In fact, the majority of respondents (63 percent) cite limited budgets as the biggest barrier to digital adoption, with 50 percent reporting that agencies are not allocating an appropriate level of funding to support digital tools and services.

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Getting to the Left of SHARP: Lessons Learned from West Point’s Efforts to Combat Sexual Harassment and Assault

Getting to the Left of SHARP: Lessons Learned from West Point’s Efforts to Combat Sexual Harassment and Assault
Source: Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College

On July 26, 1948, President Harry Truman signed Executive Order 9981, ending the practice of segregating the military services by race. That same year, the Army allowed women to join the services on an equal basis with men. Both of these steps preceded the larger societal changes that allowed fully equal treatment of all types of American citizens in military service. Just over 2 years ago, Congress repealed the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, allowing for gays and lesbians to openly take their place in the military. Our procedures and policies for successful gender integration have grown and evolved. The authors share five principles for leaders and commanders on the prevention of sexual harassment and assault, as well as associated “Tips” for implementation: (1) Leaders identify and break chains of circumstance; (2) Education is preferable to litigation; (3) What’s electronic is public; (4) Don’t ignore pornography; and, (5) Unit climate is the commander’s responsibility. These principles and their associated tips are not panaceas, and these recommendations are submitted for discussion and feedback.

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Data Flood: Helping the Navy Address the Rising Tide of Sensor Information

Data Flood: Helping the Navy Address the Rising Tide of Sensor Information
Source: RAND Corporation

In the U.S. Navy, there is a growing demand for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) data, which help Navy commanders obtain situational awareness and help Navy vessels perform a host of mission-critical tasks. The amount of data generated by ISR sensors has, however, become overwhelming, and Navy analysts are struggling to keep pace with this data flood. Their challenges include extremely slow download times, workstations cluttered with applications, and stovepiped databases and networks — challenges that are only going to intensify as the Navy fields new and additional sensors in the coming years. Indeed, if the Navy does not change the way it collects, processes, exploits, and disseminates information, it will reach an ISR “tipping point” — the point at which its analysts are no longer able to complete a minimum number of exploitation tasks within given time constraints — as soon as 2016.

The authors explore options for solving the Navy’s “big data” challenge, considering changes across four dimensions: people, tools and technology, data and data architectures, and demand and demand management. They recommend that the Navy pursue a cloud solution — a strategy similar to those adopted by Google, the Intelligence Community, and other large organizations grappling with big data’s challenges and opportunities.

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