The federal government normally follows a custom development approach within IT. Most business owners assume that their needs and wants are unique — develop custom requirements, and then work through federal contractors to deploy custom point solutions that take years to implement and stabilize the newly developed code. Such custom systems are costly to design, develop and implement and are later cumbersome to integrate, consolidate, grow, modernize or retire and create new vectors for security and privacy risk and ongoing maintenance! We therefore focus on the following government problems addressable by “standard” products, productizable services and innovations in public private collaboration, and funding models:
➢ Universal Problems: These are type of problems which are likely to be universally prevalent in many if not all the agencies either within federal, state or local. Our goal here is to create a standardized product that can be deployed to solve this problem across multiple agencies and reduce the cost of custom development by each of the agencies independently. This will allow faster deployment with reduced cost of development, maintenance and upgrade. Sometimes these solutions are also created by productizing existing, working solutions within government agencies along with their contractors.
➢ Cascading Problems: These are types of problems that are likely to be originated from one agency but will have a significant technology impact on the other agencies, private sector or citizens. For example one federal agency deploys a nationwide safety system and now all states have to comply and create a complementary system for feeding into the federal system. Our goal is to create a standard platform with state and local modules (like Turbo tax) that can be universally deployed with minimal configuration changes or customization.
➢ Integration Problems: These are the types of problems where federal, state and local agencies may need to collaborate using knowledge, expertise, content, data or other similar input from multiple federal, state or local agencies or even the private sector to arrive at a complete solution. Our goal here is to create a business model that makes it feasible for all these parties to collaborate to create a holistic solution to address public value. Examples include a comprehensive national pipeline or road database.
➢ Privatization Problems: These are the types of problems that are best solved through privatization of existing public sector solutions or creation of new solutions through public-private innovations. Such opportunities normally exist in areas where the privatized solution has sufficient business value for either businesses or citizens to pay. Alternatively, there could be transaction charges associated with the system that could help pay for the creation, maintenance and continuous upgrade of the system. Examples include a national commercial driver registry.
➢ R&D Problems: These are the type of problems where significant research is required before deployment of the solution and therefore clear requirements for systems development cannot be developed. Typically, in these kinds of problems, government contracting methodologies have been inefficient in creating on time and within budget solutions. We are interested in creating new public-private innovations business models in working with the government agencies to develop efficient and effective solutions to such research and deployment problems. Examples include “Connected Vehicles” program including specialized V2V and V2I technologies.
➢ Citizens Problems: These are the type of problems which are faced by large number of citizens for which the knowledge, expertise, content, data or other input is available with the public sector and which the private sector would like to have access to create public value solutions. Our goal here is to create a mechanism to launch unique citizen centric apps, products and platforms using public sector knowledge and private sector funds. Examples include national social media based “Amber Alert” or Terrorist Alert” systems.
➢ Modernization Problems: In these cases there is a critical legacy system that needs modernization in terms of legislation, policy, regulations, technology, features, and stakeholder equipment but normally the resources available for such an comprehensive endeavor are lacking. In such cases innovative planning, funding, collaboration, design, development, testing, deployment, and communications methodologies are required to complete the project on time and within budget with increased value to the stakeholders. Examples include modernization of air traffic control from radar to satellite systems.
What is our approach?
By gathering, reviewing and analyzing business opportunities needs and problems from various parts of the federal, state and local governments, PPI can work with the federal contractors and technology suppliers to create broad holistic platforms (e.g. safety platform), modular products (safety inspection model) and productized services (safety as a service) that are configurable or customizable for a large number of government customers and other public and private stakeholders.
As these “productized” services take input from various parts of the government they may have more complete requirements with a better ability for mass customization. Since these services are developed as a “product” instead of a “custom integration” they are better tested, with quality user interfaces with even potentially an Authorization to Operate (ATO). Also as these systems are developed as products rather than custom coded — the development, testing and upgrade costs are distributed among many customers. Ultimately, our approach enables our government customers to have “everything as a service” as a faster, better, cheaper alternative to the current custom coding model.
What information we seek?
We continuously seek valued input from federal, state and local government executives, agencies and bureau CIOs, business owners, system owners, architects, IT budget leads, IT contractor procurement leads, technology users and others on the business needs and the business problems facing their government institutions, bureaus, offices, or groups in mission areas (e.g. traffic control systems), mission support areas (e.g. contracts management) and infrastructure areas (e.g. data center consolidation) that can be alleviated through differentiated use of technology. While each business owner may think that his or her needs are unique there is sufficient probability that similar requirements are or have been worked on somewhere else within the government.
What actions we take?
We consolidate, analyze and mine this information to build a growing government wide business needs repository that then helps continuously educate the private sector on investing and growing the next generation of technology companies, platforms, modular products and productized services for government use. So the next time you need a custom service there is a potential that it is already built, ready and available to you on time and within budget.
What can you do?
Our approach will be more successful if we receive a large amount of submissions from various agencies on regular basis on various business needs and problems faced. So please spread the word around and do not hesitate to submit actionable information often and as specifically as possible so we can work together to create a win-win (expected time for completion of the form is under 5 minutes).