MegaTrend Update: User Empowerment and Consumerization

By: Bob Gourley

Enterprise IT professionals everywhere are familiar with this trend. We have all seen a shift in how our own IT departments and the global IT industry innovate and create and who is in the driver’s seat. CIO’s and CTO’s remain key players, but the focus is on users everywhere, and that includes the consumer.

The trend continues and shows no sign of letting up. The commercialization and commoditization of IT paired with the ubiquity of computing has caused a shift in IT developer focus towards the individual that is impacting everything. Even when new companies with new ideas for enterprise IT are created they are bounded by this force of user empowerment and consumerization.

The trend has long caused a competition for resources, especially in developer talent. Increasingly the limited pool of computer engineers and software developers is being pulled towards coding for consumer-first capabilities, like Google, Facebook, Amazon, Twitter and the smart device application ecosystem.  Savvy enterprise IT professionals have sought to leverage this trend vice fear it, but still it is making it harder to find the right in-house technical talent. On a brighter note, the enablement of consumers through this mega trend is giving us smarter more empowered workforces with very capable devices, plus cloud capabilities that can be leveraged by enterprises for enterprise missions.

Consumer demand continues to fuel advances in communications and networking capability, which ends up supporting enterprise buyers by reducing cost and enhancing capabilities. And consumer demands on IT are also a key driver in emerging Cloud Computing trends (a megatrend so critically important we discuss it separately as its own wave).

Enterprises are also increasingly being enabled by the social media/social networking dimensions of this shift to users. Social media and its ability to bring mass collaboration to problems has shown benefits in ways that is fueling increasing consumer demand and that should ensure continued advancement of social media tools. Enterprises are also bringing social media to bear on problems, both inside and outside of their firewalls.

This trend is a driving force in enterprise IT, impacting just about every other area of concern to the CIO or CTO. The technologies tracked in this trend are fueling innovation. This includes the smartphones and tablets we are all pursuing with vigor but also the e-commerce properties and social media sites that are driving technology investment. We would have never had the current Big Data revolution without the drivers of user empowerment and consumerization.

What does this trend tell us we should do?

  • Continue to consider how to leverage the amazing world of connected devices offering incredible features and functionality, as well as the cloud based services connecting all these devices and our users
  • Understand that security is largely an afterthought in the world of consumer IT. Do what you can to find the right risk mitigation capabilities (read our special report on security technologies)
  • Watch how connected consumers change their approach to buying, recreation, health and education and consider how these impact the enterprise IT world. How they shift there will impact so many other areas of life including enterprise IT.
  • Consider how to leverage social media powers to solve problems in your mission space. Mass collaboration over problems can help address many enterprise problems.We are tracking several hot threads on this topic, including activities in wearable computing. For more details see:
  • We would very much appreciate any insights you have for us on how this trend is impacting your professional life and what you believe this means for other professionals in the community. Please let us know your thoughts. We also track social media closely for clues on where this trend is going. That is pretty meta isn’t it? The social media enabled by this trend gives us hope we can figure out where the trend is taking us.


5 Lessons for Government from SxSW

SXSW-Blog Image

BY: Gadi Ben-Yehuda
South by Southwest Interactive had a lot of relevant information by and for government agencies.
The argument has been made (and made and made) that SxSW is So Over ™. Respectfully, I disagree. It is certainly a corporate event—witness Samsung offering to bring a free, charged battery to anyone whose Samsung device is running low—but that doesn’t mean that governments agencies, whether local, state, or federal, should skip out. Indeed, here are only five things that I learned at the five-day interactive festival:

1. Project managers beyond communications shops are using social media, and especially social media analytics, to improve their performance.
The most piquant example of this was provided by Matt Desjardin and Zach Boisi in a panel titled “Social Media and Representative Democracy,” which used the hashtag #SocialGov. In a series of charts, they showed how their tool, Grade.DC.Gov, started out as a way for people to communicate with their local government (in this case, the Washington, DC, government) about how various agencies were performing. What happened was that program managers for the various agencies saw in real time how they could improve the performance of the programs under their purview.

2. Entrepreneurs are getting more interested in government, and vice versa.
Quite a few of the panels I attended, such as “7 ways to engage with the US State Department,” and “Hack the Bureaucracy,” focused on how entrepreneurs could bring their talents to government and how government agencies could accommodate and benefit from new perspectives and fresh energy. In the latter session, people spoke about how some of those entrepreneurs—in this case, former Presidential Innovation Fellows—actually stayed to work in government after their program had officially ended.

3. Many of the problems social entrepreneurs are trying to address are also challenges that concern government agencies—and vice versa.
In a session called “Digital Divides and Tech Famines,” two panelists described various aspects of the digital divide—race, class, age, geography—and how some people and organizations were trying to address them. What was interesting to me is that some of the people in attendance didn’t know that there are government agencies that would likely be willing to partner with them, as they are also trying to reach these constituencies through both digital and traditional channels.

4. Data. It is getting bigger. It is getting more open. It is getting more valuable.
We are all generating more of it. We are storing more of it. We are seeing it visualized in ways that both give us more insight to what we are seeing but at the same time obscure the raw data itself. More kinds of organizations are using it (gyms, for example). We still want to retain privacy, but we also stand to benefit from more sharing. This single aspect deserves its own post and I’ll write that up shortly.

5. The future is going to be awesome.
There are people who are working on devices and applications that are truly wonderful: a few companies have developed devices that turn your smartphone into a multi-function body sensor. This is not wearable technology, but rather home medical units that could have a big impact on telemedicine. At the same time, extensions are being written for Firefox, Chrome, and other browsers that tells you who is tracking your Web activity, why, and gives you the ability to turn off their code on a given site (so when you look up a medical condition that one of those devices hints at, you won’t have to view ads for a medicine you don’t need).

Applications were exhibited that make it easy to export HTML tables into a spreadsheet and thus manipulate the data, potentially unlocking scads of data currently locked into legacy formats (and points to a time when PDF tables can also be converted easily into useable forms). And finally, real-time is going mainstream: many organizations, mine included, have real-time digital monitoring tools that can now mash up so many data feeds that program managers can respond nearly instantaneously to events that are still in progress.

There is much more that I could write, but I’m in the airport, tethering my laptop to my phone to post this. I feel like I’m already living in the future. And I’ll write more about what the further future portends in the coming days.

FOSE 2014 Blogger & Speaker Meet-Up Recap

photo (2)
Organizers of the FOSE and GovSec Conferences & Expos, hosted a FOSE 2014 Blogger and Speaker Meet-up on Wednesday, March 19 at the 1105 Media office in Vienna, VA. In its 6th year, this invitation-only event was held specifically for government technology influencers, FOSE speakers and bloggers. Held as an open forum, roundtable discussion, attendees were given an opportunity to discuss key elements of the upcoming FOSE Conference. The conversation moved from government events and the obstacles that continue to challenge them, to the uprising of mobile and social media and how they are influencing the way government interacts with the public, cybersecurity and more.

Attendees at the meet-up included influencers; Jack Gates, Open Source Leadership blog; Dick Davies, SalesLab; Tom Suder, President at MobileGov; Ghadi Ben-Yehuda,  Director of Innovation and Social Media for IBM Center for The Business of Government; Tammi Marcoullie, Program Manager for – GSA; Lovisa Williams, Sr. Policy Advisor at U.S. Office of Management & Budget; Guy Timberlake, Co-Founder and Chief Visionary Officer of The American Small Business Coalition, LLC;and Penelope Parker, Vice Chair of the Woman in Technology Communications Committee. Representatives were also present from CSFI, Tuvel Communications, LLC, 1105 Media and GovEvents.

During the introductions, special recognition was given to Tammi Marcoullie and for winning the Harvard Innovations in American Government Award, and to Lovisa Williams for being named as one of DC’s Top 50 Women in Tech by FedScoop. Having recently returned from the South by Southwest event in Austin, Ghadi Ben-Yehuda was excited to share strategies used at SXSW to engage attendees through various technologies. Most notably was an app from Samsung. With the click of a button, a Samsung employee would bring you a new battery for your dying Samsung device within a one mile radius of the Samsung booth!

This quickly led the group into discussions about social media and how its integration into both our personal and professional lives affects us on a daily basis. Activities that were once considered private are now commonly shared with friends, acquaintances and even strangers, across multiple social media channels. This ‘information sharing’ presents challenges to our government in numerous ways, including:

  • Setting guidelines for government employees on what can and cannot be shared via social media;
  • Government monitoring vs. moderation of open forum communications on government sites;
  • The ability of government agencies to use the information freely available over social media to monitor activities so they can better prepare for situations. A great example of this is the CDC tracking flu outbreaks across the US so they can provide more antibiotics where they are needed most.

Following this discussion, GovEvents was asked to share what trends they are seeing with government events. Program Manager, Aletia Martin of GovEvents was excited to report that more events than ever before are currently posted on and new events are added every day. About half of these events are webcasts, which suggests that organizers are implementing strategies to combat the ongoing travel restrictions and budget limitations. While technology, big data and security events remain popular on the site, events covering government mobility, procurement and acquisitions are becoming more frequent. GovEvents is also seeing more organizers using social media for event promotions and have noticed an increase in apps being created and used at events. These apps allow attendees to remain engaged and foster networking above and beyond what we have seen in years past. The group agreed that attracting a large government audience is still a challenge, but if organizers plan properly, these challenges can turn into new opportunities for engagement.

Be sure to stop by the GovEvents booth at FOSE 2014, May 13-15 in DC!
GovEvents is the premier web portal for all Government & Military events worldwide.

Top Enterprise Architecture Visionaries to Speak at EA 2013

Too many federal officials are staring at a very sketchy blueprint of their agency’s systems operations. They stare because, they’re unsure about where to start drawing the lines between processes—let alone measure the success of their operational fluidity, as the Office of Management and Budget wants.

Agencies need a clear architecture of their enterprise to coordinate increasingly complex business processes and technology. More than coordination, there’s even cost-savings to mine with well-organized operations.

Officials have said they are stuck when it comes to the next step in developing their enterprise architecture. Their questions boil down to the how-to and the guidance for moving forward.

At the 11th Annual Enterprise Architecture Conference in Washington, DC, the top enterprise architecture practitioners will discuss how an agency can draw a clear EA blueprint and take it to the frontlines of their mission.

Bernard_Scott100x100 Opening the conference on October 29, Dr. Scott A. Bernard, Federal Chief Enterprise Architect, will discuss how to use innovation, governance, and effective execution to deal with the ongoing tension between requirements and resources. He will talk about how shared services can offer agencies more cost-effective operations. He will also explain the key roles that enterprise architecture and capital planning play in governance.

On October 30, two experienced EA experts formerly from Defense Department will host a joint keynote address and describe EA from two different perspectives.

Cuviello100x100 WENNERGREND100x100

Breaking EA down to the tactical level, Peter Cuviello, Lead Client Partner at Deloitte LLP and retired Army Lieutenant General, will talk about what EA offers the IT employee who’s on the front lines of mission and business operations.

With a broader view, David Wennergren, the new vice president of enterprise technologies and services at CACI and former assistant deputy chief management officer at the Defense Department, will discuss the strategic aspect to EA, such as the methods to make data more useable and how to build more effective collaboration. He will also share his insights on using performance measurements to drive results with an emphasis on understanding costs and returns on investment.

These speakers and the two days of panel sessions will help officials, who are staring at blueprints, know fill in their blueprints for a clearly architectured operations and on the path to saving money.

The Enterprise Architecture Conference is October 28-30 in the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. Admission for the conference is free of charge to government personnel. Space is limited. To guarantee a spot, visit

21st Century Innovations to Achieve Agency Missions: From Basics to Breakthroughs

GITF_socialicon_180x110Let’s face it, the current government technology landscape can be tricky to navigate. From policy updates to unstable budgets, a rapidly aging technology base and growing cyber threats—to name just a few challenges—it’s hard to find the solutions to your daily challenges while also planning for 2014 initiatives.

Luckily the Government IT Forum, December 3, in Washington, DC co-locates 5 events providing insight on current policy and technology trends in big data, cloud, cyber, mobile and records & information management, all in one location…and all FREE FOR GOVERNMENT!

Make a move — Register today! Remember, government can attend the conference on December 3 at NO CHARGE. Industry receives $100 off until November 1.

“We are excited to offer such a comprehensive line up of critical training across five key technology areas – all in one place at the same time,” said Mark Gable, Event Director, 1105 Media, Inc.  “Not only are the events convenient to attend, but they also remove budget obstacles for our government attendees as they can participate for free.”

The Government IT Forum is comprised of these 5 co-located events:

•             Cloud & Virtualization – exploring how opportunities for adoption and access are being addressed by the new portfolio management review process.
•             Big Data & Business Intelligence – providing insight into lessons learned from agencies that are finding ways to acquire the modern work tools generated by big data analytics.
•             Cybersecurity – addressing the challenges of navigating the risks of reduced budgets and archaic technology during times of growing cyber threats.
•             Mobile Government – featuring the latest information on programs and valuable ideas for achieving the objectives of the Digital Government Strategy.
•             Records & Information Management – discussing compliance with National Archives and Records Administration policies, lessons learned and how to avoid unexpected mines and traps.

Pre-Event Workshops
Want more in-depth, hands-on education? We don’t blame you! Add on pre-event workshops (Monday December 2; minimal fee required) to your registration package and ensure your professional development in the new year!

Seeking Solutions?
You’ll find those too. The joint exhibit hall is comprised with products, services, tools and solutions showcased by the industry’s top providers such as AT&T, Immix, HP, IBM and more.

For more information about the Government IT Forum, visit


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.