Management of Change Conference 2009 | Global Architecture & Information Network Initiative | www.GAINInitiative.net

This entry summarizes content and impressions from the 2009 Management of Change conference - a U.S. government focused conference for high-level executives sponsored by ACT/IAC.  The conference took place May 31st - June 2nd, 2009 and was very well executed by the conference chairs - Casey Coleman and Joe Dawson.  This report expresses the impressions and viewpoint of Cory Casanave, Model Driven Solutions.

This conference was particularly important due to the timing and relevance of the topic in relation to President Obama's Initiatives.  The conference served as a way to present and clarify those objectives and explore how they related to the government I.T. community.  The conference was attended by an impressive set of Government CIO/CTO and other leaders as well as high-level representatives of contractors and vendors.  Both Vivek Kundra (US CIO) & Aneesh Chopra (US CTO) participated and we will focus on their perspectives.

Vivek Kundra presented the President's memorandum on Transparency and Open Government.   The goals expressed will drive the government to be more transparent, participatory and collaborativeThe scope of this transformation can not be underestimated - it is a game changer!  Web technologies are central to achieving these goals in that, for the first time, we have mechanisms for citizens to directly participate in government - have a voice and two way dialog.  Another important theme is that information produced by the government is owned by the citizens and should be available to them, except where it is classified or private.  Government agencies now have a responsibility to be open and sponsor this public dialog and to make information pervasively accessible.  There is a "no kidding" attitude from the administration and this will require a dramatic shift in government agencies culture and how they operate.

This agenda implies a substantial change in "business as usual" for government agencies and government I.T. in particular.  I.T. has a key role in enabling this transition.  There was substantial discussion and multiple presentations throughout the conference as to how to achieve these goals, but the how is still very open.  There was a lot of talk about Web-2.0 technologies as well as social networking.  Social networking is seen as the mechanism for direct citizen participation.  Cloud computing also received substantial attention as a more agile and less expensive way to deploy these capabilities.

Aneesh Chopra also expressed the need for transition at a mission level but related this in more detail to the technology directions that would be required - emphasizing the need for creative technology solutions to our needs.  Aneesh expressed the importance of standards, ready to use platforms, security, and a reliable and "factory like" development process to provide a host of solutions from open government to smart grid.  The GSA was identified as a key player in providing the required platform and government services.

In my opinion, the requirements Aneesh expressed resonated very well with both the W3C and Object Management Group communities and standards.

The  "Open linked data" and "Semantic web"  standards of the W3C are ideal as an open data publishing platform for government data of all forms. The ability to link and query data across repositories is crucial to the governments needs.  This community should engage with these government initiative to show how existing standards and technologies can be used and to see if any additional standards are required.  Tim Berners-Lee's video on The next Web of open, linked data makes a good case for this.

The "Model Driven Architecture" (MDA) standards of the Object Management Group can provide an open and standards based way to model the data, processes, collaborations and services of the government so that it can be published and made accessible.  MDA is also a key to making the fast and reliable "factory like process" that Aneesh asked for to make software reliable, more agile and secure. SOA as expressed in SoaML can provide a way to make the connections for collaboration and services.

Both the semantic web and MDA standards should be considered for achieving the administrations goals.  Of course bringing these together is one of the goals of the GAIN initiative.

As with all such conferences, there was a lot of networking and interesting talk.  The conference ended with an inspiring talk by Alan Gregerman - "Surrounded by Geniuses: Discovering New Ways to Deliver  Compelling Value to Those We Serve", suggesting how the creativity around us can help achieve these important results.