The Dept. of Health and Human Services is pushing towards standardization of a number of applications, as well as consolidating operations that have been spread over numerous HHS agencies, CIO Charles Havekost said recently. According to Government Health IT, HHS will be standardizing such applications as asset-tracking, financial, e-mail and grant systems. Havekost said he prefers commercial software but lack of such software wouldn't halt the drive to standardization.
A major effort at DHS, as with all federal departments, is to implement a policy of smart identification cards for employees and contractors. Another important area is records management, especially regarding continuity of operations after a terrorist attack. Another major move is outsourcing data center operations to contractors. "I think we’re starting to see a real sea change in the federal government” there, he said.
Although IT employees are reluctant to see data centers hosted outside government buildings, he said, it makes sense to consolidate and use commercial hosting where redundancy and restoration can be more certain. Some HHS systems are still hosted in an office closet, where they are difficult to manage and vulnerable to loss, he said.
HHS has a $2.3 billion IT budget this year and is handing out another $3 billion in IT grants to states.