20 Scenes From XChange Public Sector 201110:20 AM EST Wed. Jun. 22, 2011
XChange Public Sector brought together hundreds of public sector-focused VARs, integrators, vendors, distributors and analysts to talk government turkey for three days at the Sawgrass Marriott in Jacksonville, Fla. If you couldn't attend, here's a look at what they heard, saw and got up to.
The Sawgrass Marriott means one thing above all: tee time. The golf-inclined among attendees took to the links with gusto, even with Florida wild fires creating a smoggy situation outside.
William Eggers, global director of Deloitte Services Research Public Sector, said that there are often systemic barriers to success when implementing big, paradigm-shifting projects in government. That's frustrating, Eggers admitted, but it's also useful for understanding -- and then developing frameworks -- for how to clear those barriers in the future. Eggers and a co-author, John O'Leary, wrote a new book called "If We Can Get a Man on the Moon: Getting Big Things Done In Government," and Eggers gave XPS a sense of the ideas he and O'Leary came up with. One big idea? Crowdsourcing -- an idea NASA has put to use.
"NASA has always said there are more smart people outside an organization than inside, so how do we access them?" Eggers asked.
David Green, senior director of global solutions readiness and alliances at Motorola Solutions, told an XPS audience that solution providers who want to succeed in the new paradigm of converged and collaborative cloud services selling will need to re-evaluate their offerings, honestly examine their marketing, and understand a partnering ecosystem that's very different from even a few years. ago.
Lenovo's forthcoming U.S. tablet P.C. lineup, set to be formally introduced on July 28, will be a "real differentiator," according to Jamie Royster, director of sales for public sector for Lenovo. Royster was among the vendors participating in XPS' Tech Symposium, in which vendors and distributors are given stage time to discuss market trends they're seeing and how their particular solutions can be aligned with those trends.
Mike Humke, a familiar face to public sector channel observers for all his years at HP, was back in action at XPS on behalf of Ingram Micro, where Humke is now senior director of business development for health care and vertical markets. One area Humke focused on? Electronic medical records.
"How many of you can get online with your doctor's office and see your medical record? Four or five," Humke said, polling the audience. "Guys, it's the 21st century. We should be able to do hat. That's an opportunity for us."
It didn't happen at XChange Public Sector, per se, but the show floor was abuzz with news that Vivek Kundra, the first-ever federal CIO and the Obama Administration's prime mover for technology priorities, would be leaving his post later this summer to take a position at Harvard. Solution providers expressed disappointment at Kundra's exit, worried that the progress Kundra made to make the government a more efficient purchaser of IT will be stalled.
Rishi Sood, vice president of government research at Gartner, offered attendees a snapshot of federal spending heading into the next federal sales cycle this fall, but also took some time to speak with CRN about Kundra's resignation. Sood told CRN he didn't think Kundra's departure would be a black eye for the Obama Administration.
"It is a reality of what happens in the marketplace," said Sood. "There are IT leaders who need to raise visibility to a given technology issue. You can't just depend on that singular leader to make sure that there are wholesale changes across all federal government."
Scott Lundstrom, vice president of research for IDC Health Insights, described health care as the top opportunity in the U.S. for solution providers. Why? For starts, Lundstrom noted, there's no other industry with growth as explosive and an opportunity so clearly telegraphed.
"We have an evolving market," Lundstrom told XPS attendees. "The requirements of that evolution are well understood and well documented and mandated by government regulation. We have significant investment. We have dramatic consolidation."
The state government spending picture is still pretty ugly, a panel of state CIOs and state government observers told XPS attendees. In XPS' annual state-focused panel, (left to right) Doug Robinson, executive director of the National Association of State CIOS, Kyle Schafer, chief technology officer of West Virginia, and David Taylor, CIO of Florida, described the harsh realities of working in state governments and trying to get IT projects off the ground.
"It's a very deep dive, and it's not going to be a steep ascent," Robinson said. "This is going to be slow recovery."
Federal agencies may be slow to adopt cloud computing, but their march to the cloud is inevitable -- if not for technology's sake, than certainty for efficiency's. That was the consensus of a panel of federally-focused solution providers and consultants on the final day of XChange Public Sector, moderated by Tom Temin.
From left to right: Van Ristau, CTO of DLT Solutions, Kevin Jackson, director of cloud services at NJVC, Toby Zellers, vice president of strategy and solutions at TVAR Solutions, and Carmine Taglialatela, owner of Oak Hill Farm Group and business development executive at Tec Port Solutions.
Roger Cressey, senior vice president at Booz Allen Hamilton, had a stirring, plainly stated message for XPS attendees: the threats from Pakistan, Al Qaeda and cyber terrorism are all very real and have to be wrestled with as part of any serious discussion of U.S. cybersecurity policy.
Jane Cage, the COO of Heartland Technology Solutions, decided to turn unspeakable tragedy-- the tornado that wreaked havoc on her hometown of Joplin, Mo. -- into an opportunity for healing. Cage appeared on the final day of XChange Public Sector to push a fundraising campaign to get Joplin community members and business back on their feet.
"We have a whole district full of school children who have seen things that they shouldn't see and who have lost their homes and have lost everything they know," Cage said. "And everyday they drive through it because you can't go from one side of town to another without seeing it. We have to work hard to make school right for kids."
Lt. General Russel Honore, commander of the joint task force for Hurricane Katrina and a global preparedness expert who is known in some quarters as the Ragin' Cajun, told attendees during the closing keynote and luncheon that if there is one key to success, it's to "raise good kids." He also said that everyone needs to be prepared for a disaster with a few important supplies: a crank radio, a flashlight, water and cash in a backpack ready to go at a moment's notice.
Fortinet’s Joe Sykora (left) and John Convery, executive vice president of vendor relations and marketing at Denali Advanced Integration, find their inner FortiHero.
Synnex set up a Full Swing golf simulator on the show floor so attendees could practice their strokes without braving the Florida heat.
Laura Steward Atchison, director of health care services at SL Power, extols the virtues of one of her vendor partners, eFolder, during a Quick Fire session.
Sherri Stanfill (left), director of business Development at Allied Network Solutions, gets a demo of some of Lenovo’s gear.
Dariann Lucarelli, director of marketing at Xirrus, gives an inside view of some of the company’s Wi-Fi Array wireless networking equipment.
Samsung’s Richard Hutton, senior manager of channel marketing, enterprise business division, tries his hand at Wii golf, while showing off one Samsung’s hot displays.