Treasury's East making two transitions

Thursday - 8/25/2011, 8:02pm EDT

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By Jason Miller
Executive Editor
Federal News Radio

Robyn East spent most of her career in the academic world or with state government. But coming to the Treasury Department as the chief information officer four months ago was less of a culture shock than many would think.

East said she was familiar with many of the federal technology standards such as the Federal Information Security Management Act and was comfortable in an environment governed by specific laws and regulations.

Like many other new federal employees, her biggest adjustment is, of course, the alphabet soup of acronyms.

"The structure of a large research university, as an example, with its large and often separately funded graduate and professional schools that operate fairly autonomously is not all that different from a structure like Treasury's with its bureaus," she said. "There is the same need in a position like mine for a certain level of collaboration for the sake of efficiency while still understanding that there are varying missions and being able to allow for accommodation for the differing needs of those components."

While East's learning curve is shortening each week, she has a good idea of where Treasury needs to go to improve how it manages and spends its $3.1 billion IT budget.

East is implementing the Information Technology Infrastructure Library standard (ITIL). She said there were some pockets of ITIL usage in the department, but not in a formal manner.

"What I'm doing within the operations shop is starting a formal program to put some things in place, and form an example, I hope to expand to other areas of Treasury," she said. "We have chosen at least preliminary to focus on service catalog. To do a better job describing out services and our service levels and put more standardization to that."

While ITIL implementation is more of a long term initiative, East also is focused on closing down data centers and improving access to and the use of collaboration software, such as Microsoft's SharePoint.

East said Treasury has more than 40 data centers and plans to reduce that by at least five in 2011.

She said Treasury will take different approaches to data center consolidation including cloud, virtualization and consolidating to underutilized buildings the agency already is using.

East also plans to implement an enterprise content management and collaboration platform for functions all Treasury bureaus use.

Sharepoint was the first one, but several more are planned,

"The first one will be a common process for creating and editing and correspondence for executives," she said. "We also are looking at the needs of some of the new regulatory reform entities and the need to share information there."

Along those same lines, East said Treasury needs to improve how it manages and uses its data. She plans on implementing data analytics software to better understand existing data and look for opportunities for efficiencies.

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