“In the first year, we expect to accomplish the following: full wireless capability and services throughout Commerce headquarters in Washington, D.C.; the initiation of shared services; … the first phase of consolidating five operational networks in headquarters to a smaller number; and the completion of the current phase of headquarters renovations, which includes our 21st century open workplace environment,” Cooper said in an online Q&A hosted by Federal News Radio earlier this month. “In the second year, we hope to achieve full operational capability of our enterprise security operations center.”
The establishment of the ESOC will provide near real-time monitoring of cyber events across all the parts of Commerce and represents a major milestone in implementing the NIST cybersecurity framework, he said.
The Commerce Department’s shared services initiative currently includes human resources, finance, acquisition, and IT. “We’re building a business case now, which should be completed by April, in which we’ll identify specific services to be delivered via several shared services providers,” Cooper said. “We expect to pilot a couple [of] IT services like video teleconferencing and audio conferencing … so watch for an acquisition around these services to come out shortly.”
Cooper believes in the shared services concept, though his support is based on what it can enable agencies to accomplish.
“Our CIOs [within Commerce] are unanimous in believing that we don’t want to deliver commodity IT anymore,” he said. “We want to focus on delivery of mission services and mission support. …[W]e view moving to shared services as enabling greater focus on mission delivery from the CIO community. We do believe, based on our business case estimates, that we will achieve cost savings over time,” as well as economies of scale and efficiency gains.
He also believes that government-wide shared services is feasible, though implementing that may take a while.
“There are at present acquisition challenges, funding challenges, economy act challenges, and other various rules and regulations that we simply have to work through so that we can achieve true shared services across all agencies,” he said.
In addition to procurements in the area of shared services, Cooper said Commerce would be moving toward enterprise license agreements for commercial IT.
“For example, we’re working on the renewal of our Microsoft licensing agreement, focused on making it department-wide, rather than bureau by bureau,” he said. “Likewise, we’re taking a look at vendors where we spend several millions of dollars, like Oracle, Adobe, IBM, and Symantec. Where we can, we’ll move to department-wide licensing agreements rather than bureaus negotiating their own agreements.”
Cooper said the biggest challenge he’s found since taking his position at Commerce last June has been contending with obsolete hardware.
“Investment to replace routers, switchers and servers has not occurred for apparently seven to eight years. Fortunately, Secretary Pritzker and Deputy Secretary Andrews, along with our CFO, Ellen Herbst, have approved funding to replace needed hardware,” he said. The replacement effort will continue through fiscal 2015.