Digital Transformation at VA | Data Resiliency | CMO Back at DoD?



This program is presented by Cohesity and Carahsoft

On this episode:

Embracing the Red: The Path Forward for the Department of Veterans Affairs' Digital Transformation

Kurt DelBene, Assistant Secretary for Information and Technology and CIO at the Department of Veterans Affairs discusses the ongoing digital transformation at the VA and how the organization is embracing a transparent and inclusive approach to addressing challenges and ensuring consistent progress.


Key Takeaways:

  1. Embracing Challenges Together: Kurt emphasizes the importance of a culture where teams "embrace the red" - openly discussing challenges instead of hiding them. This transparent approach promotes collective problem-solving and encourages individuals to take ownership of issues, fostering continuous improvement.
  2. Balancing Vision with Agility: While the VA is dealing with pressing technological challenges, Kurt believes in an incremental approach. He highlights the importance of having a clear vision connected to a multi-year roadmap, while simultaneously embracing agile development. This balance ensures that the VA remains flexible in its strategies and methods, allowing it to adapt to changing circumstances and continuously refine its efforts.
  3. Prioritizing User Experience: The digital front door of the VA serves millions of veterans, and the goal is to provide a seamless experience that matches, if not exceeds, what users expect from private sector services. Kurt mentions the success of and the introduction of mobile apps that have received positive feedback. The aim is to continue expanding these digital services to cater to the diverse needs of veterans.
Data Resiliency in Federal Agencies

Sanjay Poonen, CEO of Cohesity discusses how Federal agencies are undergoing a paradigm shift. With increasing cyber threats, the focus is no longer solely on prevention but on fast and efficient recovery. In this insightful interview, Sanjay Poon sheds light on how agencies can be better prepared for inevitable breaches, emphasizing the speed of cyber recovery, the importance of data protection, and the transformative power of artificial intelligence.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Shift from Prevention to Recovery: The new era of cyber defense isn't just about building protective "moats" around data but ensuring swift recovery after a breach.
  2. Data is the New Oil: With data being paramount, protecting it is now the most vital aspect for federal agencies. It's not just about safeguarding organizational operations but ensuring informed decision-making.
  3. Embracing Artificial Intelligence: Traditional backup tools might be inadequate for today's challenges. Leveraging AI can provide agencies an offensive strategy, transforming the way data is protected.
DoD's Transformation Journey: A Look into the Chief Management Officer Office and the Role of Data

The Senate is considering the restoration of the Office of the Chief Management Officer (CMO) at the Department of Defense, which was previously dissolved in 2021. Elizabeth Field, Director of Defense Capabilities and Management at the Government Accountability Office, discusses the history of the CMO office, its successes and failures, and the importance of a data-driven approach in the department.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Evolution of the CMO Office: The CMO office, created by Congress in FY 18, aimed to transform the DoD business operations but was disbanded due to concerns about its efficacy. The possibility of its return is now under discussion.
  2. Introducing Advanta - Centralizing DoD Data: The DoD uses a centralized data analytics platform called Advanta, which consolidates various DoD data sources. This platform is a pivotal tool for transforming the department into a more data-driven organization.
  3. Long-term Commitment to Reform: While the DoD has made progress in recent years, there's a continuous need for consistent, long-term efforts to see tangible results. The success of cross-cutting initiatives, like talent management modernization, will be indicative of the effectiveness of new approaches.


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