Fed Needs Help- “Oops: GSA official overstates cloud savings”

02 April 2010 Internet, IT & e-Discovery Blog Blog
Authors: Peter Vogel

Cloud Computing is not to blame for the General Services Administration’s exaggeration that it saved $850 million when in fact the savings was $1.8 million! At the recent FOSE conference a GSA official failed to describe how the federal agency managed to save $850 million and over what time frame the saving occurred, but later the GSA had to admit the spokesman “misspoke.” Of course Cloud Computing is a pretty hot topic these days, but hardly a new concept. Before personal computers and servers, in the 1960’s and 1970’s many companies bought computer resource time on mainframes over phone lines which was called “time sharing,” now that same concept of buying computer resources over the Internet is referred to as Cloud Computing. There is much debate about whether Cloud Computing is a great savior to IT, but the GSA’s unbelievable exaggeration of savings does little to help! Having good Cloud Computing contracts is the best medicine.

EDWARD TUFTE – A Most Brilliant Communicator

In 1995 I attended a day-long Edward Tufte seminar with a handful of individuals about how to better communicate information. Tufte is Professor Emeritus of Political Science, Statistics, and Computer Science at Yale University, but with the proliferation of the Internet now Tufte’s seminars are attended by hundreds when he tours the country. I have relied on his concepts since that seminar to try to communicate better.  Tufte’s books which have won more than 40 awards are wonderful, you should take a look: Beautiful Evidence, Visual Explanations, Envisioning Information, the Visual Display of Quantitative Information, and Data Analysis for Politics and Policy. If ever you have an opportunity to hear Tufte speak, please do as it will ignite great thoughts.

TUFTE to the Rescue

In March the President appointed Tufte to advise the Recovery Accountability and Transportation Board to help the public understand how $787 billion in stimulus monies are being spent. As a former federal employee I understand how the government can bury information so the public is incapable of understanding. When Tufte was shown the first web design about the stimulus monies he called it “intellectually impoverished. So check out recovery.gov and you will be amazed how easy it is to understand. Many thanks to Professor Tufte!

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