Scott Finke, IT specialist for the Centers of Excellence at the Department of Agriculture, discusses moving to the next phase of the IT modernization program, and how it has impacted the department’s technology approach.
The Department of Agriculture’s Centers of Excellence are quickly becoming the gold standard for government IT modernization. Now that the program is entering phase two, lessons from the first phase are helping to make the model more sustainable. Scott Finke, IT specialist for the Centers of Excellence at USDA, likened the CoE program to a road trip. “Eventually they’ll be turning the keys of the car over to us within USDA to continue to manage and maintain those operations,” Finke said. “I was in the passenger seat of the car working with the lead from the General Services Administration who was helping us analyze the data from what we were learning as we went along, and now here as phase two starts, the car is stopped at a traffic light and we’re switching seats.” Finke said that the results from USDA’s Centers of Excellence have changed the way IT is approached at USDA, and will continue to do so in the future. “I think when we look across the breadth of the Centers of Excellence, there are so many changes coming forth for the way IT is done within USDA,” said Finke. “There are so many different activities going on at the same time, I think that keeping the IT specialists within the different USDA component agencies engaged on what’s happening so they can see the opportunities that are coming in the future, and see how they can contribute the best way.”