As the Defense Intelligence Agency prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary in October, the agency hosted its annual DoDIIS conference in Detroit, Michigan last week. Below is a summary of the prevailing trends we observed while attending last week’s event:
Ambiance – this year’s DoDIIS conference was akin to a family reunion, with only a minority of wholly new exhibitors (70 total out of 300). And while the conference’s move from Nashville to Detroit initially puzzled attendees, the switch was an afterthought after the first few happy hours.
Technology Trends – keeping with the times, most conversations revolved around cloud computing and cybersecurity. However, the floor was full of innovative companies with innovative solutions. Given the government’s traditional service-oriented procurement model, we often notice that product-oriented companies avoid these government conferences. Yet the majority of attendees at this particular event were product companies. The immense turn-out of technology-focused firms poses an interesting question – since these companies have already showcased their capabilities to key decision makers in the DoD and IC, why does the government trail the private sector by such a wide margin in leveraging technology, as messaged by Federal CIO Vivek Kundra last week at the White House?
Private-Public Collaboration – One item the event lacked was a meaningful discussion of how private and public entities were going to collaborate, a theme echoed by several of the event’s speakers. One panel of 10 agency CIOs discussed how they were working to not only address their respective agencies’ needs, but also improve inter-agency collaboration and increase participation from CIOs and CTOs in adjacent agencies. While this was refreshing to see and hear, we have still left a larger question unanswered – when will private-public collaboration become more of a reality? In today’s environment we are more dependent on technology than ever before, and we need to continue to push for more opportunities such as this conference to collapse the technology gap between private and public sector.