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article imageThe White House asked tech giants to help it digitally transform

By James Walker     Aug 5, 2017 in Technology
The White House asked the U.S. tech giants to help federal agencies digitally transform during a private call held last week. The Trump administration is seeking advice from the private sector on how it can make better use of modern technology.
Recode reports that top presidential advisers, including Jared Kushner, were present on the call last Thursday. Companies such as Apple, Amazon, Oracle and Qualcomm listened to the White House's vision on how federal agencies could utilise data and cloud computing.
Governments across the world are known for their reluctance to embrace new technology. The challenge of migrating legacy systems running at a governmental scale is compounded by the restrictive regulations around federal use of IT. The White House is pushing towards more modernisation though, recognising it's at risk of being left behind as the rest of industry adopts digital transformation strategies.
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During the call, Trump's advisors announced the formation of digital "centres of excellence." These facilities will be staffed by teams focused on helping federal agencies make the most of the technology available to them. They'll also be responsible for encouraging and implementing new cloud-based systems.
The White House already has a few similar teams dedicated to improving digital adoption in government. The "centres of excellence" appear to overlap with President Obama's 18F initiative, a group that guides federal agencies when making tech purchasing decisions. It's not yet known how the centres of excellence will align with 18F and other teams.
The centres are the latest progression in Trump's ongoing effort to make government processes more efficient and digitally optimised. He last convened Silicon Valley CEOs back in June for "tech week." The tech leaders have repeatedly called on the President to make it easier to sell commercial solutions to federal agencies, calls they renewed during the latest call.
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Firms such as Apple, Google and Microsoft want to be able to sell their software and cloud services directly to government offices, allowing them to side-step some of the stringent regulations. This would likely involve some form of official accreditation for cloud platforms to demonstrate their compliance with government standards. Although the Trump administration is yet to open new channels for this purpose, the meetings with tech leaders demonstrate a desire for improved communication with digital providers.
The White House has also committed to continuing its work to improve U.S. computer science education. As part of a nationwide effort initiated by President Obama, the Trump administration is looking to expand computer science apprenticeship programs and extend the baseline education provided by schools.
The White House wants the U.S. to be positioned to fully utilise technology. Training the next generation of computer scientists is an essential part of this wider aim.
More about digital transformation, Trump administration, Government, Apple, Google
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