Renting May Solve Federal IT Woes

WASHINGTON (05/04/2000) - There are times when renting rather than owning makes sense, and for federal information technology, that time has arrived, says George Molaksi.

"IT is no longer a core business of government," Molaski, chief information officer of the U.S. Department of Transportation, recently told a gathering of industry and government IT executives.

The government is having trouble finding qualified IT workers and is "a long way" from providing the kind of IT services its "stakeholders" - the taxpayers - expect, Molaski told a gathering of business and government IT executives Wednesday. Instead of running information technology departments filled with government-owned equipment and government workers, federal agencies should start renting IT services, Molaski told members of the Information Technology Association of America.

In that vein, application service providers - companies that rent out computer applications and services, and sometimes the machines themselves - are an option government agencies should embrace, he said.

By renting services from ASPs, agencies could dramatically reduce the need for the workers who now run computer systems.

Agencies also could overcome the trouble they have keeping up with the rapid rate of change in computer systems and software, Molaski said. By switching to ASPs, agencies could negotiate contracts that require software and hardware to be upgraded as they become available.

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