18F and Federal Beaurocracy

Whatever your opinion is of the current administration, the current Congress, or the current state of the federal government, I don’t think it’s even debatable that the tech changes happening at the federal level of government in recent years are heading in the right direction and absolutely necessary. Having a group in there that’s helping to modernize technology and websites that are total cluster&^%$s with strong guidance, modern standards, and energetic people who want to help is a good thing. A very good thing.

Unless, of course, you’re a federal contractor who relies on the horrible old way to handle business for fat profits while getting nothing done. Then you make claims about opaqueness, which is hilarious.

This story sums up neatly why this protest is laughable:

A report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) noted that in 2015, U.S. agencies spent more than $80 billion on IT expenditures. Out of this sum, about $60 billion — or 75 percent — went to maintain outdated IT systems. Since many of these are supported by established vendors, logic seems to dictate that if modernization continues and groups like 18F increase accessibility to federal contracts, agencies may opt for different vendors. Federal tech procurement processes could see bids from new entrants that not only improve the quantity and diversity of offerings, but also come at lower price points.

Emphasis mine.

Let’s hope these protests are just the gasps of a dying beast that’s been put on its back.

One last non-surprise: One of the corporate members of the group that’s protesting is Microsoft.