Cloud Computing and Data Analytics Are Net Job Creators

Some recent articles on technology such as this report from The Economist reawaken the old fear of technological unemployment. SIIA thinks this fear is unfounded. Studies show that technology is a net generator of jobs across the entire economy.

Some evidence of this effect comes from studies of cloud computing. One recent report found that “cloud computing is a powerful catalyst for job creation. Although some lower-skilled jobs will be lost because of the higher automation and efficiencies of the cloud, we expect cloud computing to generate hundreds of thousands of net new jobs in the United States and worldwide…”

The job growth related to cloud computing comes from several sources. Existing cloud companies themselves are hiring new workers and if their growth continues on its current trajectory that could generate almost 472,000 jobs in the United States in the next 5 years. In addition, new cloud companies are expected to enter this rapidly growing market and investments in these startup cloud companies could add another 213,000 jobs.

Cloud services also make it possible for new business to form more easily, since they can rent the computer services they need as they scale up. Moreover, existing businesses can use the savings generated by using less expensive cloud computing services to invest in new lines of business and to expand their operations, thereby generating new jobs needed to provide these additional products and services. Together these cost savings could generate hundreds of thousands of jobs beyond those generated directly by expanding cloud computing companies.

As we pointed out in an earlier blog post on this issue, the growing demand for big data analytics services has created hundreds of thousands of job openings. This demand for data scientists is another example of technological job creation.

Economists have long thought that over the long term and viewed from the point of view of the economy as a whole better technology means more and better jobs. The evidence of the effect of cloud computing and big data on job creation confirms this traditional view.

Mark MacCarthy, Vice President, Public Policy at SIIA, directs SIIA’s public policy initiatives in the areas of intellectual property enforcement, information privacy, cybersecurity, cloud computing and the promotion of educational technology. Follow Mark on Twitter at @Mark_MacCarthy

Data Innovation and Intellectual Property Protection Top SIIA Policy Agenda for 2014

SIIA’s Government Affairs Council met to identify the organization’s policy priorities for 2014.  Following the meeting, which took place Wednesday, SIIA announced that it will continue to take a leadership role in promoting the economic and social value of data-driven innovation, and to advocate for policies that enable innovation, rather than creating broad restrictions on the collection and use of data. SIIA also said that a top legislative priority in the year ahead will be enactment of patent litigation reform and legislative measures that assure that digital content providers can control the distribution of their products and services.

As the primary trade association representing software companies and digital content publishers, SIIA actively supports public policies – at the state, national and international level – that create a landscape that encourages innovation, strengthens the U.S. economy by supporting job-creating tech companies, advance the use of technology to improve education, assure effective intellectual property protections, and more.  While promoting the value of data and advancing intellectual property protections sit at the top of SIIA 2014 agenda, the group will focus its efforts in the following critical priorities, including:

  • Patent Reform. SIIA members use patents to protect their products and services, which improves the global competitiveness of our nation.  At the same time, SIIA members increasingly face frivolous and harassing patent infringement suits from Patent Assertion Entities (PAEs) that are diverting resources away from innovation. PAEs exploit flaws in both the patent system and litigation practices and exploit them to their advantage and the disadvantage of the innovative industries, their customers and the public.   It is essential that Congress promptly pass legislation that effectively addresses patent litigation abuse without harming the patent protections that spur innovation.  It is our hope that Congress will act quickly to take strong and effective steps to control abusive patent litigation, as we work to ensure our nation’s patent system continues to spur innovation and economic growth.
  • ECPA Reform. SIIA supports reforming the Electronic Communications Policy Act (ECPA) to create a warrant requirement for all electronic data and communications stored remotely.
  • International Data Flows. SIIA will aggressively promote policies worldwide that facilitate international data flows, ensure transatlantic data continues to flow smoothly, promote greater respect for intellectual property rights, and defend multi-stakeholder Internet Governance.
  • Student Data Protections. Through its Education Division, SIIA will promote policies and practices for safeguarding the privacy and security of personal student information.
  • Government Surveillance. SIIA supports policies that balance critical national security objectives with increased transparency and oversight of surveillance programs.
  • Copyright Reviews. SIIA will monitor the pending domestic and international reviews of copyright law and advocate strong domestic and foreign copyright laws that adequately and effectively protect software and digital content and oppose laws that would unjustly weaken these protections.

The members of the SIIA Government Affairs Council can be found here.

At the conclusion of the meeting, SIIA President Ken Wasch commented:

“SIIA is focusing on economic growth and job creation by supporting policies that promote and protect data-driven innovation.  Our work will involve a wide range of contexts, from education and data analytics to publishing and online information services.

“Recognizing that data is currently one of the biggest drivers of economic opportunity, SIIA will continue to advance the positive uses of data and data analytics.  Importantly, data-driven innovation is not only of advancing economic opportunity and jobs, but also providing tremendous consumer and societal benefits.  This effort is a key theme unifying our work on behalf of members. It is essential that public policy reflects the fact that innovation and business strategies are increasingly driven by data. We are convinced that this can be done in a balanced way that protects and preserves privacy and intellectual property rights.

“A major priority will be supporting the passage of meaningful patent legislation that effectively reduces litigation abuse without harming the patent protections that spur innovation.  We will also support trade agreements and domestic regulations that assure the flow of data across borders and will seek balanced approaches in student privacy and the reform of the U.S. domestic surveillance framework, and long overdue ECPA reform.”

SIIA also announced its specific policy priorities for 2014 in the areas of: technology policy, postal reform intellectual property, international public policy and education technology.
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Following Today’s Oversight Hearing, SIIA Says Sheds Light on Problems of IT Acquisition More Generally

Today’s House Oversight Committee Hearing on the problems facing highlight the continuing challenges with and also with federal IT acquisition and deployment more generally.  If the problems of lead to improved IT acquisition, then there is a bright side to what has otherwise been a difficult situation.

Acquiring and deploying information technology is difficult, and the implementation of a system as complex as is not easy.  There are literally dozens of feeder systems fueling the site, and an equal number of contractors and subcontractors adding to the complexity.

These challenges demonstrate that we need to continue to think creatively about ways to improve federal IT acquisition.  It’s critical that we add flexibility to what is a cumbersome process, keeping in mind that federal acquisition is a rules-based process designed to manage the inherent risk associated with it.

Ideas like those that have been proposed by Chairman Issa in his Federal IT Acquisition Reform legislation would go a long way to improving the process.  SIIA supports Chairman Issa’s efforts to increase the authority of federal CIOs, establish acquisition centers of excellence and make sure our acquisition personnel are properly trained.

Since the launch of the Obama Administration’s 25 Point Plan over 3 years ago, we have made significant progress in focusing attention on this issue but more work is needed.”

SIIA will hold an event next Monday, November 18th, featuring House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA).  “Driving Government Innovation” will provide insight on how technology will make the government more efficient, effective, open and transparent.

In addition to Rep. Issa, the event will feature a panel discussion with industry experts:

  • Doug Bourgeois, VP, Services and Solutions, VMware
  • Mark Forman, Founder, Government Transaction Services and former OMB Administrator for E-Gov
  • John Landwehr, VP, Digital Government Solutions, Adobe
  • Dan Chenok, Executive Director, IBM Center for the Business of Government

Michael Hettinger is VP for the Public Sector Innovation Group (PSIG) at SIIA. Follow his PSIG tweets at @SIIAPSIG. Sign up for the Public Sector Innovation Roundup email newsletter for weekly updates.

Achieving Success with FedRAMP: What CSPs and Government Agencies Need to Know

As part of its federal IT leadership agenda, SIIA partnered with Potomac Forum to host an event, Achieving Success with FedRAMP, yesterday in Washington, DC.  Keynote speaker Dave McClure of GSA, industry leaders, government experts and a representative from the new privatized FedRAMP 3PAO accreditation entity gave their insights on FedRAMP before a standing room-only crowd at the Willard Hotel. Both cloud service providers and government agencies were in attendance to learn best practices and other tips related to getting through the FedRAMP program.

McClure spoke on the lessons learned so far in the FedRAMP process and provided guidance for the future. In a response to a question on modifying the accreditation process to speed it along, McClure stated, “the last thing we’re doing is lowering the bar, there is just too much at stake.” He emphasized that the process is difficult and is meant to be so.  Adding that the “do once, use many times” nature of the certification will save time, money and effort over the long haul.

The industry Panel, moderated by FedRAMP Program Manager Matt Goodrich, consisted of four speakers: James Bowman of Autonomic Resources, the first CSP approved under FedRAMP, Michael Carter of Veris Group and Tom McAndrew of Coalfire, two of the leading 3PAOs and Malek Abdo of Oracle, who’s company is currently in the FedRAMP pipeline. Speaking on the topic of Achieving Success with FedRAMP, each shared their unique experience and lessons learned from their role in the accreditation process. Two topics that received recurring attention throughout the panel discussion were transparency and mindset. All the panelists reiterated the necessity of building a relationship of trust early on with the FedRAMP process, citing extensive delays when companies fail to be fully transparent about certain aspects of their systems. McAndrew said it best, “you’re unique, and so is everybody else.” Attempts by companies to hide their “secret sauce,” as Carter called, it will bring nothing but increased time and cost.

The government panel, moderated by Mike Hettinger Vice President of the Public Sector Innovation Group at SIIA, gave a FedRAMP update. Panelists Maria Roat, Director of the FedRAMP program at GSA and Emery Csulak, Chief Information Security Officer at DHS fielded many technical questions about the program, while talking about the trust the program is developing with industry and government agencies alike, as well as the cultural shift and mindset changes needed for the program to be ultimately successful. When asked to give perspective on the program Csulak stated the “biggest goal was to elevate this conversation around risk.”

Closing out the discussion, Samantha Dizor Carter of the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA) spoke on how the privatized 3PAO accreditation process would be different than how the process was conducted by GSA – most importantly that A2LA will now make on-site visits to potential 3PAOs to ensure they have the resources necessary to effectively participate in the program. Carter also responded to numerous questions about how the transition was progressing and how those 3PAOs that were already in the pipeline would be addressed.

Overall, the exchange of ideas provided industry and government with an opportunity to hear from all of the key players in the FedRAMP process and hopefully walk away with a better understanding of what it takes to achieve success with FedRAMP.

Sabrina Eyob is communications and public policy intern at SIIA. She is a recent graduate of Michigan State University, where she studied Comparative Cultures and Politics, and International Relations. 

Event Tomorrow: Achieving Success with FedRAMP: Best Practices & Lessons Learned

SIIA  and the Potomac Forum today announced that they will host Achieving Success with FedRAMP tomorrow, November 5, from 8 a.m. – 11 a.m. at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel in Washington, D.C.

The SIIA FedRAMP breakfast is open to the media and will begin at 8 a.m. with a keynote address from GSA’s Dave McClure, Associate Administrator in the Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies.

Other confirmed speakers include:

•  Maria Roat, FedRAMP Program Director, GSA

•  Matt Goodrich, Program Manager, GSA

•  James Bowman, Government Compliance Director, Autonomic Resources

•  Michael Carter, Director of FedRAMP and Assessment Services, Veris Group

•  Tom McAndrew, Executive VP, Professional Services, Coalfire

•  Samantha Dizor Carter, Senior Accreditation Officer, American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA)

•  Malek Abdo, Director, Information Assurance, Oracle

See the full agenda and register at:

WHO:                   The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), and the Potomac Forum
:                 Achieving Success with FedRAMP
:                 Tuesday, November 5, 2013 at 8 am – 11 am
:               The Willard Intercontinental Hotel, Washington D.C.

Michael Hettinger is VP for the Public Sector Innovation Group (PSIG) at SIIA. Follow his PSIG tweets at @SIIAPSIG. Sign up for the Public Sector Innovation Roundup email newsletter for weekly updates.

IBM’s Watson Graduates from Winning Jeopardy to Changing Healthcare

Two years ago IBM Watson competed and won on Jeopardy against two of the shows most successful contestants.  Watson was able to achieve this feat by using natural language processing and big data to comprehend the questions and then come up with the correct answer.  Since this initial historic achievement IBM has been working on making Watson work in the real world.  Now Watson is working with Doctors at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) to help the proliferation of medical information and improve health care efficiency and quality. 

Last week I was able to attend a briefing where IBM showcased how Watson is proliferating medical information and improving health care efficiency and quality.  While at this briefing I kept thinking about how this was a perfect real life case study of using big data and how it fit in with SIIA’s recent white paper  Data-Driven Innovation A Guide for Policymakers: Understanding and Enabling the Economic and Social Value of Data.

The briefing was led by Dr. Martin Kohn, the Chief Medical Scientist of IBM and Dr. Mark Kris, the Chief Thoracic Oncology Service at MSKCC.  During the briefing they showed us how Watson is able to use a patient’s record and look at relevant data to come up with a list of potential treatment plans and their odds of being successful.  If important information is missing Watson lets the doctors know what information it needs in order to make a decision.  Over time as the patient has new symptoms or gets back the results of certain tests or treatments or expresses preferences on treatment Watson takes all of these things into consideration when coming up new treatments and their probabilities of success.  Additionally based on the information Watson has received it can diagnose or change the diagnosis of a patient.

Dr. Kris believes that Watson is successful at diagnosing and offering treatments because it looks at everything not just what people believe are important.  The other reason he believes Watson is successful is because it goes about things the way a doctor would such as giving a list of possibilities not one definite solution and the likelihood of various treatments being successful.  Watson has the added ability to look at information collected by doctors in the field around the world and use their cumulative knowledge instead of just relying on what a few specific doctors at that hospital know.  Just like with people Watson is able to learn and remember things so the more patients it works with the better it is able to do in the future. 

While these initial results of transforming Watson from a games show winner into a doctor have been promising there are still many problems they have to work on fixing before using Watson at the hospital becomes a common occurrence.  The two biggest of which are that for Watson to come up with diagnoses and treatments requires it to analyze and store massive amounts of data which is very costly to do at the moment.  The second is that at the moment they need to figure out how to best maximize the use of Watson as it is only capable of working in a narrow field at the moment such as cancer instead of in the broader field of healthcare.  Both Dr. Kohn and Dr. Kris stressed that Watson at the time is a tool that can be used to support or come up with a second opinion on things but is not a substitute for an actual doctor. 

At the moment Watson is a useful tool at the MSKCC but there is a still lot of work that needs to be done before it is able to potentially revolutionize the healthcare industry.  The most important thing is to remember the use of big data to create Data Driven Innovation to create real world benefits is still in the early stages and the best thing we can do is to not put restrictions or limitations on how or why it is used or collected so that we don’t accidentally prevent monumental changes in how we do things from happening.

Ken WaschDenys Emmert is the Public Policy intern at SIIA. He has a degree in marketing and political science from Florida State University.

SIIA Joins Broad Call for Email/Cloud Privacy

 This Thursday the Senate Judiciary Committee will take up legislation to reform the outdated Electronic Communications and Privacy Act (ECPA) to correct the current law’s double-standard that inappropriately provides for a lower level of privacy for communications stored remotely, or “in the cloud.” S.607, Electronic Communications Privacy Act Amendments Act of 2013, is also referred to as the “warrant requirement” because it would level the playing field for law enforcement access to electronic content, setting a warrant as the consistent standard, regardless of how or where the content is stored.  In a show of the broad support for the effort, SIIA joined with a broad group of organizations and companies urging Committee members to support the proposal—alleviating any lingering doubt about the broad support for ECPA reform, the letter brings together such a diverse set interests as the ACLU, Americans for Tax Reform, to the American Library Association and every segment of the technology industry.

Ken WaschDenys Emmert is the Public Policy intern at SIIA. He has a degree in marketing and political science from Florida State University.

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