Thursday, November 15, 2018

John Frazier, COO of Synoptek, Nominated to Join Technology Services Provider Advisory Board

IRVINE, Calif., Nov. 15, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- John Frazier, Chief Operating Officer of Synoptek, a globally recognized managed IT services and cloud services provider, was nominated and has officially joined the Advisory Board of Technology Services Industry Association (TSIA), the leading association for today's technology services organization. John now represents Managed Services on the Advisory Board of Technology Services Providers.

Synoptek provides - IT Management, Cloud Hosting, Managed Network Security, and IT Consulting services.

John carries over 27 years of experience in managed services, IT operations, security, and forensics between his positions held at Deloitte, JDA Software Group, Inc., Texas Instruments, and the United States Air Force. A few of his past accomplishments consist of building and delivering client differentiation, transforming software delivery of companies from on-premise into cloud-based, serving as a supervisory agent focused on cybercrime, and conducting world-class customer service to lead and influence his global teams. As COO of Synoptek, John is responsible for delivering the vast technology services to its large portfolio of diversified clients, which include supporting large customer sales, enhancing routine operations and evolving operational process, architecture and tools.

The Technology Services Industry Association is a research and advisory firm that aims to help technology companies grow strategically through leveraged services. The firm's profitable growth-based consulting is rooted in its data-driven insight and its community of over 35,000 technology service leaders.

Jeff Connolly, co-chair of the Technology Services Provider Advisory Board and Senior Director of TSIA's Managed Services practice, says, "John brings decades of senior-level technology services expertise to the table and we are excited to have him join our board."

As part of the TSIA Advisory Board, John is responsible for:

  • Counseling TSIA Research Executives by providing feedback and guidance on studies and services, conference content and speakers, and all other programs
  • Enhancing TSIA research initiatives and programs by participating in benchmarking procedures and serving on judging panels for industry awards and certifications
  • Acting as a community leader by advocating technology best practices

Synoptek, a global systems integrator and full-service IT consulting and management firm, is rapidly expanding in the managed service provider space. Its recent acquisition of Indusa broadens the firm's AI, BI and professional services reach to complete the comprehensive services approach and guide its clients' navigation of digital transformation and challenges from the world's most competitive and disruptive technologies and services.

"Being asked by the TSIA to serve on the Advisory Board was a valuable opportunity for me to both incorporate the strong thought leadership we believe in here at Synoptek and help shape industry thinking, direction, and movement," John Frazier adds. "My new role with TSIA will also provide me with the advantage of leveraging its research-based insight to improve the strategic, operational and financial performance of Synoptek."

About Synoptek

Synoptek provides information technology management services, consulting and IT leadership to organizations worldwide. The firm manages and operates IT infrastructure with 24/7 operations, automated toolsets, and highly skilled technologists. Synoptek has been repeatedly recognized as one of the Top 100 Cloud Services Providers by Talkin' Cloud and one of the Top Managed Services Providers by MSPMentor, among other honors from Inc. Magazine, Deloitte and more. For more information, contact Synoptek.

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UWF partners with IHMC to develop first intelligent systems and robotics Ph.D. in Florida

The University of West Florida has partnered with the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition located in downtown Pensacola to develop a doctoral program in intelligent systems and robotics. The program will be the first of its kind in Florida and one of only a few in the nation.

“We are very excited about this new doctoral degree program,” said UWF President Martha D. Saunders. “The program brings together the strengths of UWF engineering and computer science programs with the expertise of a world-class research center, IHMC. It’s a game changer.”

The new doctoral program will begin Fall 2019 and aligns with the University’s strategic vision for research that impacts Northwest Florida’s economic development and technology enterprise. It will serve the manufacturing, health care, defense and other high-tech industries, providing critical support to high-demand career fields.

“I’ve envisioned a program like this for a long time,” said Ken Ford, director and co-founder of IHMC. “It will attract top young talent from the world. This is such a great move not only for UWF and IHMC, but also for Pensacola and the state.”

According to a 2012 study by the National Robotics Initiative, robotics technology holds the potential to transform the future of the U.S. and is expected to become as ubiquitous over the next decades as computer technology is today. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook projects a 19 percent growth rate for computer and information technology research scientists over the next 10 years.

“The national demand for experts in intelligent systems and robotics is large, yet universities and technology firms such as Google, Microsoft and Amazon struggle to find people with the expertise and skills their organizations need,” said Dr. Mohamed Khabou, interim program director. “In a Spring 2018 survey of UWF engineering and computer science students, 66 percent of the 149 respondents indicated their interest in this new program.”

The program will attract talented students from around the world, as it will be one of only a few in the nation, joining institutions like Carnegie Mellon, University of Pittsburgh and Georgia Institute of Technology.

“This program sets a precedent as the first of its kind in the state,” said Dr. Jaromy Kuhl, interim dean of the Hal Marcus College of Science and Engineering. “The groundbreaking program will focus solely on research and build upon our excellent computer science and engineering programs. Students will flourish by learning from award-winning IHMC scientists, and graduates will be highly competitive in a job market with a growing demand for experts in intelligent systems and robotics. UWF and IHMC will educate the next generation of researchers to develop innovative technology that combines human and machine elements.

The Doctorate in Intelligent Systems and Robotics will train the next generation of professionals who will develop technologies combining human and machine elements through hands-on, leading-edge research – leveraging the proximity and world-class talent at UWF and IHMC.

A not-for-profit research institute of the State University System, IHMC is a pioneer of technologies aimed at extending human capabilities through a unique approach combining computer science, cognitive psychology, neuroscience, engineering, medical sciences and related disciplines.

“UWF is blessed to have such a high-caliber institute nearby, and establishing an official partnership with them to help launch this new Ph.D. program is a win-win for both institutions,” Khabou said.

To learn more about the Hal Marcus College of Science and Engineering at UWF, please visit For additional information about IHMC, please visit

Office of Information Technology

Join the Office of Information Technology for the grand opening of the Digital Experience Lab (DEx Lab).

Immerse yourself in the latest virtual reality technology and experiment with other innovative learning tools in the Office of Information Technology’s newest collaborative space - the Digital Experience (DEx) Lab. Designed to offer students, faculty, and staff a modernized and engaging learning and teaching experience, the DEx lab will officially open to the UTSA community on Wednesday, Nov. 28th

Join us for light refreshments and demos of several of the technologies that are available to enhance your digital teaching and learning experience at UTSA.

Departments Need to Improve Chief Information Officers' Review and Approval of IT Budgets

What GAO Found

The departments GAO reviewed—the Departments of Energy (DOE), Health and Human Services (HHS), Justice (DOJ), and the Treasury (Treasury)—took steps to establish policies and procedures that align with eight selected Office of Management and Budget (OMB) requirements intended to implement information technology (IT) acquisition reform legislation (commonly referred to as the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act, or FITARA) and to provide the chief information officer (CIO) visibility into and oversight over the IT budget. For example, of the eight OMB requirements, all four departments had established policies and procedures related to the level of detail with which IT resources are to be described in order to inform the CIO during the planning and budgeting processes. Agencies varied, however, as to how fully they had established policies and procedures related to some other OMB requirements, and none of the four departments had yet established procedures for ensuring that the CIO had reviewed whether the IT portfolio includes appropriate estimates of all IT resources included in the budget request. (See table.)

Evaluation of Selected Departments' Policies and Procedures for Key Information Technology (IT) Budgeting Requirements

Selected Office of Management and Budget (OMB) requirement





1. Establish the level of detail with which IT resources are to be described in order to inform the Chief Information Officer (CIO) during the planning and budgeting processes.

2. Establish agency-wide policy for the level of detail with which planned expenditures for all transactions that include IT resources are to be reported to the CIO.

3. Include the CIO in the planning and budgeting stages for programs that are supported with IT resources.

4. Include the CIO as a member of governance boards that inform decisions regarding all IT resources, including component-level governance boards.

5. Document the processes by which program leadership works with the CIO to plan an overall portfolio of IT resources.

6. Ensure the CIO has reviewed and approved the major IT investments portion of the budget request.

7. Ensure the CIO has reviewed IT resources that are to support major program objectives and significant increases and decreases in IT resources.

8. Ensure the CIO has reviewed whether the IT portfolio includes appropriate estimates of all IT resources included in the budget request.

●= The department provided documentation that satisfied all of the OMB requirement. ◑= The department provided documentation that satisfied most, but not all of the OMB requirement. ○= The department could not provide documentation that satisfied any of the OMB requirement.

Departments: DOE = Department of Energy, HHS = Department of Health and Human Services, DOJ = Department of Justice, Treasury = Department of the Treasury

Source: GAO analysis of department data. | GAO-19-49

Where the departments had not fully established policies and procedures, it was due, in part, to having not addressed in their FITARA implementation and delegation plans how they intended to implement the OMB requirements. Until departments develop comprehensive policies and procedures that address IT budgeting requirements established by OMB, they risk inconsistently applying requirements that are intended to facilitate the CIO's oversight and approval of the IT budget.

Departments varied in the extent to which they could demonstrate implementation of key IT budgeting requirements when developing fiscal year 2017 funding requests for sampled investments. Specifically, while DOJ demonstrated that it had fully implemented the selected requirements for the majority of the investments GAO sampled, HHS and Treasury partially demonstrated implementation for a majority of the sampled investments, and DOE could not demonstrate implementation for the majority of the sampled investments. For example, DOE, HHS, and Treasury were not able to fully show that their CIOs had reviewed whether estimates of IT resources included in the budget request were appropriate for two of their respective departments' largest fiscal year 2017 IT investments. Departments often could not demonstrate that they had implemented selected IT budgeting requirements at the investment level because they had not established comprehensive policies and procedures that required them to do so. As a result, departments could not show that CIOs were sufficiently involved in planning fiscal year 2017 IT expenditures at the individual investment level.

All four selected departments lacked quality assurance processes for ensuring their IT budgets were informed by reliable cost information. Specifically, the selected departments did not have IT capital planning processes for (1) ensuring government labor costs have been accurately reported, (2) aligning contract costs with IT investments, and (3) utilizing budget object class data to capture all IT programs. This resulted in billions of dollars in requested IT expenditures without departments having comprehensive information to support those requests, and nearly $4.6 billion in IT contract spending that was not explicitly aligned with investments in selected departments' IT portfolios. This was due to a lack of processes for periodically reviewing data quality and estimation methods for government labor estimates, as well as a lack of mechanisms to cross-walk IT spending data in their procurement and accounting systems with investment data in their IT portfolio management systems. In August 2017, OMB developed a new approach of using a standard set of categories to group IT spending that, if properly implemented, has the potential to provide departments and CIOs enhanced visibility into IT costs across the portfolio. Nevertheless, until departments establish processes for assessing or otherwise ensuring the quality of relevant IT cost data used to inform their IT budgets, department CIOs will have less assurance that their budget includes appropriate and comprehensive estimates of IT resources.

Why GAO Did This Study

In December 2014, Congress enacted FITARA, which was intended to improve covered agencies' acquisitions of IT. FITARA also provided an opportunity to strengthen the authority of CIOs to provide needed direction and oversight of agencies' IT budgets.

GAO was asked to review whether CIOs' IT budgeting practices are consistent with FITARA and OMB's implementing guidance. This report addresses the extent to which selected federal agencies (1) established policies and procedures that address IT budgeting requirements, (2) could demonstrate that they had developed fiscal year 2017 IT budgets for sampled investments consistent with FITARA and OMB guidance, and (3) implemented processes to ensure that annual IT budgets are informed by reliable cost information.

GAO selected four departments to review. These departments had the two highest and the two lowest average initial selfassessments scores of compliance with OMB's FITARA guidance, as well as a fiscal year 2017 IT budget of at least $1 billion. Within each of the departments, GAO also selected the component agencies with the largest fiscal year 2017 IT budget. For each selected department and component agency, GAO reviewed relevant IT budget policies and procedures, analyzed a sample of major and non-major investment proposals against key OMB requirements, and determined whether selected departments captured government labor costs, among other things.

What GAO Recommends

GAO is making 43 recommendations to the eight selected departments and component agencies to address gaps in their IT budgeting policies and procedures, demonstrate implementation of OMB requirements, and establish procedures to ensure IT budgets are informed by reliable cost information. HHS, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, DOJ, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Internal Revenue Service agreed with our recommendations. DOE partially agreed with one recommendation and agreed with the other recommendations made to it, as well as with the recommendations made to its component agency—the National Nuclear Security Administration. Treasury neither agreed nor disagreed with the recommendations.

For more information, contact Carol C. Harris at (202) 512-4456 or

Dent Wizard Names New Vice President of Information Technology

Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center recognizes health information technology staff

OGDENSBURG -- Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center recently celebrated National Health Information Week by recognizing the hospital’s health information technology staff.

Healthcare information technology has become increasingly advanced with its ever-growing range of capabilities, responsible for collecting, managing, and integrating the large volume of digital clinical, financial, and operational information generated daily, with the aim of enhancing safety, effectiveness, and efficiency.

Shown in the photo are some of CHMC’s information technology team: seated in front, Jim Flood and Mark Hall; standing in back, Greg Robb, Ben Smith, Patrick Nelson, Doug Hadlock, Aaron Langley, Ben Loveless, Kim Colburn, Chris Lowery, Janice Rogers, and Margaret Smith.

BRIEF-Alibaba Health Information Technology Announces Strategic Cooperation Agreement With Alipay

Nov 15 (Reuters) - Alibaba Health Information Technology Ltd :



John Frazier, COO of Synoptek, Nominated to Join Technology Services Provider Advisory Board

IRVINE, Calif. , Nov. 15, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- John Frazier, Chief Operating Officer of Synoptek , a globally recognized managed IT service...