July 30, 2015 | By Molly Bernhart Walker
Veterans Affairs Department Secretary Bob McDonald voiced his support for open source technology July 30, as he outlined a broad reform plan that includes streamlining information technology and taking a more “holistic” look at customer service.
“We have over 200 databases with customer information. That means if you want to change your address, you have to go to at least nine places to change your address at VA,” said McDonald during a morning keynote July 30 at a conference in Bethesda, Md.
“We want to go to one data backbone, one data inventory,” he said.
McDonald also lamented that the department has 900 1-800 phone numbers for veterans. He’d like to consolidate that down to a single contact line.
McDonald told attendees at the OSERHA Open Source Summit that VA also has hundreds of websites – 14 of which require a username and password login for vets.
“We’re going to be going to a unified digital experience for all veterans,” said McDonald.
All of these digital technologies will be open source, he added.
“There’s no other way to operate in our opinion than open source. And we’re counting on all of you to make that happen. We’re going to be open source and we want to have crowd-sourced innovation,” said McDonald.
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