Why IT Modernization Is Important to Your Agency

There are two big factors that make modernization a must.

First, the public sector is running on outdated, legacy IT systems. That causes all sorts of problems. These systems don’t provide the capabilities that government employees need, or that citizens want. They simply don’t provide the performance or functionality of newer technologies.

They’re also harder to secure because they weren’t built to deal with the sophisticated cybersecurity threats that agencies face today. Not to mention, keeping these systems running on outdated hardware and software is expensive.

Plus, they present logistical and operational issues. When IT systems are added to the infrastructure one at a time — as most legacy systems have been — it creates a hodgepodge of disparate and incongruent systems that are harder to maintain and update.

But more than creating logistical hurdles for agencies, outdated IT systems have a big impact on the relationship between government and the people it serves. Citizens expect the same experiences they have with private sector companies when they interact with government. But agencies can’t meet those expectations with outdated technology. And it makes it harder to reach constituents, cultivate civic participation and, ultimately meet mission goals.

But it’s not that government isn’t trying to remedy this problem. Agencies know they need better IT to do their jobs and engage constituents. The problem is that technology modernization — the updating or replacement of legacy systems with new technologies — is a complex undertaking. It requires a solid understanding of your existing infrastructure, as well as the tools and processes that will help it modernize.

According to a recent study conducted by the Ponemon Institute and Splunk, confidence in government is decreasing among internal decisions makers and operations staff. Specifically, 60 percent of respondents said they didn’t have more confidence than they did a year ago when it came to how government handled IT operations. That’s things like upgrading data centers, ensuring performance and availability, and migrating workloads to the cloud.

In the same survey, respondents said the inability to integrate siloed IT systems was the number one challenge — with 72 percent of respondents saying it hindered IT operations and modernization efforts.

Other issues include insufficient resources and the inability to hire staff, lack of insights to quickly pinpoint issues and their root causes, and deal with the migration to the cloud.

But what it really comes down to is visibility. More than 75 percent of public sector organizations said they were unsure or even strongly disagreed that they had end-to-end visibility across their IT systems. This makes it difficult to troubleshoot and resolve issues during outages and foresee potential issues before they impacted the organization.

For most agencies, modernization involves four tactics:

  1. Migrating to cloud computing
  2. Leveraging shared services
  3. Consolidating data centers (and)
  4. Implementing agile development approaches.

To achieve these, agencies have invested in event monitoring tools to gain visibility but then again they are siloed. A plethora of event monitoring tools that are technology or application specific are drowning IT staff in a sea of alerts, many of them false positives.

What they lack is event analytics — the critical capability that can fine tune fidelity and add context so IT staff can prioritize and respond to critical events.

Event analytics offered through a single platform like Splunk, offers monitoring and contextual end-to-end visibility — in real time — to give agencies the confidence that they can deliver services and meet mission objectives. In the rest of this course, we’ll explain how agencies can achieve each of these goals.

In that recent course, The Components of IT Modernization, we explore the moving parts of modernization. Check out the full course here.

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