A New Era of IT Modernization

What does IT modernization mean to you? What is your take on IT modernization?

That was the question posed to industry leaders at GovLoop’s “Where Collaboration and Digital Transformation Intersect” event,  a half-day session of speakers discussing digital transformation through the cloud held on Thursday.

Panelists included Ted Girard, Vice President, Public Sector, Okta; Seth Engel, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Public Sector DocuSign; John Hickey, Chief Operating Officer, August Schell; and Lance Adams, Federal Sales and Business Development, Intellective.

The IT industry has a lot of definitions for IT modernization, Hickey has pointed out, so a successful starting point can merely be understanding what the definition of what IT modernization actually means to you. If you consider the federal or DoD roadmap, there may be some minor variations, but Hickey said the main question is this: “Can we gain the ability to provide architectures and leverage some of the commercial scale that supports it, resulting in operating IT more effectively at a cheaper cost?”

Girard pointed out that IT modernization is also about being able to take advantage of megatrends, like big data, mobile, and cloud, while delivering efficiencies and security. “And the challenges are shifting,” he said. “Today it’s all about the access to the data. The perimeter of the data centers is changing; it’s all over the place and its not easy to protect that amount of data as it’s all over. Data is everywhere, and that can make IT modernization difficult.”

According to Engel, IT modernization in government isn’t just about the data or technology, however; it’s also about re-evaluating business processes and ways of thinking that may have become outdated. “For example, there 20,000 forms across federal government,” he said. “Surely they’re not used all the time. As we modernize how can we create a way to get rid of these old manual processes? It’s rethinking how we do business, not just the technology.”

The panelists also agreed that government agencies are facing ever-increasing challenges to modernize and engage with citizens and stakeholders through digital channels — but they can’t just flip a switch to become a digital government. Change like that takes new tools, new processes and a new way of thinking. Essentially, they need to transform the way you work.

But with regulations, security concerns and diminishing resources that can be easier said than done.

“In this new IT world that we are in, identity is the new security perimeter. If you get control of that you can better deliver a delightful user experience,” said Girard.

“One of the biggest challenges in IT modernization is security in general,” said Hickey. “As you look to modernize, look at what efficiencies you can find and secure the information you are trying to protect. But don’t try to take on everything at once.”

That’s where cloud content management can help you and your agency. Cloud content management is the combination of centralized, cloud-native content services with advanced security and governance.

“When moving towards IT modernization, organizations still face the same challenges in terms of content,” said Adams. “There’s an overabundance of content sitting in the same systems that are often siloed. Here at Intellective, we work with Box to bridge that gap so content can be shared more easily and more securely.”

Clearly IT modernization in government is not slowing down. Getting your agency cloud-capable and ready can seem like a daunting challenge. But using secure, innovative cloud solutions that can integrate with other systems can save agencies time and worry over performance, compatibility and security.

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