The following post is an excerpt from GovLoop's recent guide, The Top 30 Government Innovations of 2017.
An interview with Chris Borneman, Vice President and CTO, Software AG Government Solutions
Today, most government organizations are pursuing digital solutions to meet new citizen and employee demands. Citizens want the same accessibility and ease of use in government solutions as they get from the private sector, and they want customer service, delivered anytime, anywhere. Also, public servants increasingly expect their government jobs to have the same perks and efficiencies as jobs in the private sector – things like “bring your own device” programs, the ability to telework, and new platforms to make working easier.
Collectively, the effort to meet these rising expectations is called digital transformation. Digital transformations in government are not easy or automatic — they are a journey. Still, tools and methods are available to accelerate strategic planning and execution, while providing a means to improve user experiences and maximize resources. So how can an agency skillfully achieve digital transformation, and what tools do they need on their path?
To learn more about how an innovation engine that connects cloud services can help the public sector with digital transformation, GovLoop spoke with Chris Borneman, Vice President and CTO of Software AG Government Solutions, a company that takes a “special forces” approach to solving complex IT challenges quickly and efficiently for the federal government.
In particular, Software AG offers their webMethods Integration Platform to help government integrate systems on-premises, in the cloud or in a hybrid combination.
“webMethods is an innovation engine for connecting all of your various internal, external systems, and cloud services together,” Borneman explained. “It helps government do that in a way that’s fast, clear, simple, and wraps in the right levels of security and scalability.”
webMethods has a series of capabilities that can accelerate digital transformation in government. In fact, Software AG recently released a report highlighting 10 essential innovations that webMethods can help implement for the public sector: microservices; DevOps; bi-modal IT; cloud migration; streamlining analytics; machine learning; APIs; the Internet of Things; dynamic apps; and big data.
In terms of what the public sector is dealing with, Borneman said some of the biggest opportunities can be seen in better managing microservices and APIs.
Conceptually, a microservice is a portion of a complex application that is a discrete amount of self-contained business functionality, meaning the run-time server, the configuration and the business logic are deployed as a single unit. These units can be developed, tested, deployed, upgraded, retired and so on without having to deploy the entire application at the same time. Additionally, microservices can scale up or out individually as needed.
“Selecting the right integration platform for microservices upfront can help you reduce long-term maintenance costs and make your whole initiative a success,” Borneman said. “Traditionally technology deployment in the public sector has been monolithic and deployed as one large system. Microservices encourages flexibility, speed and agility in deployment.”
APIs are also a critical tool for the public sector. An application program interface (API) is a set of routines, protocols, and tools for building software applications – in short, it specifies how software components should interact. They are the tools that let you easily expose your unique data and services in web apps, mobile apps and other connected devices. In government and in the private sector, APIs have become the standard way of connecting applications, data and devices, providing services directly to partners and creating new models for doing business.
“Additionally, APIs enable you to capitalize on the Internet of Things (IoT), hybrid integration— and mobile-first initiatives, all of which have growing importance in the public sector,” Borneman said. “But when you put your APIs out there, it’s critical to retain control and manage them effectively – there’s a security and scalability concern.”
Software AG’s webMethods API Gateway enables agencies to securely expose your APIs to third-party developers, partners and citizens for use in web, mobile and IoT applications. With webMethods API Gateway government can easily create APIs, define Service Level Agreement (SLA) policies, and publish APIs to a portal.
When it comes to the trends of digital transformation, such as microservices, APIs, and more, Software AG provides guidance to government customers.
“Not only have we created the tools to help you create your own services, but we also created the tools to help you consume those services so you have your full monitoring, your full traceability, your full configuration management, and full security,” Borneman said.
Read the full Top 30 Innovations of 2017 guide, here.