What do we mean by IT modernization?
Technically, IT modernization is the continuous evolution of an organization’s application and infrastructure software, with the goal of aligning IT with the organization’s ever-shifting business strategies.
For government agencies, that means continuously improving your IT infrastructure, while aligning IT with business strategies and supporting your mission.
Lots of things are happening in government today to spur IT modernization. Some are policy related, others point to agencies’ outdated IT environments and strained budgets.
On the policy front, the Trump administration is pushing for modernization. The Office of American Innovation, or OAI, has drafted a modernization plan. As part of that, the administration is creating four centers of excellence to help agencies realize how to modernize smarter with things like cloud and data transparency.
Another factor spurring IT modernization are agency IT needs to meet missions. To do this, agencies must:
- Deliver a better customer experience
- Improve cybersecurity
- Standardize platforms, and
- Make better use of their IT budgets.
Citizens and agencies alike have set a high bar for government services. They demand the same reliable and user-friendly experience from federal agencies that they get from social media and e-commerce sites. Customer experience has to be a priority for government IT modernization efforts.
Cybersecurity is also critical. Outdated systems are riddled with security vulnerabilities. And cybercriminals know it. They attack networks with an arsenal of modern tools and techniques to find a way in. Cybersecurity has to be baked into IT modernization at every phase – from initial planning to execution to monitoring.
The easiest way to ensure visibility is to reduce the complexity of your infrastructure. Simplified, standards-based systems provide the interoperability and stability required for today’s agile operations.
Finally, agencies want to stretch their budgets and get the best value from their investments. But, that’s difficult with legacy IT systems. In 2017, $82 billion was budgeted for IT spending. In the end, about 78 percent — $63 billion — will have been spent maintaining old IT systems. That money could be better spent on innovation, security, and the delivery enhanced services.
The need for newer, better, faster IT isn’t slowing down. The number of cloud applications in use is soaring, as are the number of mobile and Internet of Things, or IoT, devices. As of the latest count, there will be 55 billion connected devices in use by 2020. The cloud, and the devices that connect to it, will need more and more network bandwidth.
It’s easy to see why you need IT modernization, but what exactly goes into it?