Technology Priorities for Federal IT Modernization
January 28th, 2020 By TechnoMile
Information technology plays a vital role in helping the government deliver essential services and information to a public that has growing expectations in the digital era. However, due to the government’s aging IT infrastructure, federal systems are becoming obsolete, more costly to support, and more vulnerable to security breaches. As a result, federal agencies spend an increasing portion of their IT budget on upgrading and securing these systems, limiting their ability to invest in newer digital, cyber, and cloud technologies —and better prepare for emerging 5G networks.
So why has the federal government held on to its aging infrastructure and legacy systems for so long? According to Gartner, legacy systems are “information systems that may be based on outdated technologies, but are critical for day-to-day operations.” To avoid disruption, the government has invested time and money into the maintenance and support of aging systems, rather than migrate to newer technologies. There comes a point, however, when the value of transitioning to new systems to drive growth and new services far outweighs the benefits of staying on outdated systems. The longer they remain on and continue to support legacy systems, the further they will fall behind current technology.
Also, adhering to past federal IT acquisition models—where individual agencies purchased IT goods and services independently—has resulted in a fractured federal IT landscape and prevented the government from maximizing its purchasing power and efficiencies through consolidated buying.
To address these challenges and to update its aging infrastructure, Congress signed into law The Modernizing Government Technology Act in 2017. Key goals of the Federal IT Modernization Act are to move to network modernization and consolidation and the use of shared services across agencies. Consolidation will help agencies realize economies of scale and avoid duplicative investments. IT modernization will also enable agencies to automate their processes and more easily adopt newer technologies for cloud, data analytics, machine learning, natural language processing, artificial intelligence, and more.
The push towards federal IT modernization encompasses a wide range of strategies and technologies. These technology priorities are outlined in the whitepaper “Federal IT Modernization and What It Means for Government Contractors.” This whitepaper looks at how the government is prioritizing IT spending and provides links to resources for more information.
Even though the Federal IT budget has been relatively flat year over year, there is an opportunity for government contractors that understand the goals and drivers of federal IT modernization and can focus their efforts on the growth areas that better position their organizations to win more federal contracts.