73% of IT leaders believe that centralized/integrated technology systems must be a priority.
Economic activities are taking place digitally constituting great challenges for the IT department. The IT department has to not only oversee the daily computer operations, monitoring of communications and networks, keeping up with compliances etc., but work toward transformation and innovation too. For the same reason, IT modernization is slowly taking precedence for business and IT leaders to meet their business goals and keep ahead of the competition.
Why is IT modernization important:
With frequent changes in technology, the systems need to be changed/upgraded too. Systems that tend to just keep up, can be vulnerable and left behind fast. The need for IT modernization or integration of systems is for achieving goals, reducing costs, improving performance and operational efficiencies. With startups releasing products and applications with newer features in the market at a great speed, it is no wonder that larger businesses and their business leaders too have felt the need to push the efforts towards IT modernization and drive their businesses with agility, security, and efficacy.
Here are a few reasons which back IT modernization:
Efficiency: If IT infrastructure/data is decentralized, it is difficult to track, protect, supervise and manage it. Cloud implies cost-effectiveness, innovation, and speed; hence must be integrated with the IT infrastructure augmenting connectivity and access. Integration of cloud in the IT infrastructure can readily ensue via the Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) while keeping security and efficacy intact. Through iPaaS, data can move securely and faster. This allows employees to concentrate, anticipate and solve issues with clarity due to them having operational recognition and control. It is advised to develop a data management strategy.
Security: It is vital to have complete control and visibility of data within the IT infrastructure. The movement of data within and outside the organization’s network and its usage by employees determine decisions. In decentralized structures, it is difficult to secure data leading to non-compliance at times.
Agility: The existing infrastructure must handle a responsive organizational environment. Data transfers must be speedy and efficient in organizations so they can stand out from competitors. In an enterprise data management strategy, a robust but flexible infrastructure is the key to working swiftly.
IT modernization steps
IT modernization includes a gamut of strategies such as planning, alignment with goals, and understanding loopholes while having a partner to make it a reality.
Assemble and modernize: It is imperative for organizations to take inventory of their applications and the infrastructure associated with it. Mobile users access data from anywhere at any time, and also generate data, hence organizations must deploy software-defined infrastructure and comprise a data center infrastructure to scale up.
Automate: Updating application infrastructure is a vital step in modernization. Manual steps which can stifle growth and increase delays/errors must be replaced with automation. Compliances must be followed with respect to provisioning, distribution, and scheduling. In this process, APIs must be mapped to pre-defined policies; and automatic allocation must occur in resources, tracking utilization etc. while ensuring standard repeatable processes.
Measure and examine: System parameters must be identified which can be used and metrics which should be monitored and reported. Through repeated monitoring of these metrics, deviations can be identified, vulnerabilities understood and rectified before any errors occur. These metrics ensure that the infrastructure and applications run smoothly adding to productivity. Proactive log analytics assists in determining issues which help the team in responding to failures before they occur.
Audits: When tools, technologies, and systems are introduced in the organization, audits are required. They are a must for security procedures, data lifecycle (available and recoverable at all times with minimal losses), and data governance. Modern data centers improve systems availability while lowering costs.
IT modernization’s implementation must be in phases with a partner – identification of new teams, technology, and new processes. Once successful, these services can then be scaled along with other new initiatives, and measurable benefits be gained.
Government’s benefits from IT modernization
75-80% of IT budget is spent on operations and maintenance, leaving very room for innovation and modernization. The need is to push for modernization. Outdated infrastructure also gives the government a negative perception from its citizens. Hence, digital services must be enhanced while keeping costs low for citizens, for the services provided.
The federal government must invest in new applications/services for its citizens by using the latest technology. Using big data and analytics – programs in public safety, justice, reducing cybercrime, disaster response improvement, or streamlining other processes can be supported by an effective government. Automation through the artificial intelligence of simple questions can allow the agency employees to focus on other complicated matters.
So how can the government provide highly agile, secure and flexible services through a robust infrastructure? While data can assist in taking decisions, cloud can be used for focusing on mission related decisions. Agencies must move the applications to cloud (using DevOps and agile methodologies). Also, through application modernization, codes can be re-hosted, new programs developed, and agile development to join dissimilar systems together. APIs can be used and applied to data sets to assist in new development. These systems will ensure that needs of the citizens are met faster in conjunction with safety, while providing high quality of goods and services.
The Modernizing Government Act (MGT), passed by the bill is waiting for consideration from the Senate. “It would place $250 million fund managed by the General Services Administration and overseen by the Office of Management and Budget, that agencies can tap into for modernization for projects with cybersecurity challenges, can move to other shared services or are expensive to maintain.” It is time the government works with private partners to begin transformation, improve services and efficiencies.
Listen to a few leaders speaking on IT modernization in the federal government: