One of the biggest challenges facing federal CIOs is the need to modernize legacy networks and replace aging infrastructure. If that wasn’t enough of a challenge, the demand for IT modernization comes during a period when federal budgets are flat and unlikely to receive a much needed boost. Not only do these outdated systems make it difficult to drive mission success, but these outdated systems also threaten our government’s ability to protect data, because they are not equipped to withstand today’s highly sophisticated cyber threats.
In a recent article for Federal Technology Insider, John Dancy, CSRA’s Chief Information Officer, shares how an understanding of the situation at hand, plus some strategic investments, and leveraging the experience of the IT community can help an agency transition from legacy systems to next-generation technologies and drive mission success without breaking the budget.
Members of Congress have used alarming phrases to describe today’s federal IT infrastructure, expressing mounting fears about the ability of outdated systems to deal with cybersecurity breaches. While some agencies have embraced moving to the cloud, most lag behind, and it’s the latter group that will need help in transitioning their systems to a Next-Generation IT environment. That said, it is encouraging to observe Rep. Steny Hoyer’s, (D-Md.) commitment to federal IT modernization. He introduced the $3 billion IT Modernization Fund (ITMF), which passed unanimously in the House last week, and will surely be the quickest and most effective fix for agency tech woes. The fund will also prepare the way for agencies to push forward with IT modernization and enable agencies to build on the “successes of FITARA.”
Hoyer’s efforts have been reinforced by the recent release of GSA’s M3 – Modernization and Migration Management – Framework. With an emphasis on collaboration between agencies, GSA’s plan provides organizations with the tools they need – including a six-phase approach to modernization and migrations, an investment review protocol, and a playbook – to successfully retire legacy systems and migrate to new services and infrastructure.
It’s clear that while all the funding needed for IT modernization might not be in place right now, agencies are being encouraged to start the process and leverage the funding they do have to initiate legacy systems retirement. But where should agency CIOs begin their IT modernization process? CSRA’s process provides some interesting perspectives.
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