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Federal Government Modernization: Priorities for the Federal IT Executive

Published: Jan 04, 2018
Author: Mike Maiorana


The Administration’s recent efforts to prioritize IT modernization point to the need for accelerated action inside the federal government. Recently, we’ve seen several actions to support this theory within agencies themselves, with the passing of the Modernizing Government Technology (MGT) Act (included as a provision to the National Defense Authorization Act), and in the American Technology Council’s Final IT Modernization Report.

The Administration’s actions create an opportunity for federal agencies to consider new avenues for how they modernize – from reallocating unused IT funds to cover the costs of future modernization projects, to self-funding modernization work by parking savings from other initiatives. While these IT modernization conversations are not new, these actions indicate that all eyes will now be on agency efforts as they begin to implement more disruptive technologies to improve security and cost control resulting from expected operational efficiencies.  

The industry, including Verizon, has already experienced “modernization” and will continue to do so. Federal IT modernization is the same as ours, and the implementation of new telecommunications contract vehicles like Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) creates another opportunity for industry to share its lessons and support federal agencies as they too embrace IT advancements.

As agencies review these actions, there are some considerations federal IT leaders should prioritize regardless of where they are in the modernization process.

Plant the flag. Many of the federal IT leaders are considering or already implementing innovative Verizon technologies that support modernization. But even with some advancement, the challenge remains. Agency IT leaders still need to find a way to meet the demands of an ever changing technology environment. This is a big challenge that doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all solution, but there are two critical components to keep in mind. 

  • Mobile and IoT: The federal government has begun to integrate mobile and IoT across agencies, and we know that these technologies are here to stay. With that said, Federal IT managers should understand that the consumption expectations that will drive their decision making will change with modernization. Today, factors such as data usage and the people using devices, contribute to consumption. Tomorrow, consumption will be based on the “things” that are connected across an agency – computers, cars, people, and more. IT managers should think ahead to the consumption they anticipate in the future, and as they make critical IT decisions today, ensure the IT can accommodate advancements.
  • Security: The technologies described above require significant changes to agency operations. As agencies use more advanced technologies, IT managers will need to make sure security is embedded in their networks and across all IT. Federal IT managers should consider how they expect to manage their security needs amidst the change, and consider outsourcing security and network management. Security is a full time responsibility that is crucial to maintaining the sensitive data housed by government agencies.

Plan Ahead. Federal IT managers should consider developing a digital transformation roadmap to help them navigate through ongoing digital disruption and adapt to new technologies. Structured planning can be challenging with an ever-changing IT landscape, but any plan of this sort can help decision makers invest in the building blocks of IT that can withstand expected changes, in both the short- and long-term.

This plan should account for three components: a skilled workforce, public-private investment, and a newfound culture of change. Purchasing new IT is one step, but agencies require a trained workforce to help identify an agency’s IT needs and implement the technology. Regular communication and a well-executed plan will help staff see IT modernization as beneficial to their work. Understanding how new technologies will positively impact the agency while supporting its mission, can help garner a smooth transition.

Some call it a much needed evolution. However, we can all agree this is a unique opportunity for the federal government. The end result – effective communications and customer service for the American people – is encouraging. Take advantage of this opportunity, look at your agency’s needs holistically, and embrace real change. This will help your agency prepare for the inevitable digital transformation. 


About the author:

Mike Maiorana is the Senior Vice President for Verizon's Public Sector. In his current role, he is responsible for sales and customer satisfaction for federal, state, and local governments and education customers.