Congress and the Trump administration may not agree on much, but everyone wants to keep pressing federal agencies to strive for modernization with their information technology systems. In hearings just this month, for example, members of the House Veterans Affairs Committee bore in on VA’s struggle to replace its electronic health record system and to modernize its legacy financial and other administrative systems.
Digital transformation, application modernization, faster service delivery – these terms are being thrown around so much that they’ve become so ubiquitous as to be meaningless.
What is digital transformation after all? For me, the best analogy is Blockbuster versus Netflix. Failing to anticipate the shift to on-demand and streaming entertainment, Blockbuster failed to futureproof its business model. It resisted digital transformation, and paid the price.
The Cyber Shield Act, commissioned by Senator Ed Markey, recommends the establishment of a voluntary program to institute uniform cybersecurity and data benchmarks for consumer devices. The goal of the bill is to improve consumer decision making from the point of purchase, standardized by industry and maintained by manufacturers – similar to an EPA energy rating on appliances, or NHTSA safety rating on automobiles.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has long been a proponent of Building Information Modeling (BIM). In 2010, VA issued its Building Information Lifecycle Vision or “BIM Guide” stating its commitment to move the organization and its service providers to BIM “as effectively and efficiently as possible”.
The White House has recently issued an Executive Order, “Strengthening the Cybersecurity of Federal Networks and Critical Infrastructure.” The Order is broad in scope, and features positive provisions, some unfortunate omissions and a seemingly excessive set of reporting requirements. Let’s take a look.
2016 is/was the year Gartner predicted that DevOps would go mainstream. But a big challenge for government IT operations is how teams can modernize software development while still operating their traditional apps and infrastructure. After all, according to federal CIO Tony Scott, the U.S. government spends 76% of its $88 billion IT budget on operating and maintaining legacy technologies – that’s three times what is spent on modern systems.
According to Federal Computer Week, federal agencies spend almost half of their annual IT budgets on supporting legacy applications. Even more worrying, about 47% of the government’s existing IT applications are based on legacy technology that needs modernizing.
While digital government innovation is on the rise, as evidenced by websites like Healthcare.gov and numerous state and local intra-agency and citizen-centric services, the underlying IT systems required to support these innovations – the middleware – is struggling to keep up.