One of the surprising outcomes of the COVID-19 pandemic has been how quickly it escalated digital transformation and agency resiliency for government agencies. To drive mission success, agencies had to rethink IT system resiliency in terms of how they supported remote work environments. In doing so, agencies invested in hardware and cloud computing services to support telework.
The ability to adapt, adjust, and reprocess is even more important when it comes to resiliency. With remote workers depending on home utilities, including internet access, building resilience through the cloud became essential according to the Bouncing Back From Crisis eBook.
Resilient organizations need to have the ability to swiftly adapt their IT systems to take in new information and execute response solutions as changes occur. Agencies that had already begun their IT the modernization journey faced fewer challenges when the pandemic was declared and were able to adapt and overcome obstacles more easily, according to the eBook.
An agency’s ability to adjust quickly – that is scale up or down – comes from moving data, applications, and infrastructure to the cloud. Suzette Kent, who was federal CIO at the beginning of the pandemic, said “scalable, cloud-based, easily configured commercial solutions in so many cases helped us move quickly” as the situation unfolded.
While scalability is important, the ability to reprocess was necessary as the pandemic slowed supply chain workflow. The eBook explains how an example of this can be seen as “without warning, the supply chain workflow becomes disrupted and can no longer function effectively. It can’t deliver personal protective equipment or a critical digital resource, such as licenses for VPN, due to a health crisis or some other unanticipated disruption.” The organizations that were unable to reprocess their supply chain workflow lacked resiliency, and they had to quickly find ad hoc solutions to continue operations. Through relying on flexibility, agility, and scalability, agencies were able to be resilient and successful throughout the pandemic.
Another way to bolster resilience is through reducing complexity by moving on-premises capabilities to the cloud. This is because “complexity is the natural antagonist of resilience. It breeds fail points, rigidity, security breaches, and system slowdowns.” Migrating to the cloud could help, strengthening enterprise IT, data analytics, system visibility, cybersecurity, and mobility. All this increases resiliency.
With so much uncertainty still ahead in 2021, agencies must continue to prioritize preparedness. While the pandemic will eventually subside, the impact of climate change on continuity and mission success will likely be the next challenge for federal agencies.. By moving to the cloud agencies prioritize resiliency, reprocessing, and scalability and ensure they will be able to deliver on the mission and bounce back, regardless of the challenges they face.
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