While some agencies’ missions are to keep the nation secure or ensure the reliability of the nation’s infrastructure, most federal agencies are on a mission to deliver vital services to citizens. If you think about it, all citizens interact with at least one agency, typically the IRS, on a regular basis but many citizens interact with numerous agencies, including the Social Security Administration, the Department of Health and Human Services, Veterans Affairs, and the USDA, far more frequently. With demand growing for citizen-facing services to be delivered in the field and via digital mechanisms to keep pace with how the private sector delivers services, agencies are struggling to keep up.
Keeping pace with the demand for more digital services is putting strain on agency budgets that are already tapped out — and at a time when the outlook for any significant increase in funding is grim, shared Jason Adolf Industry Practice Leader, Federal at Appian. Adolf also said that a secondary factor for federal agencies is that historically their track record of delivering services via innovative technologies has been hampered by the time to acquire and deploy new solutions. “It’s not unusual for a solution to have become obsolete by the time it reaches the end user in a federal environment,” Adolf noted.
In the face of these obstacles, the White House recently released an executive order stating “the federal government must transform and modernize its information technology and how it uses and delivers digital services.” But, in order to avoid going down the same path with slow acquisition and deployment cycles resulting in obsolete IT solutions, agencies need to effect a fundamental transformation in how they approach IT modernization.
Driving these changes as part of an overall digital transformation strategy will allow agencies “to integrate and consolidate multiple vendor applications and create the opportunity for new capabilities to be delivered more quickly, cost-effectively, and without the curse of immediate obsolescence,” said Adolf. The idea of a digital transformation platform using Application Platform-as-a-Service (aPaaS) options removes the need for agencies to choose between status quo and innovation and enables them to move forward, quickly, to deliver what’s best for their agency and, ultimately, their constituents. Moreover, aPaaS options for application development come with a number of benefits that ultimately reduce operations and maintenance spending.
Looking to learn more about aPaas and other digital transformation tools? You can download GovLoop’s Digital Transformation Executive Brief here.