Over the past year, one of the unanticipated side effects of the pandemic has been the acceleration of digital transformation across the federal government. As many of us transitioned to working from home, agencies had to ensure secure connectivity and look for innovative solutions to better support their mission in this new setting.
Brian Merrick, Deputy Director at the State Department’s Cloud Program Management Office shared that “the mission driver to provide better data, to provide better decision support to senior management has driven a lot of the innovation we’ve been working on.” At the State Department 110,000 workers had to move to teleworking within two weeks. Innovations in cloud technology made a smooth migration possible as well as start “a new way of thinking about how the business interacts with technology and how we better inform senior management and make better decisions in all the programmatic efforts across the agency,” Merrick said.
Nearly a year into the pandemic, what were once considered stopgap or short-term measures have become a new normal, where agencies have a new perspective on service capabilities and their effects on achieving the mission. Kevin Guay, a solutions architect at Affigent, commented that “organizations will have to learn to adapt to this new normal, which means being agile and innovative in order to deliver services to their employees in a timely manner.”
“Digital transformation is not just about the technology,” Guay said. “It’s about the people and how you are going to make their lives easier and their jobs better so they can deliver on the mission objectives of the agency.” Through remote working, agencies must maintain open communication between workers by leveraging technology. This “empowers teams to make decisions to deliver efficiently on mission objectives,” Guay said.
Agencies will use the digital transformation impacts that took place over the past year to decide the best way to capitalize on these capabilities and opportunities in the future. The disruption caused by the pandemic did have at least one positive side effect in how it quickly advanced digital transformation for federal agencies. With these new innovations, agencies were able to continue to deliver on their missions. Moreover, it laid a foundation for future innovation where agencies can optimize their work whether it’s on-prem or in the cloud.
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