It is no longer the case that agencies ask if or when they should modernize their IT environment. IT modernization is presently a must for every agency in order to successfully achieve their missions. At the latest Federal Executive Forum, Dr. Raj Iyer, Chief Information Officer, US Army, Dominic Cussatt, Acting Chief Information Officer at the Department of Veterans Affairs, Heidi Myers, Deputy Chief Information Officer at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Nicholas Speece, Snowflake’s Sales Engineering Manager, Rob Carey, President of Cloudera Government Solutions, and Scott Andersen, Verizon Federal’s Principal Solutions Architect came together to discuss IT modernization priorities and goals for the coming years.
Andersen commented that one of the biggest changes resulting from IT modernization is “the reality that more and more people walk away from the office carrying their cell phone. So, as we think about modernization, we want to make sure we think about the device, the landscape, and the destination.” The days of carrying multiple devices are over and the laptop, the phone, and the tablet have been replaced with just one thing – the cell phone.
This shift has only been amplified during the COVID-19 pandemic. Agencies were forced to modernize and empower their workers to support the mission at home. Finding a way to “route [remote work] traffic and deploy application intelligence became critical,” said Andersen.
For ICE, 15,000 agency workers were able to move to telework capacities in a period of three days. Myers emphasized that ICE ensured “connectivity by partnering with DHS” and “implemented alternative connectivity means for certain mission specific needs.”
Other modernization efforts for ICE include “establishing a data analytics environment that allows analysts to quickly analyze large amounts of data, using the cloud for pilot projects that create servers quickly to run pilot tests for product compatibility and interoperability, and…ensuring that no matter where the agent is in the field, they have the same user experience across all capabilities.”
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is prioritizing telehealth modernization for their 20 million veterans. Cloud platforms have helped their scalability in meeting their needs. Cussatt stated that the VA “had the ability to do telehealth for many years, but there was always apprehension and resistance on behalf of both the clinicians, the doctors, and the patients.” However, the pandemic hastened the adoption of telehealth and “leverage mobile devices to provide a robust and rich interaction between patient and a care provider.” Cussatt also echoed the sentiment that digital transformation “isn’t a nice to have, it’s a need to have.” All agencies will need to continue to have a strong digital presence.
Iyer said that the U.S. Army is taking “advantage of the new technologies such as cloud data and AI in support of both our business systems in the Army and how we run our business, but also how we leverage the same technologies to fight our future wars.” The priority for digital transformation in the Army is “modernizing the ERP systems and leveraging AI to augment decision making.”
The public sector is taking on IT modernization to build a better, more resilient infrastructure and operations for the future. The pandemic expedited transformation, and the good news is that the drive to transform will not be slowing down. Federal agencies – both civilian and military – are committed to innovation to continue to deliver mission success.
Interested in learning more about IT modernization? Click here.