When President Obama’s 2017 budget was released in early February, it was clear that a key focus of the administration’s final year was to drive a smarter and more efficient government through IT. Key sections of the budget confirmed what has been evident for some time now: that “[t]he Administration has embarked on a comprehensive effort to fundamentally improve the way that the Government delivers technology services to the public,” through means of “recruiting top technologists and entrepreneurs to work within agencies on the highest priority projects, leveraging the best processes to increase oversight and accountability for IT spending, and ramping up Government contracting with innovative companies.”
The push to modernize agency infrastructure is not about just about equipping agencies with the latest and greatest tech. Rather, it’s about ensuring successful mission delivery, securing vital data, engaging citizens, and supporting the competitiveness of the United States in the global economy.
One of the most important line items in the budget, the Information Technology Modernization Fund (ITMF), would have allocated $3.1 billion in a revolving fund “to retire the Government’s antiquated IT systems and transition to more secure and efficient modern IT systems.” Despite being rejected by the House Budget Committee, the growing awareness of the negative impact of legacy systems on agency success and national security has ensured that there’s a conviction among agency CIOs to forge a path forward to IT modernization.
To help CIOs address these challenges, Grant Thornton brought together a panel of IT visionaries – including Richard McKinney, U.S. Department of Transportation CIO, and Joseph Klimavicz, U.S. Department of Justice Deputy Assistant Attorney General and CIO – to share their insights and best practices.
Klimavicz expressed concerns over data security and shared that the unrelenting pace of cyberattacks was a primary driver for modernization. He shared “[w]e are all trying to modernize our IT infrastructure with reduced or flat budgets in the face of increased cyber threats and sophistication.” McKinney shared that collaboration among agency CIOs is a great resource, even without budgetary support, and will keep modernization efforts moving forward.
The key takeaway from the conversation was that agency CIOs are committed to leaving behind legacy systems and intend on modernizing government IT, regardless of whether there’s a budget line item to support them. For CIOs on this path, there is much that can be done on the lean budgets that they have been operating within for the past few years – none of which involves ripping and replacing legacy systems, but instead developing a better understanding of systems and capabilities through portfolio management and streamlining enterprise architecture.
Want to learn more about portfolio management and enterprise architecture for IT modernization, take a look at this video: