Legacy Technology in Government – and How to Break Free

According to a recent GAO report, more than 75 percent of the 2015 federal IT budget was dedicated to operations and maintenance, leaving only a quarter of IT dollars available for innovation. While digital transformation technologies are creating new possibilities for government, this means that IT funds are monopolized by legacy technologies, creating an endless cycle of sub-standard performance.

The recently conducted extension of the Dell State of IT Trends 2016 study, which surveyed federal government IT Decision-Makers (ITDMs) and Business

Decision Makers (BDMs), validated this point, with 70 percent of federal respondents acknowledging that their agencies run important applications on outdated IT systems. The study revealed other alarming findings, including that 53 percent say their agency’s systems are no longer supported by the vendor. This reliance on outdated systems brings about major issues for federal agencies, with cybersecurity and maintenance costs highlighted by survey respondents as top concerns.

Given that secure, modern, future-ready technologies are available today, what is holding federal agencies back? Survey respondents pointed to a general lack of knowledge of available solutions within their agency (24 percent) and conflicting digital transformation strategies (22 percent) as obstacles. To address legacy IT concerns, agencies can learn from private industry, by replacing outdated systems with modular, pre-integrated solutions that can automate IT and free funds for innovation, and by driving a workplace culture that promotes a future-ready government.

Digital transformation means optimizing traditional IT, automating service delivery and management and investing in cloud-native technologies to build a path to the hybrid cloud. These technology investments are inherently more secure and lower costs of government IT, increasing the percentage of budget available for innovation. As a result, government can reallocate funds toward emerging technologies that better fit their needs.

Leadership plays an important role in making these technologies accessible. Over the past few years, government has set in place the framework to expand knowledge of available solutions and to better clarify digital transformation strategy. Efforts like FITARA have empowered agency CIOs. From this position, CIOs can increase agency awareness of the virtualized, software-based environments that will reduce maintenance costs and can more clearly define agency digital transformation strategies designed to meet not just IT needs, but mission needs. Technology has the power to drive agency success and CIOs can act as the change agents to make this possible. CIOs are in a position to lead digital transformation efforts and the time to lead is now.

Ready to transform your agency with an investment in innovation? Learn how Dell EMC’s solutions paired with strong leadership can ease legacy IT pains in the quest for a future-ready IT environment here: http://futureready.dell.com/digital-transformation/why-are-organizations-so-afraid-to-jettison-old-it/

About the Author: Steve Harris