The federal government has invested billions of dollars in developing and maintaining information technology and Capgemini estimates 75 percent of this spend is on operations and maintenance – just keeping the engines running. The user population is becoming increasingly tech-savvy, budgets are remaining flat or decreasing, and mission needs expanding. How can agencies meet their current demands and take advantage of innovations in technology?
Kathleen Flynn and Denise Tauriello, principals at Capgemini Government Solutions, joined WTOP & Federal News Radio Custom Media Director Jason Fornicola on “Expert Connect” to address these issues and discuss how Capgemini can help agencies meet their missions.
Flynn detailed emerging trends in IT, the concept of Vanguard IT and how it’s relevant to the federal government.
“Vanguard IT talks about the IT within an IT operation,” Flynn said. “What we’re looking at there are the tools, the processes, and the operational models that allow IT to deliver on the speed and agility that its customers are demanding.
“This isn’t really just about specific technologies,” Flynn continued. “Rather it’s about approaches to performing IT; delivery models, for example. We’re looking at robotic process automation, container-based design, application platform engineering, DevOps. Terms your audience may be familiar with and ones that are really changing the way we deliver IT solutions as we move forward.”
Flynn also said one of the most distinguishing aspects of Vanguard IT is its focus on productivity and changing the way users think about delivery models, which ultimately drives innovation throughout the business.
Tauriello shared an example of Capgemini’s case management system capabilities which led to a large scale digital transformation. The company worked with the government of Norway on an IT modernization of its welfare and pension system. The $500 million effort lasted several years, and Capgemini focused on the IT component and strategic effort.
“We took a look at stakeholders and the way of doing business,” Tauriello said. “So it wasn’t just ‘let’s look at what kind of technology platform you have, let’s see what kind of computers are in the back room.’ How are you doing business? How should you be doing business in the future?
“And the piece that was missing for them was really around two things: processing time and user experience,” she added. “It was taking months, almost even potentially a year to process the claims that were coming in. And the user experience just was non-existent; it was on the phone for hours, there was not a digital way to interact with the organization.
“And Norway knew that they had a growth potential of pensioners that was going to be up around 40 percent within the next couple of years.”
It was then, Tauriello said, that the government decided to modernize and move away from legacy systems and to a digital transformation model. It created a self-service solution on a service-oriented architecture with an open source framework. That was combined with a self-service functionality that was scenario-based.
Citizens were then able to access the application from their home computers or mobile phones and it would run retirement scenarios to help them make better decisions about their futures.
The upgrade led to two outcomes. “One, every single pensioner that’s on the books is using that system; they’re connected,” according to Tauriello. “And processing times moved from months to less than a minute for individual claims to be reviewed and determinations to be made.”
On the most recent edition of “Expert Connect,” Capgemini principals Brian Murphy, Dan Ford and Michelle Walker continued the discussion and focused on innovation, the difference between big data and fast data, and testing and quality assurance.
“Innovation for any organization today, whether it be private sector or public sector, is critical,” according to Murphy. “As more technologies, more innovations are being introduced into the market, how can different organizations take advantage of those?
“What we’re seeing is that there’s a shift in the way companies have to deal with innovation. It used to be that not very long ago companies were trying to find, agencies were trying to find innovation and draw it in – how do you draw it in, source it from your staff, from partners or what have you. Today innovation is everywhere, it’s ubiquitous.”
The bigger challenge now is sifting through all that’s available and finding what’s going to be useful and applying it to solve problems. “It’s easy to find innovation; it’s difficult to find the right innovation to apply to your business,” Murphy said.
A similar conclusion can be made about big data as well. Ford said it’s important to look beyond the cost savings big data provides and capitalize on additional benefits.
“Get beyond that IT cost savings and start looking at insights,” he said. “You really want to move toward the business value from big data rather than looking at it from the OCIO perspective.”
Ford said government is making progress, albeit slow. “There are big data pilots and they’re getting some insights out of it, but they really are not transforming the organization.”
There’s now an effort to distinguish big data from fast data and the potential impact on agencies or organizations. Ford said the mentality must change from hindsight analysis to foresight action. “Insights to action,” he said.
“Big data’s kind of the same old way of doing business,” Ford said. “Except you’ve got a new set of unstructured data and you need the big data technologies to take care of it. Big data’s still at rest, generally, it’s still stored in a physical format, whereas fast data’s generally in memory. Big data’s still generally used for historic purposes – for planning, for analysis. Fast data is used for transactions, for making business changes during the day.”
In terms of testing and quality assurance, Walker noted the priorities of the public sector and private sector are becoming the same. “Their clients are looking for them to deliver more,” she said. “More value for their dollar with less money and in less time, but with the same amount of quality or better quality.”
That challenge has forced organizations to look for new ways of doing things than in the past. “This move from a waterfall methodology to agile or DevOps is the transition they’re using to be able to do that,” Walker added. “And as they move through that, they have to actually go through a very big mindset change in order to be successful.”
The shift has been going from developing projects and whole systems with big timelines and dollar amounts to now delivering products and services in small pieces to enable a quicker time to market.
Walker concluded that the mindset change transitioning from waterfall to agile is essential. “It’s not about what I have to do with my hands or the testing that I have to do, but it’s ‘How do I change my mind to accept a totally different way of doing the same thing I’ve always done?’”
About the guests:
Mr. Ford, a Principal with Capgemini Government Solutions, leads our US Federal Justice and Homeland Security business, which includes CBP, ICE, TSA, US Marshals and US Courts. Mr. Ford holds a BA from Davidson College and a ME from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is also a Certified Analytics Professional (CAP) and a Project Management Professional (PMP). Mr. Ford has received merit fellowships from the Center for Transportation and Logistics at MIT and from the Bonner Foundation and J.M Rubin Foundation at Davidson College.
Mr. Murphy, a Principal with Capgemini Government Solutions, leads our US Federal Finance, Oversight and Infrastructure business, which includes General Services Administration, Office of Management and Budget, Government Accountability Office, Security and Exchange Commission, Internal Revenue Service, Amtrak and Defense-National Security agencies. Mr. Murphy holds a BA from Loyola University of Maryland, an Master in Business Administration from the Johns Hopkins University, multiple organization change management certificates and is a certified Project Management Professional by the Project Management Institute.
Michelle Walker is the Capgemini North America, Test Leader. She has over 25 years in IT, and earned her B.A. in Business Administration at Dallas Baptist University in Dallas, Texas.
Michelle has led large testing practices across Life Sciences, Consumer Goods, Communications and Government services. While serving as the SAP Test Practice Director for Pepsi, Michelle centralized and optimized testing across a global, multi-vendor program, spanning several years. She is known for her extensive engagement and program/project management expertise, specializing in delivery of at risk programs.
Today Michelle leverages her prior successes into growing TaaS solutions to bring quality testing services to mid and small tier companies and establishing independent test services within North America for Capgemini.
Ms. Flynn serves as a Principal in Capgemini Government Solutions, a subsidiary of Capgemini North America. In this role she is responsible for the delivery of strategy and IT solutions to federal clients with a focus on justice and homeland security missions support. She joined Capgemini Government Solutions after a twenty year career focused on technology-enabled transformation for private and public sector clients across a broad range of industries. Ms. Flynn is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Liberal Studies and holds a Masters in Library Science from the School of Information Studies, Syracuse University.
Ms. Tauriello, a Principal with Capgemini Government Solutions, leads our US Federal Health and Benefits business, which includes Health and Human Services, Defense Health Administration, Veterans Affairs, US Department of Agriculture and Social Security Administration. She brings over 25 years of business consulting expertise with an emphasis on health information technology (HIT) and health information exchange (HIE) across both commercial and government markets, as well as the various applications and interdependencies across the health delivery system. Ms. Tauriello holds a BA from Lynchburg College and earned the International Coaching Federation Certificate, Leadership Coaching, from Georgetown University.
With more than 180,000 people in over 40 countries, Capgemini is one of the world's foremost providers of consulting, technology and outsourcing services. The Group reported global annual revenues of EUR 13 billion.
Together with its clients, Capgemini creates and delivers business and technology solutions that fit their needs and drive the results they want. A deeply multicultural organization, Capgemini has developed its own way of working, the Collaborative Business ExperienceTM, and draws on Rightshore®, its worldwide delivery model.