When federal agencies talk about IT modernization, sometimes they’re trying to find ways to upgrade hardware. But that issue is lessening the more agencies host their applications in the cloud. The more enduring modernization issue is legacy applications and the code from which they’re built.
Application modernization requires a variety of strategies ranging from simply re-hosting existing code to developing all-new programs. When the objective is to use agency data for digital services applications – citizen or employee-facing – then the IT staff must adopt judicious code re-use, agile development and coding to join disparate systems together.
To gauge the latest thinking in how to jumpstart modernization, Federal News Radio convened a panel of federal and industry experts to discuss their own strategies and observations. Panelists were:
Doug Averill, Global Government Business Line Leader at Pega
Joe Paiva, Chief Information Officer at the International Trade Administration
Eric Mill, Senior Advisor, Technology Transformation Service at the General Services Administration.
Panelists agreed that a user-centric view can provide the best guidance on application modernization. User stories, customer journeys, and focus groups plus bringing together program, IT and users lead to the optimal way to proceed.
It’s also the age of APIs – application programming interfaces – applied to data sets to aid new development.
At the same time, organizations need to abandon dated business practices and their associated code. Often they last far longer than they make sense. Managers also need to think in terms of what can be automated, overcoming the “muscle memory” of paper sign-off trails that still often prevail in government.
Tom Temin, Federal News Radio
Tom Temin has been the host of the Federal Drive since 2006. Tom has been reporting on and providing insight to technology markets for more than 30 years. Prior to joining Federal News Radio, Tom was a long-serving editor-in-chief of Government Computer News and Washington Technology magazines. Tom also contributes a regular column on government information technology.
Joe Paiva, Chief Information Officer, U.S. International Trade Administration
Joe Paiva is the Chief Information Officer of the United States Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration (ITA), where he is spearheading efforts to leverage technology to increase ITA’s customer base from 25,000 to 250,000. In addition to migrating the ITA from custom software to commercial SaaS, Joe successfully closed down the ITA data center transitioning more than 200 offices in 80 countries to a cloud based infrastructure. Joe also works with foreign companies and governments to help them better understand the cyber security and business implications of cloud computing.
Eric Mill, Senior Advisor, Technology Transformation Service, General Services Administration
Eric Mill is a senior advisor with the General Service Administration’s Technology Transformation Services (TTS). Eric helps guide TTS’ technology strategy and policy impact, and has a background in software engineering, online security and privacy, and government transparency.
Doug Averill, Global Government Business Line Leader, Pega
Douglas Averill is the Global Business Line Leader for Pega’s Government Business. Formerly with the State of Maine and with more than a decade of experience in the Public Sector globally, Doug leads efforts to describe the value and transformative power of Pega’s applications and platform in creating operational efficiencies, being more responsive to legislative changes, and improving the constituent experience. His team coaches Public Sector stakeholders who are dedicated to truly transforming governments into a holistic, open platform to serve citizens. Doug holds a BS in Biology from Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania and an MBA from Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts.