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Learn the five ways a modern service-oriented architecture (SOA) approach can improve efficiency and reduce costs for federal agencies.
Facing an unprecedented era of increasing budget cuts and widening service gaps, many federal agencies are recognizing that by transforming their IT function they can improve performance, reduce costs and deliver greater government efficiency.
The question they now must answer is not if they should modernize their IT architecture, but how. It is a decision not to be taken lightly—those who choose wisely will benefit from strong returns on their investments.
At the core of a modern IT infrastructure lies a service-oriented architecture (SOA), a framework that minimizes redundancies across systems and maximizes component reuse. While the decision to build a SOA may seem like a clear one, choosing which SOA journey to take is not always as obvious.
Many federal agencies are discovering that when stuck at the crossroads between a commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) platform and a custom platform, one road gets them to their destination faster, more cost efficiently and more effectively than the other.
We have identified five ways a commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) platform can improve efficiency and reduce costs by providing architecture as a supported product instead of a custom developed platform that is maintained over time with custom code.
The five ways are:
Achieve SOA implementation cost savingsAs federal agencies look to SOA to optimize their IT infrastructure to save money, a COTS platform can eliminate effort related to configuration and testing because of its pre-built, pre-tested architecture that easily connects SOA middleware applications. Custom platforms, on the other hand, require complex assembly and, often, solution components do not work in harmony.
Accelerate SOA implementationA survey completed by the Center for Digital Government reveals that more than half (52 percent) of respondents indicated their current SOA implementation time exceeds one year.1 In comparison, a COTS platform is readily deployable, providing a working application development environment in as little as 4 weeks.
Reduce time to upgrade and replace products, and legacy modernization costsEnterprise SOA platforms are usually custom built and are hard-wired for specific vendor solutions. As a result, a custom platform will often result in vendor lock-in—costing agencies critical time and budget to make product changes or to even upgrade existing products in the future. A flexible COTS SOA platform uses a vendor-neutral approach that allows for updating and replacement of one product version to another with minimal effect on the overall solution.
Make the most of limited IT resourcesAs federal agencies face the unprecedented challenge of meeting strategic agendas while keeping expenses under control, IT workforce efficiency has become mission critical. A COTS platform reduces the need for system management personnel because support and upgrades are provided directly from the platform vendor.
Improve component sharingFederal agencies face unparalleled levels of citizen demands, and a critical element of meeting these demands is having access to timely, critical information. A COTS platform shares and centralizes information and services—a characteristic that not only helps provide more accurate information, but also results in fewer maintenance resources and lower maintenance costs because applications can share the same services and components.
1 Eligibility Modernization in Health & Human Services, Research Survey, Center for Digital Government, July 2013
As federal agencies seek to cut costs and meet citizens’ rising expectations—without compromising their mission—many find themselves working with technology platforms that may better support the agencies of the past, not the future.
Forward-thinking agencies have already figured out that by selecting COTS-based SOA platforms they can get to their destination faster, with lower costs and more accurate, effective results. These agencies are demonstrating what strategic government efficiency is truly all about, and they are being rewarded with strong returns on their investments.
January 31, 2014
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