March 23, 2018
A Federal CIO Playbook for modernization
By: Dave McClure

The federal government has embarked upon a full court press for government-wide IT modernization, intended to optimize services to citizens and businesses, lower costs, and improve security. The exercise is important, in that all agencies essentially will be “changing drivers while the car is moving.”

That is, operations and services will be a “bi-modal” state as infrastructure and applications start moving from old legacy systems to agile applications on new cloud-based platforms. To help CIOs, we developed a Federal CIO Playbook on IT Modernization. It helps CIOs answer three critical questions affecting the success of their modernization approaches:

  • How can my agency fund modernization initiatives?
  • How can program and IT leaders collaboratively define objectives?
  • How can agencies assess what needs to be done and prioritize a way forward?

Agencies can pursue modernization funding through different routes that are matched to the specific type of modernization activities. For example, to modernize commodity systems and infrastructure, we recommend taking advantage of working capital funds that offer multi-year, revolving funds.

To modernize fully integrated or commercially focused systems, an OpEx approach embracing managed services, shared services, or even Software-as-a-Service are considered good plays. Agency specific systems and applications can be scrubbed using application portfolio assessment tools and retired to free up funds for other purposes.

And to modernize extremely large agency specific systems, IT can partner with business/program leaders to redesign and improve business processes.

To get started, we suggest that CIOs create a baseline of knowledge about the health and performance of the existing application portfolio. Second, they should make prioritization and funding decisions based upon anticipated business outcomes. From there, CIOs can create actionable roadmaps for forward-leaning systems and portfolios and organize their shops to build sustainable success.

Clearly, jump-starting modernization with a solid portfolio application management analysis is essential. IT empowers CIOs and their business partners to make long-term decisions about IT investments that consider the functional and technical health of existing applications as well as costs, security vulnerabilities, and cloud readiness.

But it is imperative that agencies’ business and mission improvement objectives are well understood and drive re-architecting, re-platforming, replacement, and retirement decisions. Check out Accenture Federal Services’ Federal CIO Playbook: IT Modernization to learn more about how to get your modernization efforts successfully underway.

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