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Feds look to breathe new life into legacy IT

Kenneth Corbin | Dec. 1, 2015
Federal IT managers believe that they can breathe new life into a majority of aging applications, but say modernisation as an ‘urgent’ priority.

"The biggest obstacle is the magnitude of the problem -- meaning when you start to think about how to tackle such a widespread need for modernization, it's daunting," Hantman says. "It's daunting to the point that the early planning stages are some of the hardest to move forward with -- what strategy should be put in place? Who should take the lead? Trying to do too much at once can be paralyzing, so start at the beginning."

According to the survey, just 37 percent of respondents say that they have completed a thorough inventory and audit of their application portfolios.

"That percentage is too low," Hantman says. "Taking inventory and developing a roadmap of next-steps are critical first steps to a broader modernization strategy."

IT managers do indicate that updating or replacing legacy applications is an important priority within their organization, with 66 percent saying that they intend to increase their modernization efforts next year. Those plans could get a boost from FITARA, the recently enacted IT reform law that seeks to improve the efficiency of the government's technology portfolio and consolidates responsibility in the central office of the agency CIO. And cutting costs is always a good argument to have when CIOs try to win the support of agency brass for any IT initiative.

"A good modernization strategy should ultimately save your agency money – capitalizing on applications that can be upgraded to extend or increase their value, and doing away with those that need to be replaced or retired," Hantman says. "With FITARA in place, CIOs will likely look to keep costs down, and presenting a modernization plan to agency leadership that incorporates the business case -- as well as the IT case -- is a good place to start."


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