Critical Read

Modernization guidance from ACT-IAC

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What: A step-by-step framework for agency IT modernization efforts, released by ACT-IAC.

Why: Faced with a deluge of more efficient IT advances and accompanying new development techniques -- such as cloud computing, agile development, shared services and DevOps -- federal agencies are moving to modernize their aging systems as never before. According to ACT-IAC, however, those efforts are in the early stages, and a mountain of modernization work lies ahead.

Success can be unpredictable as agencies try to find their way toward adoption of new technologies and methods on their own. Furthermore, modernization requires more than just tech savvy. Adjustments to the workforce and management structure must accompany the adoption of new technology to maximize its effectiveness.

ACT-IAC's report outlines a methodical, step-by-step approach to planning for new technologies and managing change to clear a path for that adoption.

The organization took into account the fact that a complete overhaul of an agency's legacy systems is not a one-time effort. Instead, agencies will have to manage a "complex mix of legacy and modernized systems for the foreseeable future."

That complex environment calls for the establishment and maintenance of a long-term modernization program and the need to make upfront strategic choices about priorities.

According to ACT-IAC, its report provides a logical, flexible pathway through that environment using steps that can agencies can adapt to their needs.

The organization has also established a community of interest for IT modernization that focuses on strategy and policy development.

Verbatim: "Legacy system modernization efforts require sustained senior leadership attention, support and effective management from inception through completion to succeed."

Click here to read the full report.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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