Critical Read

A user's guide to IT modernization

Shutterstock image. Copyright: Lightspring 

WHAT: A Blueprint for Leading Lasting Technology Reforms in Government from the Partnership for Public Service

WHY: The Trump administration has been vocal about its ambition to transform federal IT through the launch of the American Technology Council, and the release of its draft Report to the President on Federal IT Modernization. In the third of a three-part series, the Partnership and Accenture offer a look at how new government officials and seasoned career leaders can collaborate on how to achieve the linked goals of modernization, reducing the cybersecurity risk surface and integrating technology into agency mission and service delivery.

The report offers a look at some key hurdles agency leaders face, such as how the appropriations process can handcuff agencies looking to break out of the operations-and-maintenance trap, how lengthy acquisition cycles can force agencies into outmoded systems and how changes in leadership can result in changes in priorities.

Program managers and IT specialists need to be prepared to make the business case for modernization internally to agency leaders and externally to Congress and the Office of Management and Budget. John Morentz, CTO at the Social Security Administration, explained to the report's authors that a business plan is "critical" to obtaining buy-in from external stakeholders. A good plan should include the how and agency plans to modernize, how long it will take, how much it will cost and why those costs are justified.

VERBATIM: "The experts recognized that technology transformations are far too complex for one person or team to do alone. They said the success of their reforms required establishing a clear vision for that reform, building support among myriad stakeholders, leading coordination and collaborating across organizations, and inspiring and empowering their employees to own IT improvements."

Download the full report.

About the Author

Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.

Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial roles at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, New York Press, Architect Magazine and other publications.

Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.


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