Unreliable Applications are Disrupting Agency Effectiveness, Survey Finds

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Nearly all Federal government employees are finding that slow, buggy, and sluggishly repaired applications have a negative impact on the productivity of their agency, according to a recent survey released by Riverbed.

“Nearly everyone said that they’re having performance issues,” said Davis Johnson, vice president of public sector at Riverbed Technology. According to the study, the performance issues that most frustrate government employees are speed or load time, with 54 percent of respondents reporting frustration, and crashes or freezes, with 47 percent.

“It’s not acceptable for consumer applications to be down in the private sector, and it shouldn’t be in government,” said Johnson. “However, we’re finding many Federal agencies don’t have the visibility tools they need to quickly solve trouble areas before they cause application performance issues. What’s needed to prevent performance issues from spoiling the promise of Federal IT modernization and digital transformation is better end-to-end application and network visibility.”

In addition, the study found that though a majority of agencies have a clear, defined process for reporting application issues, one third of respondents’ agencies took more than 24 hours to resolve these issues.

“That’s just unacceptable,” said Johnson, adding that the slow response often leads to a lack of confidence in the agency’s ability to deal with the rollouts of future IT projects, such as Census 2020.

Among the most poorly rated applications were communication and collaboration tools, which, according to Johnson, carry more importance in achieving agency mission than most people think.

“People look at communication and collaboration tools and think, ‘oh it’s just email,’ ” said Johnson, explaining that the State Department uses SharePoint, a collaboration and document management service, for important services such as a “digital diplomatic pack.”

Johnson added that moving applications to the cloud while also requiring the application to run only across government networks can make it harder to figure out what is going on and creates difficulty for the employees.

“They still have to go all the way back to one of the trusted network connections–and then out to the cloud,” Johnson explained, adding that things like security concerns do offer “good reasons for why they do this.”

Despite the fact that the government is currently behind industry in their application capabilities, according to Johnson, agencies are moving aggressively toward expanded cloud systems, in some ways “faster than Fortune 500 movement.”

“The government is moving in some ways more aggressively than (Office of Management and Budget) expected them to be toward the cloud,” said Johnson. “There’s no way the infrastructure is going to keep up in order to meet that goal.”

Jessie Bur
About Jessie Bur

Jessie Bur is a Staff Reporter for MeriTalk covering Cybersecurity, FedRAMP, GSA, Congress, Treasury, DOJ, NIST and Cloud Computing.

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