As Federal agencies move away from older telecom contract vehicles and transition to the new Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) contract–completion of which is due by the spring of 2020–a logical place to start is with conducting an inventory of all network devices. This will provide a good look at what type of future network is needed to achieve mission goals and objectives.






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IT modernization in the Federal government will require collaboration, effective policies, and a focus on the true end-goal: improving the government experience for citizens, said agency CIOs and industry leaders at a May 23 FedInsider webinar on IT modernization.






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While many Federal agencies focus intensely on cloud migration, one critical (and often overlooked) component of IT modernization is the API [application programming interface], said Pamela Wise-Martinez, chief cloud and enterprise data architect at the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), in a MeriTalk webinar “Modernizing the Monolith.”






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A challenge many Federal managers face as they embark on IT modernization initiatives is how to identify and strategically prioritize systems for IT modernization in a way that helps them further their mission.






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Machine learning innovation is kicking into high gear. Investment in this field and data science increased 9.3 percent in 2016 to $2.4 billion, according to Gartner. On top of that, the Federal government is increasing its focus on machine learning, with the MGT Act, Technology Modernization Fund, and the President’s Management Agenda all supporting transformation efforts.






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Federal agencies deliver on a wide breadth of missions–from protecting the environment to promoting job creation and economic growth to keeping citizens safe. Regardless of their mission, agencies share similar “behind-the-scenes” needs. They all need to pay employees, acquire goods and services, and manage their budgets.






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Action plans to accelerate Federal agency migrations to cloud platforms and services as outlined in the White House IT Modernization Report have been in effect for nearly three months now. For instance, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) was directed to conduct a data call within 30 days of the report’s release, requesting agencies to identify systems that might be ready for cloud migration, but have not because of some perceived or encountered difficulties.






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The new President’s Management Agenda (PMA) outlines 14 Cross-Agency Priority (CAP) goals to foster better government services. Goal No.1? IT Modernization. And the other 13 goals buttress and intersect across the board with that overarching directive to build more modern, secure, and resilient IT systems.






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The new President’s Management Agenda solidified the administration’s focus on IT modernization. In the 54-page agenda, released last week, the White House laid out its roadmap for improving the Federal government. Central to its plans? Modernizing the government’s IT infrastructure. 






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Federal IT comes with some baggage–much of its data is trapped in legacy technologies.  Agencies can’t realistically pick everything up and move to more modern infrastructure.  So how do they bridge the gap?  MeriTalk’s latest report found that improving data sharing between new and legacy systems is the number one solution to accelerating Federal IT modernization.  The “Modernizing the Monolith” study explores why legacy systems are so persistent and outlines a path to modernizing with them, instead of in spite of them.






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Another important piece of the emerging Federal IT modernization ecosystem is in place now that the General Services Administration (GSA) has given four companies the greenlight to start work on the first of five IT Modernization Centers of Excellence (CoEs).






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The Social Security Administration (SSA) continues to modernize its information technology systems, re-awarding Northrop Grumman a 10-year Information Technology Support Services (ITSS) contract. SSA and Northrop Grumman have worked together for nearly a decade, so the global security firm is familiar with the agency’s needs and concerns.






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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spoke frankly about the need IT modernization in the State Department last week, both referencing his personal experiences with the department’s servers and tying it into a larger need for reorganization in the department, but failing to lay out any concrete plan for the changes.






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The May Cybersecurity Executive Order and the White House’s IT Modernization Report have encouraged agencies to look for ways to use shared services to improve cybersecurity. The Department of Justice has been looking into using shared services before the push from the White House, giving the agency a head start at shared services centered on cybersecurity for the enterprise.






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