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. […]

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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Johnson Joy, CIO of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, said that he came to the Federal government hoping to use his private sector expertise to disrupt the public sector. “I’m a disruptor so I want to bring what the private sector has to offer to the government,” Joy said.






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Jeff T.H. Pon, the nominee for director of the Office of Personnel Management, said that his top priority for the agency will be IT modernization. “Outside of work, Federal employees are able to access nearly any piece of information they need, from their bank accounts to student loans to car insurance, all on their phone,” he said. “We need to work toward providing the employees of the Federal government with the same conveniences with regards to their employment within the Federal government, with appropriate attention to information security.”






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Hewlett Packard Enterprise will discuss how it helps agencies plan for the IT modernization process at the MeriTalk produced event Road Map: Tomorrow’s Data Center in a Cloud-Driven Digital World on Oct. 24.






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When starting an IT modernization project, agencies should ask what their end goal is before trying to figure out what their current state of affairs is, according to National Technical Information Service director Avi Bender.






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Government IT executives are finding that the IT modernization process is increasing security challenges, according to a recent Unisys survey. However, Unisys Federal President Venkatapathi “PV” Puvvada said that the journey to more modern, and therefore secure, IT can often make cybersecurity harder before it gets better.






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Though new initiatives like the Cybersecurity Executive Order cover many of the same issues tackled by past administrations, the focus on IT modernization will make a big difference in actually improving cybersecurity, according to Barry West, senior adviser and senior accountable official for risk management at the Department of Homeland Security.






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The Government Accountability Office found that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has not completed a modernization plan for its existing IT systems, which will make it difficult to reach its modernization goals.






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President Donald Trump signed an executive order to establish the American Technology Council, which will discuss how the Federal government should modernize its IT systems and how it delivers digital services.






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Just 17 months into his tenure as the state of Illinois’ chief information officer and head of the newly created Department of Innovation and Technology, Hardik Bhatt is helping to lead one of the biggest turnarounds in state and local technology.






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