5/10/2012 - GovPartners attended the The IT Budget Battle: Achieving Savings from Year One, Session One hosted by MICRO FOCUS. Below is a summary of what we learned.
Government agencies are bogged down by legacy systems that were first created before most of the programmers and software developers currently utilizing them were even born.
By 2015, 70% of application modernization projects will entail fundamental and complete shifts in technologies and infrastructure. In an effort to cut down on costs, paperwork, for example, is going cloud. As long as you have ubiquitous mobile connectivity, cloud technology will allow firms and agencies to scale up and down according to their needs.
The big drivers of IT will be mobile, social, and big data. According to the panelists below, the next ten years in IT will be huge.
An IT Summit sponsored by Micro Focus in May included a panel of industry insiders from both the Federal and Commercial sectors:
· Dorothy Aronson, Acting Director, Division of Information Systems, National Science Foundation
· Susan Drennan, Vice President of Channel Sales, North America, Micro Focus
· Bob Ellsworth, Director, Platform Modernization and Application Platform Compete, Enterprise & Partner Group, Microsoft
· Amy Northcutt, Chief Information Officer, National Science Foundation
The panelists cited examples as to what steps agencies and commercial companies alike could implement to modernize their aging legacy systems. Below are the examples cited:
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has always been one of the agencies which adopted new technologies early on. In 1997, it created Fast Lane, a tool which automated processes which were originally composed of data entry flows. At the time, it was a big deal for a Federal Agency to become paperless.
At this point, the NSF is moving towards a strategic planning phase in regards to how to modernize its legacy systems, followed by a governance process while simultaneously undertaking a performance review.
The NSF has always sought to evolve in a way in which it predicts the market to be evolving. The experts from the NSF gave the following advice on how to position an agency or firm in regards to modernizing a legacy system:
A Ferry ticketing company in Spain was able to modernize their systems seamlessly, investing in new IT infrastructures while simultaneously reducing their operating costs. They moved forward with modernizing their legacy systems. Their operating costs went from $1.2MM per year to $150,000 per year. However, the cost was $2MM to implement. Microsoft allowed the company to finance the modernization program so that they paid their usual operating costs for two years.
Another company in Richmond, VA first rehosted their mainframe application, which allowed them to save up to $6MM per year. They then used those savings to reinvest in a modernization/ rewrite project.
Starting Points to Modernization of Legacy Systems:
Have knowledge of the environment
Make sure that you employ personnel which possess the right kind of skills
Identify what it will take to modernize the system as well as when the opportune time to act is
A poignant observation from Dorothy Aronson, is that companies must be able to discern what action is sustainable and what is not. NSF began virtualization early in the process, but it is only recently, after the technology and cost became affordable that modernization made sense for the organization.