At no time has information technology (IT) modernization and its role in protecting our nation been more important than it is today. The defense IT community has a full plate—from mandated efforts to consolidate data centers by migrating to the cloud by 2015, to improving IT security, to responding to the growing pressures and implications of mobility (not to mention sequestration, budget cuts and political pressures everywhere). The modernization of government IT systems needs to happen quickly.
What often stalls IT innovation has very little to do with technology and a lot to do with leadership. As government leaders need to increase productivity, functionality and return on investment from their IT networks, it is important to look at technology as an enabler of leadership and transformational change. Common challenges include:
Understanding how to invest in IT tools, systems and infrastructure with declining budgets
Managing the increasing cost of current IT infrastructure
Dealing with the high rate of IT systems that miss original intent or service level agreements
And, of course, responding to increasing security threats
The Defense Department spends more than $40 billion annually on IT, more than $250 billion in the last seven years or so. That’s a quarter of a trillion dollars—a lot of money. Modernizing IT systems and infrastructure, like most change or transformational agendas, comes down to leadership. There is an opportunity right now for a more aggressive leadership platform as it relates to the modernization of IT by the Defense Department, especially around the network.
Aggressive thought leadership and action can help in today’s complex environment. Examples of this involve following commercial best practices, the use of open standards, the OpEx vs. CapEx debate and more aggressive training around IT acquisition models.