On the 12th December 2017 President Trump signed the Modernizing Technology Act into law.
This crystallizes into action the headline theme of Legacy Modernization, with it intended to support achieving the IT Modernization Goal.
The Federal Times offers this primer, explaining that the act built on and amalgamated two previous modernization bills, authorizing $100m funding for rejuvenating existing IT systems in 2018, with an additional $150m earmarked for the next year.
“proposals requesting $2 million to $10 million hit ‘the sweet spot’ for approval.”
Going into more strategic detail writing in the WSJ Deloitte describes how:
“The federal government spent $94.1 billion on IT in 2017, much of it allocated to sustaining aging applications and systems architected to solve day-to-day problems rather than to deliver on high-value emerging trends like digital, analytics, and artificial intelligence.
These maintenance efforts can leave a dearth of funding for IT enhancements, expanded capabilities, and innovation efforts that keep pace with citizens’ service demands.”
Some government agencies are undertaking automated refactoring, which converts legacy code into modern languages such as Java or .NET. This approach can maintain user interface and functionality while eliminating dependence on the mainframe.
Technology Modernization Fund
The legislation is supported by the TMF – Technology Modernization Fund.
“The TMF is authorized up to $500M by the MGT Act as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018. The fund will be overseen by a technical oversight board which will provide funds and technical expertise to agency modernization projects and common solutions.”
A number of specific implementation methods are defined, including:
- The Data Centre Optimization initiative.
- An Open Data policy.
- A Source Code policy.
- Policies for Privacy and Identity Management.
- Web sites and Digital Government.
GovernmentCIO writes recently about the successes of the program, highlighting case study examples such as the Department of Energy consolidating 45 different email systems to an Enterprise Cloud Email service, and transforming the Department of Labor’s manual, paper-based visa application to a digitized process.
As well as providing the direct means for a number of transformation projects, the case study blueprints, experiences, best practices and skills that the program produces will provide for an asset base to underpin the further modernization across the USA Government whole.