Apr 01 2022
Data Center

Demand for Digital Services Drives IT Modernization Efforts

As the pandemic subsides, governments find they still need to support transformation initiatives.

The global pandemic had a massive impact on how state and local governments deliver services to their citizens. With social distancing policies in place across the U.S. and around the world, governments needed to provide services digitally.

However, while the pandemic has shown signs of subsiding, the demand for digital services has not. In fact, a recent report from the National Association of State CIOs stated that 94 percent of CIOs said the pandemic had increased or accelerated the demand for digital government services.

As agencies work to meet this demand, they are finding that many of their legacy IT systems are not up to the task. To address this, they are modernizing their IT environments by enhancing, renovating and replacing their legacy systems. NASCIO identifies increased investment in IT modernization as one of the top five priorities CIOs will face as the pandemic subsides.

“It is no surprise that digital government, broadband and legacy modernization are ranked as high priorities by state CIOs,” said NASCIO Executive Director Doug Robinson in announcing the annual list of CIOs’ top policy and technology priorities. “The past two years have highlighted their importance to governors, state CIO customers and the citizens they serve.”

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DevOps Helps Speed Up Modernization Efforts

One of the ways state and local governments have modernized their IT operations is to adopt DevOps processes. DevOps combines the efforts of development and IT operations teams to speed up application deployment, improve agility and quickly move past mistakes.

“DevOps is no longer just a buzzword,” says Chris Gibes, a technology practice manager for data center solutions with CDW. “More and more organizations are adopting DevOps principles and incorporating DevOps processes into their IT operations.”

A 2021 report from the IBM Center for the Business of Government spelled out numerous ways state and local governments were putting DevOps and other agile methodologies into use. Among the use cases: project management, HR management, policymaking, and contracting and procurement.

DISCOVER: Learn what's driving the need for IT modernization.

Automation Extends IT Efforts for Government

“Automation has become a key element of many digital transformation initiatives,” Gibes says. State and local governments are following this trend. Among the key ways agencies are taking advantage of automation in their IT modernization efforts:

Smart cities: Many local governments start their smart city initiatives with small pilots and expand them as they achieve success. Often, projects such as smart streetlights lead to expanded efforts such as air quality monitoring and traffic optimization. Local agencies also are modernizing call center systems to use artificial intelligence to communicate more effectively with citizens. These systems can help break down barriers such as language differences and simplify the delivery of government services.

Data center automation: Solutions such as infrastructure as code can boost automation and productivity in the data center. By automating the management of IT infrastructure, IAC can reduce costs and enable IT staff to focus on mission-critical projects. “We are also seeing much more adoption of automated storage tiering to the cloud — usually to add capacity, but also as a backup to cloud storage tiers that serve as an offsite disaster recovery location,” Gibes says. “Tiering allows organizations to be more strategic in where they store data.”

Security: Automation has become a powerful tool for cybercriminals, and government agencies have turned to fighting fire with fire. The automated solutions agencies are employing include security orchestration, automation and response platforms; vulnerability management tools; and intrusion detection and prevention systems.

EXPLORE: Read more about the building blocks in the CDW white paper “IT Modernization Provides Better Outcomes for Citizen Services.”

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