Government Agencies May Face Too Many Choices
The data industry has seen an explosion of new technologies over the past two decades, and this has led to a wide variety of options for upgrading or expanding digital infrastructure. But this presents a double-edged sword for government agencies. On one hand, it enables the development of highly specialized working environments tailored to the specific needs of key workflows.
On the other, however, it can make it difficult to determine the right course for renewal or expansion, particularly when an increasingly digitized population quickly gravitates from one technology to the next.
Still, one way or another, data center modernization will come to state and local governments, and that leaves IT managers with two key questions: How should they modernize and for what purpose?
One major part of this transformation is likely to be the automation of processes that currently require exorbitant amounts of time and money to complete manually. But even within the realm of automation, there are many options to choose from, starting with which functions to automate and how.
Most, if not all, government processes are highly intertwined, meaning that the completion of one is dependent on the completion of another, and so on. Automating only part of this web of activity will deliver partial results at best, since the entire system can only move as quickly as its slowest piece. But implementing end-to-end automation can be a herculean job without the right technology and expertise, and few government organizations have the skill sets or knowledge to complete this kind of transformation on their own.
IT Admins Must Strive to Build a Strong Foundation
This is why the most important decision in this transformation is the selection of the right technology partner. Not all automation platforms are alike. Some can be quickly integrated into legacy environments; others require changes to existing systems and processes. Some provide intuitive, streamlined user interfaces; others require substantial training and guidance. Some must be implemented end-to-end right from the start; others can integrate smoothly and seamlessly from system to system.
To select among the many options on the market these days, it helps to establish a set of criteria to distinguish the promising from the discouraging. This should include:
- A proven track record. Do the system and its developer have a history of successful deployments that can be verified by independent means?
- A strong user experience. Does it improve the experience of both users and operators, resulting in successful completion of tasks on time and on budget?
- Exceptional automation. Does it automate processes that are material to government operations while at the same time deliver efficiency in both time and effort, and lower costs as well?
- Expandability. Can the system reach out to agencies that have their own data center technology teams and their own installed bases of digital systems?
Clearly, full transformation into a modern, digitally driven agency will take some time, but the initial steps are often the most crucial given that it is very difficult to undo what has been done and start over, particularly on the physical layer. Therefore, it is important to begin on the right footing while preserving the ability to pivot in a given direction should requirements and goals shift at any time during the process.
With a solid foundation built on the latest advancements in virtualization, cloud, automation and intelligence, government agencies at the state and local levels should find themselves at the forefront of the digital age, not playing catch-up as they typically have done in the past.