Jun 24 2024

IT Modernization Is the Catalyst for Improved Government Digital Services

State and local agencies now have the tools to embrace sweeping transformation.

Citizens and businesses throughout the United States don’t necessarily think of interactions with their local government as being overly efficient or offering a world-class user experience. However, those expectations are changing post-pandemic with the rapid advancement of technology and the relentless focus on user experiences from some of the most innovative companies in the world.

Critically, constituents expect citizen and business services to be available when they need them. But it is becoming more and more challenging for state and locaI governments to provide these services in a cost-effective, secure and reliable manner with the resiliency to confidently meet their citizens’ needs. States, cities and counties are saddled with aging infrastructure, legacy systems, siloed data, archaic procedures and years of funding deficits that have required them to focus on extending the life of assets and deferring cyclic replacement rather than modernizing mission-critical systems.

Yet, technology platforms have advanced to the point where it is no longer cost-prohibitive or seemingly impossible to replace legacy systems. Modernization will be the catalyst to deliver services, provide insights into data and serve citizens in ways that are unimaginable today to this generation and others to come.

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Making the Case for Change Among Government Agencies

In a recent survey from the EY Center for Government Modernization, 95 percent of state and local leaders said they recognize the importance of investing in at least one emerging technology to modernize their agency. The high costs of maintaining a traditional legacy system, not to mention the licenses and other fees that are levied on the system, compound the cost of ownership and operations.

The average change cycle in a legacy deployment is usually greater than a legacy replacement, making it more difficult to be agile and implement quick changes to the application. As a result, commercial off-the-shelf and Software as a Service packages are getting higher priority for running core systems. Developers and architects to manage the legacy applications are hard to come by, and experts are either retiring or migrating to other modern technologies.

Very few people are ready to be trained in legacy technologies, which creates immense hurdles both for maintaining and developing legacy systems and for attracting the next-generation workforce. Tightly coupled applications and legacy architectures with complex interdependencies pose a huge challenge. Core systems are struggling to keep pace with citizen and business owner demands, costing them time and money.

LEARN MORE: How can a strategic application assessment help government agencies?

Modernization Trends for State and Local Governments

State and local governments are rapidly adopting a lift-and-shift approach, using modernization tools to migrate legacy applications to the cloud with low- or no-code change. These tools improve reliability and security profiles. Governments are also adopting open source and containers in a big way while rearchitecting and rebuilding legacy apps to keep costs down.

State and local governments can expect vast improvements in operational efficiency, collaboration and constituent services from modern technology, including low-code platforms, automation, cloud solutions and artificial intelligence.

The views reflected in this article are the views of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Ernst & Young LLP or other members of the global EY organization.

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