Insight by Pegasystems

Data, agility will help agencies succeed on the technology modernization journey

Agencies are under ever-increasing pressure to deliver outcomes and improve citizen services. Therefore, agencies need to develop new capabilities rapidly and be flexible to meet changing user needs as they tackle the government’s most complex modernization challenges.

So how can agencies be agile, flexible and secure? What are some low-risk and innovative modernization approaches?

One common approach that has emerged over the past few years is the concept to dev/ops or now dev/sec/ops. The idea is that agencies are continually developing and integrating new services while using automation to secure the code and data.

The latest data from the Office of Management and Budget shows agencies are making progress in moving toward this agile goal. The administration said about 56 percent of all major IT projects are using iterative or agile methodology for projects worth about $39 billion.

That still leaves about 44 percent, worth about $17 billion, either stuck in the waterfall technique or undefined by the agency, worth about $27 billion.

Despite the move to agile or iterative development, agencies still are taking, on average, more than 400 days to complete a project.

One way to speed up delivery is through the use of automation and the application of robotics, artificial intelligence and machine learning.

A 2018 IBM Center for the Business of Government report says the adoption of AI systems represents an opportunity to take a serious look at the current IT infrastructure and to think holistically about modernization efforts.

The authors state through AI and cognitive computing, agencies will be able to augment the capabilities of their workforce by processing and learning from large amounts of disparate data across different systems in near real time. These systems also will be able to interact with citizens and employees through natural language processing. Cognitive systems will allow public agencies to free up their workforce from tasks that are ripe for automation due to their structured and predictable nature.

The end result, the authors say, is AI systems will enable agencies to increase the speed with which transactions are processed, by reprioritizing the assignment of tasks between humans and machines.

And that will lead to better, faster and hopefully cheaper services to citizens and mission partners.

The Approach to IT Modernization

When you talk about IT modernization and automation. IT modernization is something the CIO can drive. But when it comes to automation, everything relates to process. That’s where the user engagement really comes into play. With our partnership council that we have established, we have established an 18-month roadmap. The 18-month roadmap is not IT driven, it’s user driven.

The Importance of Data

If you think about taking data and getting it to the point that you can answer the questions about automation. A lot of this how do I find the places where I can automate. There are things that we’ve seen that can be really powerful. One is actually using robotics to do a little bit of data collection. You can begin to collect what systems users are using in real time to get work done.

Automation

Where I see us heading is more on predictive analytics. How do we will continue to use data to better decisions, but really focus on the prediction and usage of data. I think we are out of the reactive mode when it comes to data. On the modernization side, we will continue to leverage the cloud.

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