Insight by Cornerstone OnDemand

Lessons from DAU’s modernization journey

Like many agencies, the Defense Acquisition University faced a big problem with its technology, disparate systems that grew up over a period of time that had to be Band-Aided together.

Systems that do not integrate easily usually require middleware or some other jerry-rigged effort to share data. That approach brings a host of problems from the cost to manage and upgrade the systems to making data sharing even more difficult to potential data entry and/or cybersecurity difficulties.

The problem that DAU faced is part of what’s known as the technical debt agencies carry.

By some estimates over the next five years, agencies will have more than $7 billion dollars in technical debt—old hardware and software that needs to be replaced or updated. And that number is only increasing as agencies find more legacy technology.

Recent surveys say more than 80 percent of federal IT executives believe technical debt greatly increases costs, limits their ability to modernize and must be addressed before they can move to the cloud.

The Defense Acquisition University showed how it could modernize a decade-old, on-premise customized system into one that is more secure and easier to use for its students.

DAU Challenges

I’m in 2018, but this looks like it’s from back in the day when the internet started. It’s really important for users when they open up their account and access their learning, they see something that looks like everything else they look at on the internet at home.

Business Process Reengineering

DAU actually went live four months earlier for internal users and three months early for external users. That’s huge in today’s world. It’s very rare that you hear a new application that’s at the core of a business goes live early, not late.

Audience Q&A

You cannot communicate the change enough. Communicate, communicate and communicate, and train, train, train. We not only had months and months of multiple training sessions, but we recorded them all so people could go back to them later. We found faculty, even more so than students, went back and viewed the training.

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