Taming and modernizing the “beast”


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The guests were Paul Saladna, associate director and enterprise architect, and Shamlan Siddiqi, chief technology officer at NTT Data Federal Services, Inc.

Saladna won the coveted Fed 100 award for work done on a major Air Force transition – Siddiqi puts the project in perspective with regards to agile software development and integration.

Head shots of Saladna and Siddiqi
Paul Saladna & Shamlan Siddiqi, NTT DATA Federal Services, Inc.

The project was daunting: 420 legacy systems and over one million lines of Cobol code. Whew! Most mere mortals would have walked away, however NTT Data has a great team and a deep bench.

During the interview, Saladna talked about reviewing the problem eleven months before any solicitation was released.  He had deep and thorough knowledge of many of the issues before even starting.

When Saladna began the journey, one major system at the Air Force was locked in to several established vendors. He had to plan the transition carefully and hit all the required deadlines.

Siddiqi looked at the project from the CTO seat, observing that there was a “shift left” in the cybersecurity approach. Essentially, this means incorporating security in the early stages. Several concepts were mentioned in the interview, including: Importance of “baking in” cybersecurity, the value of communication to team members both above or below and the value of open source software.