Shift IT Budgets to Transform and Grow Mission Services with IT-as-a-Service
There is a broad awareness that the federal IT portfolios—and our thinking about how to manage them—is changing. In most federal institutions, mission and business systems of record are laden with technical debt. The cost of servicing that debt constrains the opportunity to redirect budget dollars to support innovation and the digital capability needed to transform the mission.
Despite modernization, maintaining legacy IT is a huge financial burden
Over the last decade or so, federal IT modernization efforts have progressed in significant ways. To reduce the data center footprint, application workloads are being moved to cloud service providers and agencies are rearchitecting legacy applications more holistically, taking advantage of cloud-native capabilities. Yet, many agencies still spend as much as 90% on operating and maintaining legacy systems. The size of the operations and maintenance (O&M) burden alone constrains efforts to innovate and grow.
Figure 1 is a representation of Gartner’s “Run-Grow-Transform” framework. The graph represents a typical federal IT budget where 90% of the budget is spent on operating and maintaining the legacy portfolio of the agency, 2% on improving support to the mission, and around 8% on transforming the mission through innovative IT services.
Modernization, investment agility, and the ITaaS operating model
Application modernization initiatives tend to focus on “lift and shift” efforts, moving legacy applications to cloud infrastructure service providers to take advantage of scalability and other cloud attributes. This approach is a step in the right direction but is unlikely to reduce the cost of maintaining the application. This approach helps reduce the on-site hardware, network, and facility costs associated with legacy systems; but these systems still require expensive support to maintain and most of the O&M costs associated with the application do not go away.
However, by changing the IT operating model, agencies can create agility in their IT organizations, so they can adjust budgets in support of rapidly changing mission priorities. A model that supports IT-as-a-Service (ITaaS) institutionalizes IT service lifecycle management mechanisms for assessing the strengths and weakness of publicly available cloud-based service offerings. This informs build vs. buy decisions, encourages IT and business service creation and re-use; and reduces overall risk, cost, and time-to-market for IT services.
The operating model standardizes meta aspects of services such as SLAs, cost models, and delivery blueprints, informing the capacity of services the agency can manage according to budget guidance. The ITaaS operating model produces an integrated portfolio of well-designed services each maintained according to enterprise IT standards.
The primary benefit of the ITaaS operating model is the timely and continuous introduction of digital capability in alignment with an organization’s unique mission needs.
Figure 2 shows an aspirational state that such a model can help realize. It provides the speed and agility needed to rapidly respond to yet-unknown future requirements, and shift “run” costs to grow and transform the mission through digital transformations.
ITaaS helps the agencies achieve their unique missions, in unique ways. It improves the customer experience by shifting cost from “Run” to “Grow” and “Transform.”
How to break away from legacy applications of the past
Mission IT services are constantly evolving to meet the needs of users. They continuously advance to be more secure and cost-effective architectures. Federal agencies can leverage an ITaaS operating model to confidently break away from the legacy application architectures of the past and leverage innovation. Consider the following steps for your journey:
- Complete a maturity assessment to understand your ITaaS readiness
- Develop a roadmap to ITaaS with a systems integrator experienced with ITaaS transformation
- Design and adopt modern ITaaS oriented processes such as Agile and DevSecOps
- Rationalize your application portfolio to determine feasibility and priority of modernization
- Conduct IT services proof-of-concepts to demonstrate the “art-of-the-possible”
Macro Solutions specializes in forward-leading application design, DevSecOps factory models and an evolutionary ITaaS operating model we call the Continuous Value Office (CVO). We can help you transform your legacy and achieve mission goals.