The Principles of IT-as-a-Service that Drive Transformation to a Digital Federal Enterprise

Federal agency leaders seek to incorporate emerging technology to optimize mission services. Indeed, the Deloitte Center for Government estimates that around 1.2 billion hours can potentially be freed up through automation in the U.S. federal government. Those hours can be used to focus more directly on mission services of the agency such as reducing crime, fighting human trafficking, reducing homelessness, and defending the nation.

Given this, artificial intelligence, predictive data analytics, cloud, and other innovation accelerators are in high demand. For example, in the age of COVID-19, data analytics literally saves lives. Yet, coupled with the great promise of emerging technology like intelligent analytics; public sector executives lament that data privacy and quality issues continue to hinder adoption.

It falls on the shoulders of the federal technology leadership (CIOs, CTOs, CDOs, etc.) to introduce and continuously improve on the impact and outcomes of the services they provide. Meanwhile, as legacy systems continue to crumble, Federal acquisition lifecycles remain cumbersome and rarely provide the agility to get emerging technology on contract before it’s obsolete.

In light of these challenges, CIOs and others struggle to envision a comprehensive future state operating model that will guide legacy system modernization, introduce and integrate emerging technology, and optimize the IT operations that keep the lights on.

A future state operating model must allow for data standards to be established through internal planning and well-informed guidance. It must improve the security that is built into applications through DevSecOps practices. The model should also establish a portfolio of business and technical services that are API-driven, isolated, and reused; and have the mechanism to allow for the rapid introduction of emerging tools and technologies – all of which enables the goal of improving mission outcomes for agencies.

Forward leaning federal CIOs are transforming their IT operating models to design, deliver, and maintain services. The services life cycle is well documented with ITIL 2011. The movement toward a services-based organization is manifest by a shift in focus from projects to the design and delivery of products and services. The transformed operating model is about brokering third-party, as-a-service offerings as well as building them, and it is about building and maintaining user experiences on platforms rather than full stack, custom developed solutions.

The principles of IT-as-a-Service that drive the digital federal enterprise are subjective and will likely be unique for any organization. However, most CIOs undergoing this transformation tend to focus their services-based operating model on the following: Mission Enablement, IT Planning and Advisory, Service Operations Planning, Services Portfolio and Services Architecture.

In future blogs, we will dive deeper into Principles of IT-as-a-Service and the various practices of the transformative IT operating model enabling the Federal Digital Enterprise.