So often in the federal IT community, we get lost in discussion about the latest shiny gadgets and the million-dollar acquisitions to get them. But many CIOs would tell you, their biggest concerns are around the people and the process behind the technology — things like policy, risk management, culture, the workforce and more.
In its newest podcast, Let’s Talk About IT, FedScoop will interview senior technology leaders to explore what’s going on at agencies behind the systems and software to uncover success stories and best practices that can be applied governmentwide.
Episode 1, sponsored by Splunk, focuses on IT modernization. Guests Dorothy Aronson, CIO of the National Science Foundation, and Adilson Jardim, area vice president for public sector sales engineering at Splunk, Inc. discuss the buzz around federal modernization, what exactly it means as differentiated from legacy IT, and what progress is being made.
“From the NSF perspective…we’re like a petri dish for modernization in that we’re a small agency, a single-mission agency…and we have sufficient funding to try new things out,” Aronson said. “We really started maybe 10 or so years ago modernizing the infrastructure below the legacy systems.”
Aronson said she believes the recent uptick in talk about IT modernization coincided most closely with 2015’s FITARA.
Jardim, though, goes back to the Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996 as when it all started.
“We started to see a shift in patterns in terms of how the investments were justified, and that led to a number of other initiatives, like enterprise architecture definitions and consolidating and formalizing the role of the CIO in agencies,” he said. “It’s really, I think, a continuum of that discussion that began in the mid-90s in terms of moving off of really large backend mainframe processing types of environments and then trying to web-enable technology and trying to get ahead of that curve.”