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Leveraging AI to modernize government IT systems

Over the past decade, federal agencies have embarked on a substantial IT modernization journey. The advent of generative AI and AI-enabled platforms is now offering novel tools and approaches to expedite these efforts. In a new FedScoop interview, Ben Snively, director and senior principal technologist at Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Ross Autry, AWS Partnership Executive – U.S. Federal Government at IBM, shed light on how AI is transforming federal IT modernization.

Snively emphasized that generative AI is improving various aspects of migration and modernization. For instance, AI tools are streamlining the understanding of application environments that need migration by analyzing documentation, design information, run books and code. “Tools like Amazon Q, a generative AI assistant, enable agencies to query and understand their content deeply, enhancing the efficiency and reducing costs of these processes,” says Snively.

Ross Autry highlighted that federal AI strategies, catalyzed by the 2023 Executive Order on Artificial Intelligence, have significantly lowered project costs and expedited timelines. “AI’s ability to map existing legacy systems, validate data integrity, and summarize code has streamlined these large-scale modernization projects, providing substantial value to federal agencies,” says Autry.

In addition, Autry pointed out that large-scale mainframe modernizations, a critical strategy for the IBM and AWS alliance, benefit immensely from AI. For instance, IBM used Amazon SageMaker to assess legacy code and suggest business rules in natural language. “This innovative approach has drastically reduced project times and costs, proving advantageous for federal clients,” says Autry.

A notable success story is the collaboration between IBM and the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. By implementing IBM’s Gen AI platform using Amazon Recognition and SageMaker, the VBA significantly reduced document processing times from six months to six hours, greatly improving service delivery to veterans.

In terms of AI governance and scaling, Snively explained that the AWS environment, which meets various compliance requirements, enables agencies to leverage AI services securely. “IBM’s extensive expertise and consultancy services complement AWS technology capabilities, ensuring that federal agencies can effectively solve their specific challenges using AI,” says Snively.

You can also hear more from other government leaders about driving cloud-first strategies in the public sector.

This video panel discussion was produced by Scoop News Group for FedScoop and underwritten by AWS.