Count on IT: The Evolution of Digital Modernization

Headshot of Amy Gilliand, GDIT President
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This week, I had the opportunity to welcome attendees at our 2021 GDIT Emerge Conference on Digital Modernization. Hundreds of participants from across industry and government participated and contributed to a very healthy dialogue about the latest trends in technology, partnerships and talent, and how we can work together to meet the challenges and opportunities of these dynamic times.

As we look at the technology and customer landscape today, several factors shape the priorities for federal agencies and industry moving forward. Our customers tell us they want more innovative ideas from their contractors to dramatically advance their mission capabilities, more efficient and cost-effective ways to run their IT operations, and better tools to predict and prevent disruptions or threats to services. In a budget constrained environment – where procuring new technologies means extracting cost from existing solutions – it is clear that systems integrators must reimagine our role. For decades, we have served alongside our customers developing deep mission knowledge. Today, we must use that knowledge as a bridge to drive greater tech sector collaboration and develop cohesive strategies and best-in-technology solutions that help advance the journey.

With this as our mandate, GDIT is pursuing ongoing investments and partnerships to take these challenges and opportunities head on and create new paths for customer success. In a continuously evolving landscape, we have placed a premium on our ability to identify next-generation commercial technologies that meet our customers’ mission requirements. Commercial alliance partnerships are a crucial element of our strategy to drive innovation in the Federal and state marketplace. We have shifted our investment approach to not just partner with companies that have very leading-edge capabilities and new ideas but to focus squarely on the implementation side, which means we have the right skills to deploy commercial products, support and operate them in an agency environment to meet our customers’ objectives.

Exciting things are happening in the digital modernization space:

  • The use of Artificial Intelligence and intelligent automation is moving rapidly into traditional IT services like Cyber, Cloud and Enterprise IT. More and more, AI will transform mission areas like intelligence analysis, fraud waste and abuse prevention, and environmental protection.

  • While adoption of Cloud services has increased, agencies are still challenged with how to take advantage of them at an enterprise level and across multiple providers. At GDIT, we are doing this by migrating multiple Civilian, Defense and Intelligence agencies’ applications and data to the cloud where new development platforms and tools can be accessed in support of agency modernization efforts.

  • 5G is on the horizon and can start delivering benefits today, particularly in adding speed and capacity to private networks that reside on military bases, in office buildings, on hospital campuses and in field sites. As 5G networks expand within and outside of major cities, we will see transformative benefits in areas like telehealth, disaster response and supply chain management.

  • With vast amounts of commercial technology available to solve government problems, it is encouraging to see increased agility in procurement to allow for testing and prototyping of these technologies in the agency environment. Vehicles such as Other Transactional Authorities—or OTAs—offers a whole new agile approach to accelerate technology adoption and deployment.

But the reality is none of this gets accomplished if agencies do not have access to talent capable of adapting and applying technology to new requirements. My number one concern and therefore my number one priority is retaining technical talent.

The “war for talent” – especially in our industry – is very real, as is attrition of technologists supporting government programs. This tells us we can’t just focus on attracting new talent to our organizations; we also need to continuously and intentionally “re-recruit” the talent we already have with an increased focus on career development, including access to meaningful technical training and certifications and opportunities for internal mobility so these talented individuals remain a resource for our government customers.

Connecting the seams between technology and talent is foundational to strengthening our national security and better serving citizens moving forward. With the advent of the fourth industrial revolution, technology is advancing at an incredibly rapid pace--offering immense possibilities.

When government and industry work together, we can seize these opportunities, but the only way to do so is with the very best people. When we pair cutting-edge technology with exceptional talent, we have a powerful combination that will position us to succeed. It’s an exciting time to be in this industry and on this journey.

For more insights from the Emerge Technology Series vist the Emerge page.