The Right Approach to Modernization: Start with the Mission

Gwen Cadieux
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The most important element to well-designed modernization effort is to start with the problem that needs to be solved or outcome to be delivered. This “outside-in” approach starts with that understanding, followed by an examination of the process needed to make that a reality and finally, identifying the right technologies to get there.

Yet far too often, agencies instead start with a specific technology or solution and can get what I call the “shiny object syndrome”: something new hits the market, and they decide they have to have it. It’s technology for technology’s sake. To that, I say, okay, that's great, but what problem are you trying to solve with that? Do you really need that right now?

This was the subject of a recent interview I had with Federal News Network about enterprise modernization done right.

Today, federal agencies are finding success in an incremental but continuous approach to digital modernization, which can deliver improvement faster than the outdated grand design, big bang or waterfall development approaches of the past. The true driver is the speed of change, and how quickly new capabilities and technologies are needed.

It’s an iterative process. You don’t really have the time to wait until you get all the way to the end. So, expect (and embrace!) a continuous development mindset.

Emerging technologies such as 5G telecom, robotic process automation, and artificial intelligence are already starting to transform mission delivery and, with that, bring all sorts of new efficiencies to agencies. But this does not diminish the importance of establishing the mission need for using emerging tech.

Make sure to involve a variety of stakeholders with a stake in the modernization effort, including end users. After all, these are the people who will tell you the honest truth about what's working, what's not working, or where they feel a technology can better support them.

Learn more about how GDIT approaches Digital Modernization.