Federal IT modernization efforts are getting a fresh boost with the awarding of new funds authorized by the United States Modernizing Government Technology (MGT) Act. This law, which Congress passed in March as part of the 2018 omnibus spending package, establishes a Technology Modernization Fund — currently appropriated at $100 million — from which agencies can borrow money to modernize legacy IT systems and infrastructure. It also authorizes agencies to create their own Working Capital Funds from unused appropriations or end-of-year funding to finance IT modernization efforts.
MGT Act funds that are used for modernization need to be repaid from the cost savings derived from the retirement or replacement of costly legacy systems. Consequently, agencies must develop well thought-out business cases that explain how their modernization projects will advance administration modernization priorities and reduce costs.
In June, administration officials announced the first three awards from the Technology Modernization Fund: a total of $45 million for projects at the departments of Energy, Agriculture, and Housing and Urban Development. Emily Murphy, administrator of the U.S. General Services Administration, called the awards “an important milestone for the future of IT modernization across the Federal Government.”
Those awards still leave $55 million available in the Technology Modernization Fund for modernization efforts. And plenty more funds are expected to be available once individual agencies set up their own Working Capital Funds.
So what insights do we have from those first few awards? What considerations will be important in the future as federal agencies approach the Technology Modernization Fund and their own Working Capital Funds as potential funding sources for IT modernization? Margaret Weichert, deputy director of management at the Office of Management and Budget, has said the Technology Modernization Fund will be used to accelerate IT modernization projects that support the President’s Management Agenda (PMA). The PMA, which was unveiled in March, calls on agencies to focus their modernization efforts on enhancing mission effectiveness, reducing cybersecurity risks, and building a modern IT workforce. To get there, the PMA encourages agencies to retire legacy IT systems, update systems that must remain on premise, embrace cloud solutions, and other strategies.
As agencies develop plans to shed legacy systems, update existing on-premises systems, and migrate workloads to the cloud, a critical ingredient needed at the very beginning is complete visibility into their IT environments. That may sound obvious, but many agencies struggle to develop a clear and comprehensive view of all the hardware and software they have in use. This comprehensive IT inventory is what informs the modernization plan — only by having this information in hand can agency planners identify what needs to be modernized and define the desired end state.
For example, from this comprehensive IT inventory, planners can see where they have duplication, where they are needlessly spending on software licenses, where they have IT assets beyond or approaching their end-of-life dates, and where they have opportunities for consolidation. This IT inventory is also where the important process of application rationalization takes place — going through every application to decide which can be retired, which can be moved to the cloud, which can be updated or consolidated, and which will be left as is.
It is also important to understand exactly what the licensing terms and costs are of an agency’s software inventory. These terms and costs typically change — sometimes dramatically — when software is consolidated or migrated to the cloud. Knowing these terms and costs at the beginning provides a critical baseline from which to compare against the modernization plan. This helps planners calculate cost savings and determine whether there is or is not a compelling business case for migrating specific software assets to the cloud.
Finally, once the modernization plan is decided and implemented, it is also critical to have a comprehensive view of the post-modernization IT environment to ensure that planned modernization actions, such as the removal or consolidation of specific assets, were actually taken.
This is where the Flexera Data Platform is an incredibly powerful tool for agencies. The Flexera Data Platform not only provides agencies a comprehensive view of their IT environments, it delivers that data in an automated, up-to-date, standardized, and highly enriched way that is highly actionable for a wide array of modernization use cases. IT asset data is enriched by our unparalleled Technopedia product — the world’s largest IT catalog — that includes more than 1.2 million hardware and software products and more than 150 million data points. Our team of 50 researcher experts provides roughly 2,000 market data point updates daily, ensuring that Technopedia is always up to date with the latest product information, including patches, end-of-life dates, acquisitions and mergers and plenty more. This unrivaled degree of visibility into an agency’s IT environment is why dozens of federal agencies have awarded Flexera more than 60 sole-source federal contract awards.
Having a comprehensive view of the IT environment is critical. But it is also important for federal enterprises to manage their sprawling inventories of software more cost-effectively. Flexera FlexNet Manager Suite For Enterprises does this by empowering IT and acquisition managers with an intuitive dashboard that flags areas of risk, instances of overspending, opportunities for reduced spending, and areas where licensing and management can be better optimized. Flexera FlexNet Manager Suite For Enterprises helps federal agencies simply and effectively manage their software estates; see what contract renewals are approaching; understand the cost and licensing implications of organizational decisions; and meet compliance needs. In short, with Flexera FlexNet Manager, federal agencies can realize significant efficiencies and cost savings in the management of their software inventories — and that enhances IT modernization business cases for MGT Act funding.
To learn more about how the Flexera Data Platform and Flexera FlexNet Manager delivers comprehensive, accurate, and actionable data for successful IT modernization plans, go to our website.