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How Agencies Can Incrementally Innovate Through Their Digital Journey

Cameron Chehreh, CTO, Dell EMC Federal

June 21, 2019  |  Cloud

As the federal government continues the digital transformation journey, it must also deal with financial constraints of such a huge undertaking. Agencies cannot simply toss aging data storage in favor of a fully cloud-enabled environment, nor can they dismiss their network for a software-defined system, nor easily offload hardware in favor of virtualized devices.

Transformation is not an all at once, all or nothing effort, there are incremental steps that can be implemented on the journey to a modern infrastructure. These topics were highlighted most recently  at last month’s Dell Technologies World Conference.

As agencies begin to transform legacy systems, they need to shift focus on the investment side, versus balancing those investments with maintenance. Right now, most agencies have very little money reserved for innovation, with many spending about 80 percent of their IT budgets on upkeep of current systems. As that number begins to swing closer to 50/50, there are a few suggested areas agencies can focus on.

  1. Multi-cloud Infrastructure

It’s important that agencies build the foundation for digital transformation with highly-efficient multi-cloud environments. The federal government stores, transfers and analyzes massive amounts of data, some of which is very sensitive and other that must be data readily available to the public. Because of this, agencies need a myriad of storage options and the ability to shift data through different containers.

Multi-cloud is the best solution as it offers a variety of on- and off- premises clouds, allowing agencies to shift data to whichever option makes the most sense. The foundation of a multi- cloud architecture is based on an effective private cloud with the ability and tools to seamlessly integrate with a variety of cloud providers. This enables a new way to build, operate and consume IT services tailored for each unique mission-driven need.

  1. Hyperconverged Infrastructure

For agencies, hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) can help them scale up as they find more money to invest in innovation. HCI streamlines the three core functions of a data center—compute, storage and networking—and virtualizes them. This creates a software-defined IT environment that makes it easier to align your infrastructure and your workload.

Because HCI transforms the hardware of a traditional data center into software, it’s a lot easier to evolve your system as you continue to modernize and your agency’s mission evolves. You no longer have the need to switch out or add on costly hardware. As you scale up and out you no longer require physical space, allowing you to realize significant cost savings paired with an agile platform for innovation.

  1. Automation

These initial investments, if leveraged correctly, can make a difference in a successful digital journey. As agencies’ digital needs grow, the tech must be able to grow and scale with them. Automation is just another tool to assist.

As mission requirements explode, the government can’t endlessly hire people. Instead, they must scale beyond human capacity by investing in automated platforms that can take care of the big lifts, while leaving humans to take on the fine detail work that requires more creative and strategic thinking.

Take cyber security, for example. Analysts don’t have the time to comb through the tens of thousands of threats that come in every day. Nor is it a good use of resources to use these experts when the majority are false alarms. Instead, an agency can automate the culling of flagged activity so cyber analysts can focus fully on the serious threats.

These are just three of suggested investments for agencies looking to make the leap in to transformation that can be done quickly and cheaply. Digital transformation can be daunting, but that shouldn’t stop anyone from pushing forward in their journey.

Dell EMC, along with our strategic partners like Iron Bow, are here to help. We offer a full portfolio of solutions and services to optimize federal data centers and build the framework for digital transformation. We help agencies reduce technical debt by modernizing from the edge to the core to the cloud.

For more information, visit the Iron Bow website.

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