We have moved beyond an era of big data to an era of data chaos. Sure, this chaos comes from ever-increasing volumes of data, but more importantly, it comes from data sources exploding at such a rapid pace that their variety and velocity is outpacing the capabilities of legacy government systems.
Many agencies still have inflexible and often unsecure platforms, which are ill equipped to tame the chaotic and never-ending flood of information. At the same time, agency costs and procurement constraints make it challenging to implement crucial system overhauls.
Will the recent passing of the Modernizing Government Technology Act (“MGT Act”) into law clear the federal logjam of modernizing IT systems? Many agency leaders are hopeful that this new opportunity to turn single-year funding into three-year funding will help. However, once MGT is in full swing, the next, steep challenge will be to figure out the best mix of immediate priorities when it comes to data management.
The stark reality that comes with the barrage of IT challenges and strikes fear in the hearts of many agency leaders is: how can they allocate substantial portions of their IT budget to efforts like data modernization when so many other mission-critical assets are clamoring for those same dollars? Where do they start? With three basic foundations.
1st: License Modernization
In many cases, agencies realize they must modernize or they’ll put data at risk. From administering veteran’s benefits to keeping terrorists at bay, data now drives nearly every mission the government undertakes. Data today is as foundational to mission success as electricity or water. Given this reality, data modernization is a necessary step to ensure you can handle the scale and complexity of the continued data chaos.
Legacy data platforms require modernization due to legacy operating systems, inferior hardware, outdated database software, or other supporting infrastructure that is at or near end of life. Migration from legacy operating systems like Solaris to Linux is recognized as necessary, but these efforts are often slowed because of perceived high perpetual software costs. Given data is the foundation of everything in today’s modern systems, ignoring these improvements could lead to a degradation of even the most recent modern application investments.
Database software providers like SAP NS2 recognize these challenges and have introduced programs to help decrease the traditional upfront costs associated with perpetual software by offering subscription-based licensing. By simply modernizing the way you are licensing your database software, you can take the first step in data modernization. Embracing this model lowers your upfront cost while offering greater flexibility as data volume grows. This simple change allows you to evolve quickly and effectively, helping you to control the data chaos without throwing the operations budget into disorder.
2nd: Infrastructure Modernization
Most agencies also know that beyond just operating systems’ modernization, virtualized and cloud-based systems offer greater agility, security, and performance than ever before. With security accreditations like FedRAMP, IL4/5 agencies are now more comfortable than ever with leveraging cloud-based solutions. The lower total cost of ownership of cloud infrastructures paired with modern licensing models means substantial cost savings with lower security risk.
We have all experienced the frustration of the six- to twelve-month procurement cycle, but with tools like MGT funding and migration to a cloud-based system, wholesale data modernization can be accomplished in days or weeks compared to months and years.
A secure data cloud such as SAP NS2 Secure Data Cloud can provide a secure, reliable, and flexible cloud-based data platform. By leveraging FedRAMP and IL4/5 level accredited infrastructure from cloud data providers like Amazon and Microsoft, SAP NS2 can provide a variety of securely managed databases in a single location, at a lower cost. With these platforms and capabilities in place, federal agencies’ data can be gathered, stored, and deployed strategically, while still providing appropriate governance and security.
3rd: Control the Chaos
Given the exponential number of data sources and increasing data volume, traditional mass centralization of data is no longer a viable solution. Instead, modern data management solutions should be prepared to equip teams with data operations tools that govern all data, regardless of the source. These tools should empower you to aggregate, correlate, and identify a single source of the truth from your data.
Solutions such as SAP Data Hub are specifically designed to automate and audit data without mass aggregation, while ensuring agencies follow an organization’s policy and compliance requirements. Leveraging this approach will allow federal agencies to gain full control of their existing and incoming data while still enabling analysts to successfully carry out correlation, analysis, and dissemination at the speed required for the mission.
However financially and operationally feasible, data modernization is not without risk. The team at SAP NS2 is a 100% U.S.-based team that understands the risks and is laser-focused on delivering the services and support that ensure mission success throughout the transition. We have made it our mission to create trusted data environments that fit each agency’s budget, security concerns, collaboration needs, and more.
For further information check out this 4-minute video summary of a recent webinar I presented on data modernization, or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Subscription-Based IT is Coming—and That’s a Good Thing for Federal Agencies