4 tech trends driving 2017 opportunities
- By Raj Parameswaran
- Jan 17, 2017
As we begin a new calendar year and embark under a new
administration, we will see many of the IT trends of the past year continue to
progress. The same technology drivers, such as the need to improve the security
of digital assets and the efforts to enhance digital platforms for engaging
citizens, will remain at the top of agency agendas. With the need to constantly
improve how government meets the needs of citizens coupled with the policies of
a new administration, we expect to see these trends take shape in some new (and
improved) ways in 2017.
Modernization was a huge topic in 2016, as Congress
considered multiple bills to authorize funds for retiring and replacing legacy systems.
The issue remains important as agencies discover vulnerabilities with legacy technology
systems, such as those exploited in the Office of Personnel Management breach.
We expect IT modernization to continue as a top priority for
2017, with agencies not only looking to address critical system and security shortcomings,
but also to align to current consumer demands and apply a consumer-centric approach
to meeting citizen needs.
Implementing large-scale modernization efforts require stakeholder
coordination across the enterprise, including the business, Information
Technology Office and procurement officials. Although it is an enormous
undertaking, we’ve already seen some of this process at work in the adoption of
IT modernization efforts, such as cloud computing.
In order to ensure successful implementations of
modernization IT initiatives, we will see a more dedicated and involved project
management office that includes agency management personnel. To help achieve
this, many large enterprise modernization initiatives will be divided into manageable
segments and implemented based on a prioritized roadmap.
Additionally, IT modernization initiatives will provide the
federal agencies the opportunity to enable a DevOps environment, resulting in
continuous integration of software and technology changes seamlessly to an
Nearly everything in our world is connected digitally and most
of our communication happens in a digital format. In 2016, due in large part to
the Obama administration’s focus on improving citizen service, we saw huge
progress in integrating digital technologies and services to improve the
Agencies are now prioritizing their digital service delivery
platform and we expect to see this commitment to improve citizen service continue,
as the effort has had bipartisan support and strong momentum across agencies
including Veterans Affairs, Social Security Administration and IRS.
We also see continued adoption of Agile methodology across government
agencies to facilitate an all-inclusive citizen engagement digital front. And,
because the digital delivery platform facilitates effective front-end
communication with citizens, the leveraging of analytical tools will help
agencies shape their digital service platforms to support a proactive, citizen-centric
and personalized service delivery.
In addition to seeing continual technology improvement and
more support for cost-efficient, multi-channel services, we predict that
streamlining the processes associated with the citizen experience will continue
to be a top priority for agencies, with an emphasis on delivering quantifiable
Government has embraced the need for data mining and
analytics to derive intelligence from heaps of enterprise data. While still
working through the process to optimally leverage this intelligence, in 2017, we
expect that many agencies are poised to take the next step toward an
Armed with increased access to data-driven insights, the
next wave will be focused on applying these intelligent insights in a proactive
manner. These insights can also be used with the application of algorithms and artificial
intelligence -trained systems to provide predictive analytics.
Agencies that deliver benefits to citizens, such as CMS,
NIH, CDC, IRS and the Social Security Administration, are particularly prime
for this revolution, as these insights can help predict patterns in benefits
and services and better prepare agencies to meet citizen needs. With these
algorithms, government could eventually predict and adjust services automatically
for optimal efficiency and results.
According to Verizon’s 2016 Data
Breach Investigations Report, government faces the potential for more
security incidents and data breaches than any other sector. Securing government
information has never been more critical, and major breaches in the past few
years have been devastating to agencies and citizens.
As government grapples with the new cyber frontier, most
agencies have understandably been operating in a reactive mode that prioritizes
cyber defense. But digital security is about more than information security
alone—it’s about securing every piece of digital content with a holistic
approach that includes both digitally-born and digitally–converted information.
It also needs to expand beyond protecting against targeted
intrusions like the OPM breach and consider the impact of “hacktivist” attacks
that disrupt critical infrastructure (physical and digital) and other
government operations or organized crime groups that steal and sell personal
Prevention, while critical, needs to happen in parallel with
education, detection, recovery and rebuilding. As the digital enterprise
continues to encompass more of our world, this will be a continued focus not
just in 2017, but also in the decades ahead.
Heading deeper into 2017, it’s important to remember that although
agencies are in transition, the government’s core missions remain essential.
The consistent message we hear from the new administration is one of
accountability, efficiency and outcomes.
Agencies will be under a microscope to deliver outcomes, and
the tools and processes that help them do that—like data analytics—will be
We also expect to see increased demand for quality
oversight, independent review, and rigorous checks and balances – and, of
course, a focus on cost reduction.
In addition, many of the new administration’s stated
priorities, including better services for veterans, a revised strategy for
health care insurance, and immigration reform, have primary or underlying
technology components that will be mandatory for success.
We expect to see these priorities significantly shape the
government technology landscape, and how the public and private sectors can
work together in support of continued improvement of citizen service delivery
Raj Parameswaran is President of Information Technology at MAXIMUS Federal.