The administration's plan for a revolving $3 billion IT modernization fund is just starting to get some traction in Congress but Federal CIO Tony Scott is already looking to the next initiative to improve IT management in government.
The newest proposal doesn't have a name or implementation plan yet but Scott and the team at the Office of Management and Budget are pulling together best practices around bimodal IT management and plan to issue an official policy on how agencies should support and phase out legacy systems while bringing the latest technologies to bear on the mission.
"It's this world that most CIOs find themselves in, whether you're in the private sector or whether you're in the public sector," Scott said during a keynote at the Public Sector Innovation Summit on April 26. "Wanting to do innovative things and the right things that leverage cloud and virtualization and so on on the one hand. But you always have this set of things that's the old stuff — the legacy stuff, the bread-and-butter stuff that runs your agency — and you have to have some way of managing the old stack and the new stack."
Legacy IT has become a milestone around many agencies' necks, with some 80 percent of federal IT budgets going toward maintaining aging systems. It is the natural course of a growing IT environment, however managing old infrastructure, working through transitions and still making sure there is enough funding for new IT is a difficult task.
OMB is currently looking at potential governance structures and the required skill sets to pull off this type of management framework, though the details are a ways off.
"I'm not ready to announce any big program on that front yet," Scott said. "But I wanted to let you know where we're headed because our mind is very much focused on how we bring about the best of modern technology, modern platforms to the federal government and do it in a much faster way."