Government is undergoing a transformative phase in technological modernization. Citizens have grown accustomed to the level of customer experience quality they receive from commercial companies, and increasingly expect the same from government. With pressure mounting, it is becoming incumbent upon government to ramp up its IT modernization efforts to improve internal data management, utilization and security, and thereby enhance the end users’ experience — i.e., the way constituents interact with all levels of government.

For many agencies, embracing innovation along the lines of the private-sector model has enabled them to drastically improve the way they support and serve constituents. However, before choosing a commercial solution to help ease the government’s IT modernization “growing pains,” it is imperative that agency IT leaders understand where their most critical needs lie and develop a coherent picture of the underlying causes slowing their digitization efforts.

Understanding government IT modernization pain points

The most significant challenges agencies experience throughout the IT modernization journey are managing workflow continuity, leveraging the immense quantity of data made available by modernization, and guaranteeing security and governance across hybrid and multi-cloud environments.

First, as government expands cloud adoption — spreading its data across an array of public and private clouds and on-premise infrastructure — maintaining visibility and workflow continuity along siloed data centers is becoming increasingly difficult.

Additionally, as innovative technologies, such as edge computing-based “internet of things,” expand data sources and cause the quantity of data to skyrocket, the ability to contextualize data sets and glean actionable insights from them has become a major priority, while posing significant challenges. Though the cloud enables storage and management of big data, agencies need adequate tooling to make good use of that data to improve internal processes and citizen-facing services.

Finally, guaranteeing security and governance across hybrid, multi-cloud environments is no easy feat as the cybersecurity landscape grows in complexity. Developing a resilient, secure government that can continuously adapt to withstand dynamic cyberthreats is the number one priority for agencies embarking on their IT modernization journeys.

So how should agencies address the growing pains of IT modernization?

Understanding and leveraging an enterprise data cloud

Government stands to benefit from an enterprise data platform, tailored to each agency’s unique mission needs, that can guarantee visibility and workflow continuity across hybrid and multi-cloud systems; enable them to extract real-time, actionable insights from data located across private and public clouds, as well as on-premise infrastructure using artificial intelligence and machine learning; and maintain a continuously evolving security apparatus to safeguard government and citizen data.

As government moves further into the Cloud Smart era, it is important that the public sector understands the key components and benefits of an enterprise data cloud so that they align their IT modernization initiatives with the principles laid out in the federal strategic outline while making the most of their data wherever it lives — from the edge to AI. These are just a few of the core components and key benefits of an enterprise data cloud:

  • Meets the data where it is — An enterprise data cloud offers complete visibility throughout an agency’s data lifecycle, offering IT teams comprehensive and seamless command-and-control over data at all times.
  • Derives data insights with AI/ML — For an agency to truly be “data-driven,” it must be able to apply multiple analytics to data wherever it is located. An enterprise data cloud utilizes cutting-edge AI and machine learning applications to maximize the benefits of big data by processing real-time data from the edge, on-prem, and in any cloud — predicting key outcomes and solving pressing challenges.
  • Guarantees data security — Security is priority #1 for government agencies. An enterprise data cloud provides agencies with a coherent approach to security — irrespective of their deployment preference and infrastructure provider(s) — by maintaining strict enterprise-grade data privacy, governance, data migration and metadata management requirements across all environments where agency data resides.

An enterprise data cloud empowers public sector decision-makers and IT teams to get clear, actionable insights from complex data anywhere, from the edge to AI. As the public sector further embraces IT modernization in the aim of improving government processes and enhancing the quality of citizen engagement, the need for an enterprise data cloud to manage, leverage and secure government data will only continue to grow.

Shaun Bierweiler is vice president and general manager, public sector, at software company Cloudera.