By Dick Stark
On Tuesday, March 9, the Federal News Network’s Luke McCormack hosted a panel discussion with Dr. Raj Iyer, CIO, US Army, Dominic Cussatt, Acting CIO, Department of Veterans Affairs, and Heidi Myers, Deputy CIO, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The discussion revolved around IT modernization strategies and initiatives. Here is a short update.
Dr. Raj Iyer, CIO US Army, opened by discussing continuous modernization revolving around the warfighter to include unified network operations, data center optimization, and how to leverage new technologies to improve connectivity to the soldier– such as 5G and wearable sensors.
Dr. Iyer discussed how the Army migrated off a legacy training/accreditation system, GoArmyEd to a brand new system built from scratch in just over a year. The end result: a much-improved system at a significant cost savings. A top priority for Dr. Iyer moving forward is modernization of the Army’s ERP system, currently SAP, where they have just started to review current requirements from a policies, processes and technologies perspective.
Heidi Myers, deputy CIO ICE, gave a short update on how ICE supported full time telework by redesigning the network, deploying network hubs, and using Skype and Teams with lots of training.
Next, Heidi discussed ICE’s impressive GovCloud presence. ICE is fully in the cloud and has been for over a year with more than 150 systems lifted/shifted in just a relatively short time. DevSecOps and data analytics are major ICE cloud-based initiatives with the cloud assuming the majority of pilot projects especially to test interoperability and demonstrate tangible outcomes.
Sounding more like a large enterprise rather than a government agency, Heidi’s top priority is to accelerate delivery and improve speed to market. She has established a center of excellence to ensure applications “get out there quickly.” Heidi was most proud of a new tracking system that was deployed in just two weeks.
Dominic Cussatt, Acting CIO, Dept of Veterans Affairs pointed out that with a $6B budget and 400,000 employees, the VA is the size of a F10 company. With more than 20 million constituents, Digital transformation initiatives, especially in regard to customer service, are critical
Other than fighting the pandemic, VA’s move to the cloud is a top priority. Dominic pointed out that the VA has already moved 113 applications to the cloud with 62 more in process. And the good news: the VA’s more than 9M veterans did “not skip a beat,” that is, no service down time during the cloud migration process. Next up: chatbots for support of critical back office functions.
To sum up, RightStar offers excellent tools for digital transformations such as Jira Align to help ensure that enterprise strategic goals are properly aligned with the work being performed, and BMC Helix and Jira Service Management to make it easier to collaborate and get work done.