How government is trying to get a more complete picture

By Mark Wisinger, senior analyst

It’s no secret there’s a vast amount of legacy systems still supporting government customers. Everyone has been talking about interoperability in government for years, but it remains a significant challenge as even more systems being used by agencies age past their initial life expectancy.

But despite the roadblocks, government agencies are working on different ways to enhance information sharing and incentivize interoperability, including using open APIs and architecture.

Margaret Palmieri, the acting director of the Navy’s Digital Warfare Office, recently explained at an AFCEA event on big data and sharing in a Joint Information Environment that her organization is focused on interoperability as the cost of readiness continues to increase. The Digital Warfare Office is looking at requirements across all its programs to help enhance information sharing and incentivize interoperability.

Throughout the Department of Defense, not just the Navy, data often remains very stove-piped. This is especially true with weapon systems, which are often designed with the frameworks of legacy systems in mind rather than open, interoperable architectures.  Siloed weapon systems data makes it much more difficult to get a clear picture of logistics and the supply chain. The lack of interoperability only compounds inefficiencies in the cost of logistics.

So how is government working toward interoperability? There’s a heavy emphasis on open APIs and architecture to help combat interoperability challenges and enhance information sharing. This will also be key in helping legacy systems in logistics and the supply chain keep up with the growth of the internet of things (IoT).

Tom Michelli, acting principal deputy of the DOD Chief Information Officer, spoke at the same event and pointed out how health care is an ideal sector for machine learning and AI, but interoperability is a major roadblock as siloed data inhibits AI’s effectiveness. The health care space is rife with stove-piped legacy systems, making interoperability a vexing challenge in this space. Expect the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Defense Health Agency to continue to place extra emphasis on open architectures and APIs as they are both in varying stages of replacing their electronic health records.

Across government, agencies are facing pressures to find efficiencies anywhere they can and they are intrigued by the promise of emerging technologies. A lack of interoperability disrupts both efforts. If you have tools that help government agencies connect the dots, both with their respective missions and in their business processes, you’ll find a receptive audience. The government also wants your solutions to be compatible with others so they don’t have to write the code to make it all fit. Understanding your customer and their needs for interoperability are essential. If you can incorporate these considerations in your messaging, you’ll find that it resonates with the government program manager sitting across from you.

Want to learn more about the government’s interoperability strategy? Click here to learn more about how immixGroup’s Market Intelligence team can help. 

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