Federal Modernization Challenges and Priorities for FY20

By Jessica Parks, Analyst

Data visibility, cloud and emerging technologies were important themes at a the recent IT Modernization summit hosted by FCW. The conference sessions brought together acquisition and IT officials from a variety of federal agencies, small and large, both civilian and DOD, who shared how their agencies are delivering on modernization goals.

Here are more details about these topics and advice on how you can position your company and solutions to stand out from the crowd.

Data Visibility

Agencies need improved visibility into their data. Data is the cornerstone of multiple technologies, powering AI and machine learning algorithms and bolstering cybersecurity efforts. It is, quite simply, crucial for government agencies to be able to gain as much insight into their data as possible in order to keep pace with rapid technological developments. Don Heckman, Principal Director in the Deputy Chief Information Office for Cybersecurity at DOD, noted that “visibility into assets is a huge challenge” for the agency.

Applicable technologies range from data integration tools and visualization to reporting and metrics software. If your solution can ultimately offer greater visibility into the agency’s data, especially unstructured data, they would like to hear from you, especially if they are exploring emerging technologies.


Cloud is finally happening – but with some bumps along the way. After much talk and strategizing, federal agencies are finally starting to move to cloud with positive results. James Gfrerer, Assistant Secretary for Information and Technology at the Department of Veterans Affairs noted that the VA moved its enterprise IAM to the cloud and availability increased from 70% to 99%. They also plan to have half of all applications living in the cloud by 2024. However, he also noted that the agency has experienced issues with its early cloud migrations, as certain applications struggled to function in a cloud environment.

Make no mistake, there is still much opportunity in the cloud space for vendors and resellers. As agencies move to cloud, they are especially going to need support in data integration, security and identity access management. Moreover, according to Troy Schneider, editor in chief at FCW and GCN, agencies are now focused on “mission-specific modernization” – so be sure to connect the dots between your cloud solution and the agency’s goals.

Emerging Technology

Emerging technology holds much promise, but government is largely still exploring possible applications. Lower-level AI is already in limited use. Mitchell Williams from the Chief Procurement Office at the IRS noted that with the introduction of a bot to automate the responsibility determination process for a procurement, the time to complete shrunk from 1-4 hours to a mere 5 minutes.

Agencies are mostly still researching potential uses of emerging technology – but there is still room for vendors even at this stage in the game —  especially at VA. David Maron at the VA noted that they are working in “sprints” with industry to see what kinds of tools companies can develop if provided (non-sensitive) data. While there is no immediate payoff, collaborating with an agency in this way could put you in an advantageous position for future opportunity.


Keep on top of government IT trends. Subscribe to immixGroup’s Government Sales Insider blog.

If you missed the Government IT Sales Summit held on November 21, on-demand videos of the Civilian and DOD budget briefings will be available on the immixGroup website starting on December 17! 

About Jessica Parks
Jessica Parks is an analyst with the Market Intelligence team at immixGroup, providing actionable analysis to help technology suppliers shorten their sales cycles. She holds a B.A. from the College of William and Mary and an M.A. in political science from UNC Chapel Hill.

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