We look forward to a new year and new opportunities for innovation and growth in the government contracting community. This past year, we experienced an increased emphasis on big data, insider threat, merging technology with health care, and the internet of things, among others.
WashingtonExec reached out to those most knowledgeable and experienced in the federal contracting space. We asked executives in and around the Beltway for insight on the direction they see the government contracting community heading in 2018. Topics discussed include M&A activity, public/private sector collaboration, cloud computing, the incoming millennial workforce in defense/IT/health care, talent retention and more.
Next in the series is NTT DATA Services Public Sector President Tim Conway. He’s responsible for NTT Data’s U.S. business with federal, state and local government agencies, and was an inductee into the 2017 edition of Wash100’s annual selection of influential leaders in the government contracting arena. Here are his insights:
Digital government will accelerate. Let’s face it, the demographic of the constituent is changing rapidly, from the Greatest Generation, to Gen X, to Gen Y and now the millennials are flooding the workforce.
Why does this matter? Millennials are a digital generation — they used computers as toddlers, searched the internet for elementary school science projects, and smartphones are a way of life. Millennials are invested in social channels to get information and communicate.
As an emerging constituent population, millennials will drive the digital revolution that changes how government operates and provides services. Imagine a future government, accessible from the palm of your hand — a secure smartphone connecting citizens to services.
This is where technologies like blockchain become vital to secure transactions and validate credentials. Providing access to government for all constituents, with a swipe of a finger. We might not be there in 2018, but we are moving toward this type of government/citizen interaction. It is what is expected. It is what citizens demand.
To see an acceleration in digital government, our government will have to modernize. Innovations in technology will be driven by investments in modernization. Modernization is paramount. The technical debt to maintain the existing legacy environment is estimated by Gartner to be as high as 70 percent in some agencies. This is crippling to the speed of government transformation. It is a legacy money-pit taking budget dollars away from investments in new technologies and innovation.
With the Modernizing Government Technology Act, we are going to see a push to modernize. Technology will be the impetus for breaking down silos and moving toward a data driven government. As natural by-product of modernization, we’ll see a significant movement to the cloud (adoption, virtualization, IT consolidation, cross-agency collaboration, shared services). Legacy modernization is also necessary for protection of government assets; legacy systems represent a significant vulnerability, which means modernization will be part of the cyber equation.
Hackers, threats, breaches and ransomware represent a seemingly endless stream of risks. These are dangers that are not going away. Our government is both vulnerable and target. Cybersecurity will definitely continue to be a priority in response to hacks and breaches, but we will also see the government simultaneously moving to a more proactive security posture.
We will see a collective defense in which IT security and IT operations teams are linked, working together to share accountability so security is not sacrificed while maintaining uptime and performance. Evolving in tandem with the threats are technology forward solutions to address them.
Blockchain is on the horizon. Right now, it is a hot topic. We will soon see government start pulling out of the research/pilot phase to actual projects, moving from “buzzword to implementation.” To research and pilot newer technologies, like blockchain, we may see more public, private and academic partnerships. It’s a win/win.
The internet of things is not a future concept — it is here. The volume of data generated by connected devices and sensors is unprecedented and growing. Data is everywhere. Data is king. It’s driving the nation and it’s our future —big data, advanced analytics, business and cognitive intelligence, machine and deep learning, data driven decision-making. It’s all about the data and our government has lots of data. It’s out there just waiting to be harnessed to help government make informed decisions to improve the lives of its citizens.
In fact, data is a key aspect of future smart government. Providing the information and services to citizens when, where, and how they wish to receive them. We can’t continue to just build more roads to solve our traffic challenges. Data can be analyzed to predict traffic patterns and through intelligent transportation innovations provide real-time solutions to reduce or eliminate congestion. Police can’t be everywhere. Smart cities of the future will be using biometric data along with real time video data and pattern recognition as a new means to protect citizens.
Today, doctors “practice medicine.” Tomorrow, health care professionals will have access to global information on trials, treatments and research and use artificial intelligence based solutions to prescribe the best case treatment for patients — improving quality and cost. Data is there just waiting to be harnessed to improve the lives of the citizenry.
Data will definitely be a big part of our future digital government experience.