“Are we building tomorrow’s legacy technology today?”
Those were the words of acting U.S. Chief Information Security Officer Grant Schneider during last week’s Digital Transformation Summit, hosted by FedScoop. I sat in on his presentation to hear about the White House’s view on cybersecurity — as the session was promoted — but I came away thinking much more about IT modernization.
It’s not exactly earth-shattering to say that the federal government has a technology problem. There’s a reason why I believe federal IT will never be hotter, because there is a desperate need across many federal agencies to embrace new technology.
But nothing is ever that easy with the government, and it seems like the discussion about a true IT transformation will never end, while the actions necessary are never taken.
That’s why I found Schneider’s five keys — in his eyes — when it comes to the government purchasing industry tools so intriguing. I shared them below, and I think it’s critical reading for any technology company, established or new, to consider when selling to the government.
1. It Needs to be Simple
Schneider brought up the example of Apple and how easy it can be for anyone to pick up an Apple device and understand how it works. If a solution is too complex or too time-consuming to implement, then its value has already been diminished.
2. It Has to be Agile
I don’t think anyone in the room was surprised to hear the “agile” buzzword again when discussing new technologies. But it’s worth remembering that agile is more than a buzzword, it’s a necessity.
3. It Must Have the Ability for Integration
I actually found it amusing that he brought up Apple in the first example, since Apple has been notorious for not playing well with others. However, when it comes to large-scale enterprise solutions for the government, technology must play nice with other technologies.
4. It Must be Affordable
Thought I hope we are past the lowest price, technically acceptable days, the federal government, especially under this administration, is focused on reducing costs across the board. If your solution is too expensive, the government is going to pass on it.
5. It Must be Secure
Before you roll your eyes and say, “duh,” Schneider was making more than the obvious point. There are always ways to improve the security of a technology solution, he said, but the key is acquiring technology that is “secure right out of the box.”
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