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Operations / Software Development

Modernizing Your Tech Stack in the Public Sector

Many factors come into play when considering which parts of your tech stack to modernize within the parameters of your business goals.
Dec 8th, 2023 8:03am by
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Image from Andrea Izzotti on Shutterstock.

Software developers and platform engineers are increasingly pushed to modernize their tech stacks. When it comes to the public sector, it’s even more important to understand how legacy technologies can be refreshed to meet constituents’ demands and improve the security of systems and data. In the United States in recent years, the White House has put out a number of executive orders calling for improving digital public services, strengthening cybersecurity and highlighting the need to modernize legacy systems.

In a world where there are many options and costs that come with adapting to new systems and technologies, it can be difficult to know where to start while maintaining operational efficiency. Not to mention the need to balance competing requirements, such as fostering innovation and enforcing policies.

Meanwhile, organizations are embracing programs to upskill their employees as they deal with talent shortages. These programs, such as tech accelerators, have helped in-house talent receive entry-level training. When it comes to teams, it’s even more important that they’re upskilling to learn new methods to understand the underlying infrastructure and be able to write and deploy code efficiently.

Before you can understand which direction is best for your organization, consider these four areas:

  • Define your requirements and understand any trade-offs you might need to consider.
  • Audit your app portfolio and assess the best candidates to modernize first.
  • Create metrics that align with your goals (you are what you measure!)
  • Survey your development teams to create a smoother, more secure path to production.

Assess Your Tech Stack and Create a Modernization Strategy

Every business is at a different stage of its modernization journey, and it’s important to first assess the current state of your business’s applications and infrastructure. This would include auditing your apps, infrastructure, user interface, code, security and overall business goals.

Many factors come into play when considering which parts of your tech stack to modernize within the parameters of your business goals. In particular, the Department of Defense faces many challenges to stay on the cutting edge of technology, ranging from risk management to development burdens and constantly changing personnel.

In the public sector, modernizing legacy technologies is even more important to enable governments with future-ready solutions that can be built upon. This is key to driving productivity and cost efficiencies with platform engineers, developers and operators that will allow them to write code quickly and ensure top-tier infrastructure.

Software Innovation in the Military

When it comes to mission-critical applications, being on the cutting edge of operational speed is crucial for enabling your developer teams to release software faster while ensuring a regular user feedback loop.

The United States Marine Corps (USMC) has been focused on advancing and retaining its top-tier talent by creating a culture of learning through advanced digital literacy and seamless software advancements. It successfully built the Marine Corps Software Factory, which has allowed more Marines to learn how to code, understand cutting-edge technology and grow in their careers through this continuous learning hub.

The software factory built using VMware Tanzu Labs’ consulting services and VMware Tanzu Service Application has enabled the Marines to release software faster on a regular cadence, create a user feedback loop, and increase automation and self-service. This has also allowed the military to combine DevOps and agile software development methods to organize and reuse existing code. USMC’s developers can now worry less about the underlying infrastructure and focus on creating and delivering applications, all with built-in security features.

Putting It into Action

Part of modernizing your tech stack is upskilling your existing staff, which can advance them in their careers and make them more efficient in their roles. The U.S. government has been focused on providing its teams and organizations with new skills and advancements to continue adapting its systems.

Government organizations work with both in-house staff and contractors to work on software and deliver releases, however, there are many different options to staff your organization within a government agency. Depending on your goals, it might make sense to hire in-house IT staff and also work with contractors.

Whichever route you choose, there is a set of best practices to upskill your staff to ensure they are up to date on the most agile technology.

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