Federal Technology Debt
Information Technology (IT) modernization is one of the hottest topics in government today as modernization has such an impact on every organization’s efficiency and mission readiness. IT modernization for government is imperative in order to deliver the necessary levels of functionality and long-term operability along with robust security. Unfortunately, due to the lack of well-planned and coordinated management of technology investments, costly IT projects have often resulted in failure resulting from the delivery of technologies that are obsolete by the time they are completed. The government has largely missed the mark on this transformation. Of the $80+ billion in the federal IT budget, approximately 80 percent is obligated to maintaining legacy IT investments.
The general public is well aware of the federal government’s financial debt, which is over $20 Trillion and growing. It is also well known and universally viewed as a future barrier in our government’s ability to pay for tomorrow’s required services. Over $390 Billion of the government’s annual revenues are required to service this debt. What is not well known is the federal government also has Technology Debt.
Technology Debt is defined as the operating costs associated with maintaining legacy systems. As the legacy IT spend continues towards legacy systems and infrastructure, many estimates over the next five years have agencies accumulating more than $70 billion in technology debt – with legacy hardware and software with its affiliated costs that need to be replaced or updated.
Federal legacy environments carry both an operating cost and a cost of change that becomes prohibitive as technology debt continues to accelerate. Unmanaged debt will continue to increase agencies costs and reduce agility over time. Technology debt should be measured and tracked the same as any other liability to government. Unless steps are taken, agencies will continue to face an increasing amount of Technology Debt and inefficiency.
CMA Technology is focused on delivering solutions through our Modernization Program and Technology Fund to help reduce the Technology debt and support these critical times in government IT.