Like their counterparts in industry, the pandemic has accelerated the cloud migration plans of government agencies. Cloud’s compelling business cases regarding scalability and reliability took on a new urgency due to COVID-19.
Agencies had to adapt quickly to accommodate a deluge of unemployment requests, escalating contact tracing activities and broad citizen engagement initiatives.
While the cloud’s scalability and reliability have proven vital to accomplishing those tasks, there are numerous other benefits of cloud adoption within government agencies, particularly around the modernization of legacy applications. Here are a few:
Legacy applications can hamper even the best of intentions. Managing technical debt can be costly and time-consuming, distracting you from more important citizen-impacting initiatives. The beginning of cloud migration is the perfect time to re-evaluate your application footprint.
A common first step is to review your applications through the lenses of the 6 R’s — Remove, Retain, Replatform, Rehost, Repurchase, and Refactor. This rubric is a good way to sort and prioritize your legacy applications for a cloud migration. We even recommend going a step further and also considering the 5 W’s.
From there, you need to make decisions regarding how “modern” to make your legacy applications. There are no right or wrong answers, just what is right for your timeline, budget and team knowledge.
For instance, a complete refactoring leveraging microservices will make your application nimbler and more cost-effective from an infrastructure standpoint. However, you could have significant refactoring costs depending on your starting point, and you may have challenges supporting it with your team’s existing skillset. Depending on your situation, you may want to choose a more intermediary step, such as a lift-and-shift approach using containers.
The impending departure of Baby Boomer aged employees in public service due to retirement, also known as the “Silver Tsunami,” is at the front of many people’s minds. Their departure leaves a considerable knowledge loss.
However, this workforce attrition can also serve as an opportunity. As discussed in the last point, refactored legacy applications are easier to maintain. Thus, the risk associated with employee departure lowers as you transfer application maintenance knowledge between employees with more ease.
Another benefit is that candidates are attracted to the prospect of working with the latest technologies. It is much easier to convince a new college grad to develop cloud-based software with serverless architecture than it is to maintain monolithic legacy applications.
Add in modern best practices such as fully automated testing, Continuous Integration and Deployment practices, and agile methodologies to see your developer agility and satisfaction skyrocket.
Having a cloud foundation is essentially table stakes for implementing innovative services for your citizens. Cloud allows your organization to capture and process more data. You can then leverage building blocks, making development more efficient. More efficiency means more time for the value-add work that leads to new ideas. Those new ideas give rise to prototypes, which you can spin up and out much faster. And as your innovation gathers speed, the cloud scales easily with your growth.
A few cloud-enabled examples of citizen-focused initiatives:
Both the private and public sectors are undergoing COVID-19 accelerated cloud migrations. The practicality of being able to scale as needed while also managing a reliable, secure environment is rapidly become an operational necessity. However, organizations can truly harness the cloud’s power when they also look to modernize their legacy applications.
Gaining agility while also better serving your employees and citizens turns a cloud migration into an organizational transformation.