GSA Takes the Lead on App Rationalization
The GSA is the agency that is setting the pace for other federal agencies and departments when it comes to application rationalization, and IT leaders there have some advice for their peers to follow.
“One of the main things I get people to concentrate on is not doing low-hanging fruit,” Stephen Naumann, senior adviser and data center practitioner with the GSA’s Office of Government-Wide Policy, said during a panel in December hosted by ACT-IAC and the IBM Center for the Business of Government, according to Nextgov. “That’s too easy. You’re just moving something from one place to another. And really annoying the technicians when you do that if you’re not getting the bang for the buck.”
When agency IT teams are deploying new technologies, they are often advised to go for quick wins to demonstrate to agency leaders the value of the transition. However, Naumann advised against agencies doing so when it comes to application rationalization. Instead, as Nextgov notes, he said that IT teams should focus on pain points and the apps that everyone has a problem with.
“Every organization has something in their enterprise that’s a problem child. Every Monday morning after a change weekend, something’s gone wrong or you’ve had a major outage,” he said. “Look at a problem child and then concentrate on that. If you go through the application rationalization process and you make their lives significantly better — whoever the users are for whatever that problem is — you’ve changed the culture, you’ve gotten buy-in on that.”
GSA is rationalizing its apps at a 9:1 ratio, CIO David Shive said in January at Cloudera’s 2020 Data Cloud Summit, and the agency will continue to invest in IT. For example, Shive said, GSA consolidated its customer relationship management system apps from about 1,800 down to 200, according to FedScoop.
GSA can use the money it saves to focus on other higher-value digitization efforts, Shive said. The agency cut costs by 17.8 percent in 2019, with 53 percent of workloads and spend in the cloud managed by just 30 percent of its infrastructure stack, FedScoop reports.
Meanwhile, the other 70 percent of agency infrastructure has been repurposed for work like cybersecurity and enterprise planning, Shive said, according to FedScoop.