Jun 20 2024

4 Steps to Modernizing Agency Applications

It’s clear app modernization is hindering federal IT modernization efforts more broadly.

Agencies need to modernize their applications in order for their digital transformation efforts to progress.

Yet 35 percent of federal IT leaders cited software as the biggest barrier to their tech modernization efforts, which only 43 percent said are a current priority for their agency, according to an EY survey of 300 such decision-makers in October.

With app modernization holding up agencies’ broader IT modernization, it’s imperative they begin making informed decisions that maximize software efficiency and tangibly benefit their missions. Below are four steps IT leaders can take to advance app modernization:

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1. Start with an App Assessment

Numerous factors come into play when plotting an app modernization strategy: mission objectives, technology landscape and resource constraints among them. Conducting comprehensive assessments enables agencies to gain a holistic understanding of their existing apps, identify critical pain points and establish roadmaps. A full app inventory, complete with a clear definition of each app’s mission value, can help you avoid duplication and clarify how apps fit into your agency’s long-term strategy.

2. Follow Up with a Source Code Analysis

It’s common for agencies to underestimate the significance of analyzing existing app source code. Failing to assess the codebase thoroughly can lead to unexpected challenges, such as dependencies, technical debt, and outdated frameworks that can cause delays, increase costs and undermine modernization efforts. Conducting a comprehensive analysis of the source code provides vital insights into the existing app architecture, potential risks and areas that require attention.

App Mod TOC


3. Automate Your Application Portfolio Analysis

Automated application portfolio analysis offers a transformative alternative to the traditional approach to portfolio analysis, which can involve numerous meetings, phone calls and email exchanges with team members. Automated tools and techniques allow agencies to efficiently assess their app portfolios, gain actionable insights and accelerate the decision-making process. Automation reduces the burden on employees and frees up valuable time and resources for other critical tasks.

4. Rationalize and Prioritize Apps Before Deciding on Tech

In a well-planned app modernization project, technology decisions should be the final step in the process after rationalization and prioritization. Rationalization involves evaluating the suitability of each app for modernization, considering factors such as mission value, complexity and alignment with strategic goals. Prioritization ensures that resources are allocated to projects with the highest potential for positive impact. By following this approach, agencies can avoid investing in technology prematurely and make informed decisions that maximize ROI.

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