One of the greatest challenges of digital transformation is not technical, it’s mental and emotional. Technology never stops evolving. To modernize your infrastructure you have to change your mindset, because you will always be evolving what you do and how you do it. You’re never done.

That was one of the big discussions at our recent government IT breakfast session in D.C. at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel’s Crystal Ballroom hosted by CenturyLink and FedInsider. In addition to discussions of the General Services Administration (GSA) Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) contracting vehicle, attendees interacted with two panels: “The Future of Government Networks” and “Securing the Federal Enterprise.”

The discussion around mindset change received coverage in government-oriented media (here and here for instance). It’s one of several important ideas we talked about at the breakfast. The life cycle of GSA contract vehicles, like EIS, is not at all synced with the relentless pace of technology evolution. That’s one of the reasons that GSA’s education effort on EIS is geared toward embracing digital transformation. Consolidating Networx and other contract vehicles into one path forward makes it as easy as possible for vendors and agencies to work together today and into the future.

Network modernization is one of the cornerstones of the transformation that GSA is driving. Our panel on the future of government networks left me with two takeaways:

 

  • The change is driven by end-user demand for a secure network that’s accessible anytime, anywhere
  • The transition from a hardware-based network platform to a software-defined network is just beginning

The two items are intertwined. A Software Defined Network (SDN) approach is a key strategy for creating that flexible network and building in security where you need it.

The mindset change theme animated our panel on securing the federal enterprise. Two key takeaways for me were:

 

  • Elevating the CISO role to a seat at the agency leadership table is an important step to driving the security mission within an agency
  • Zero Trust networks, where traffic within the network is interrogated in addition to defending the perimeter, will enhance user ability to communicate from anywhere at anytime

And all that is just one breakfast worth of discussion. EIS is an important step toward modernizing the federal enterprise. GSA has done us all a great service by giving us the vehicle to embrace transformation as a new mindset. As Dave Young says, “It’s not just a journey. It’s a lifestyle.”

Thanks to everyone for turning out and everyone involved in putting on the program. We are still at the beginning of EIS transformation, so there will be many more opportunities to get together as a group.

If you missed the event, you still have an opportunity to hear details from the briefing on the FedInsider Webinar on August 23. Register here. And if you’re ready for that lifestyle change, contact us for a free consultation.


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