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Business Transformation in Action

Joe McKendrick

The Feds' Thoroughly Modern Mainframes

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With the government taking in and spending trillions of dollars, we hope they are doing so in the most efficient way possible. A little bit of leakage or latency from a $250-billion initiative, after all, could mean a couple of billion dollars of waste.
In my last post, I discussed how an interoperability initiative between two giant agencies, the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs, could potentially, the words of one spokesperson, save billions.

That's why it was interesting to see Charles Krahling's piece here at ebizQ on government SOA, which drives the point home even deeper. For an organization as far flung with tends of thousands of legacy systems as the US government, SOA means huge savings and efficiencies.

Uncle Sam and his crew have a lot of work cut out for them, Charles observes, noting that
"changing business requirements (such as the demand for cross-agency data exchange, cost management control and the necessity for enhanced citizen services) make IT modernization a necessity.... As agencies move to transform IT systems to meet changing market demands, a low-risk strategy to bring aging applications into modern environments must be determined. The three most common methodologies available for government agencies to update existing IT systems are: rewrite, package or modernize."

Modernization makes the most sense, Charles says. "Economic drivers continue to spur government modernization initiatives, and SOA allows existing IT assets to integrate with many other languages and technologies. With SOA the required competitive edge can be created using COBOL or written in another language and then integrated into COBOL."

1 Comment


How can you ensure that noone is comprimising our government's military defense computer mainframe or remote viewing the IT technology! There has to be a failsafe system constantly changing to upgrade and hide strategies.

In this blog (formerly known as "SOA in Action"), Joe McKendrick examines how BPM and related business and IT approaches can promote business transformation.

Joe McKendrick

Joe McKendrick is an author and independent analyst who tracks the impact of information technology on management and markets. View more


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