Elyon Strategies Blog

Modernization and Cloud Adoption: Modernization Overview

As state and local governments modernize and adopt cloud computing solutions, they have more greater potential to realize their business goals, including program delivery enhancements, new digital services, and IT performance improvement. This is achieved by: 

  1. increasing operational agility and performance in the delivery of technology services
  2. improving the design and delivery of digital services
  3. transforming and simplifying the way government does business through innovation
  4. accelerating the adoption of common technology platforms and shared services. 

The most desired outcome is for the government to be more agile to implement new highly scalable technologies as they become more rapidly available without the constraint of capital debt.

What is Modernization?

One of the ways modernization is achieved is through cloud adoption and one of the primary goals of cloud adoption is modernization. Most government decision makers understand the importance of adopting cloud technology to help achieve their modernization goals But, what is modernization? It is not an independent, discrete project. To be successful in your cloud journey, your government organization must view modernization as a practical step in your digital transformation journey – a journey which the public is driving. Modernization must be part of your organization's overall strategy and may require developing existing staff skill sets in new areas, and that requires an extensive change management process around the new technology.

Modernization empowers government transformation innovation and is an increasing imperative for state government departments and agencies to deliver services to citizens securely, efficiently, and effectively. The two most common reasons for embarking on a modernization journey are cost reduction and productivity enhancement. To achieve modernization, Elyon advocates that your organization leverage technology efficiencies, define measures of success, and align those measures with your organization’s strategy. According to statetechmagazine.com, modernization offers significant benefits to government agencies and the citizens they serve in both the short and long term, including: 

  • Better allocation of limited resources and simplified structure
  • Reducing the window of vulnerability to security threats
  • Addressing the skills gap in employees able to maintain the systems
Modernization and Cloud Adoption | Elyon Strategies

Modernization is not about replacing systems; it is about improving processes. It is not a one-time, one-size-fits-all solution, it is a journey that enables your organization to do new things faster and not just old things cheaper. It is an ongoing process that provides continuous improvement. Modernization can facilitate the movement of data and applications to the cloud. Your organization should understand the drivers for modernization and then develop a strategy to fit those drivers. You should also develop a modernization roadmap that presents a comprehensive view of the modernization strategies in the right sequence. To be successful, modernization must be a strategic focus of your organization as you establish and maintain an ongoing modernization process.

Before beginning your modernization journey, assess where you are and where you want to go. Based upon your modernization destination, carefully evaluate the available modernization strategies and select the one that best addresses your particular business case. Elyon recommends that your organization have a strong executive sponsor to lead the modernization effort and a way to drive alignment and proper decision making among the stakeholders. It is important for the key stakeholders to agree to the desired outcomes along with the applicable approaches to meet those outcomes. Alignment does not occur once at the beginning of a modernization project, but is a critical activity that occurs through the process.

Successful Modernization

A successful modernization effort must address the people, processes and technologies currently in place and then develop a plan to reduce risk, promote adoption and realize benefits. Your employees are critical to the successful execution of your modernization initiative. According to Rob Klopp, former Social Security Administration CIO, modernization cannot be accomplished by staff with dated skills and experience. Modernization can only succeed with a modern workforce, which requires an investment in modernizing the skills and experience of state employees. 

By using the right tools, your organization can minimize program delays and risk and increase the modernization adoption rate. It is important to track your successes, failures and lessons learned from each modernization initiative. Modernization initiatives should include emphasizing processes that can adapt and solve technical problems rather than adhering to an unnecessarily tight project schedule. Government modernization efforts should begin small and build on early successes, which can help to acquire additional leadership and public backing.

Change Management

Change management is critical to the success of any modernization project. It starts with the initial planning of a modernization initiative and continues through implementation and acceptance. However, govloop reports that only 29 percent of government agencies have implemented a modernization change management team. It is common for modernization efforts to fail during execution, and Elyon has observed that modernization efforts frequently fail because the end users did not accept the changes brought about by the modernization effort. In addition, change management modernization effectiveness requires that your organization understand that it is changing its business model. It is much more difficult to manage a business model change than it is to manage typical transformation initiatives.  

Modernization Challenges

A continuous improvement model will be the only way organizations will be successful in their modernization efforts. However, Elyon has observed that often state government organizations lack the ability to adapt. It can also be difficult for state government agencies to assemble the resources it takes to modernize. In addition, state government bureaucracy can thwart modernization and it may be a challenge to update the mindsets of the people who work in large bureaucratic state systems. Elyon recommends that government entities embrace shorter, more frequent modernization projects that can be estimated, procured, and delivered more rapidly.

About Elyon

Elyon Enterprise Strategies, Inc. is a management consulting firm specializing in business design. Our purpose is to lessen executive burdens, increase organization order, and provide organizations with more hope and success while meeting human needs. We are each client’s most trusted advisor and inspire our clients to transform complexity into enterprise success.

Carl Engel
About the Author
Carl Engel
CEO, Chief Architect
Elyon Strategies
Carl Engel is a Business and IT visionary with 30+ years of experience including Health and Human Services, Revenue, Finance and Technology. Teaching advanced technology, architecture and framework courses on 4 continents.
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Bridging the gap between strategy and action

Here at Elyon, we’ve developed the ability to transform organizations through powerful processes and innovative technology. Our team helps you manage the complexities of digital transformation and overcome the struggles of long implementation cycles. 

We have the experience to execute detailed transformation projects from the foundation and planning stages through to the implementation and knowledge transfer phases.

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