Suzette Kent, Former Federal CIO, Discusses IT Modernization Efforts & Funding

Suzette Kent
Suzette Kent

Suzette Kent, former federal chief information officer (CIO) and 2020 Wash100 Award recipient,  recently discussed the needed reform within federal information technology (IT) funding within the federal government, FedScoop reported Thursday.

“It is a fact that most technology projects take more than a year. And they certainly take more time to execute in the government perspective, when you look at the timeframe for acquisition, and all the things that you have to do along the path of a project,” Kent said.

Kent explained that the large-scale, multi-year modernization projects being awarded within one-year budget cycles can lead to the short-changing of true digital transformation. To solve the budgeting issue, Kent said the government must redesign the modernization process and retrain the workforce.

To do so, the government has to go through the adoption process to develop a more comprehensive end-to-end process, which takes longer than a single fiscal calendar year. She added that while multi-year funding already exists within government agencies, IT projects specific education for Congress, focusing on private sector’s practices. 

Kent noted that the ideal education would include hands-on training to ensure the workforce has the skills to support innovative applications, and should be viewed as operational costs. Kent added that the federal agencies, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and Congress need to create a long term vision, and develop initiatives and commitments that span past one year. 

“We have an opportunity when we think about multi-year funding and pathways to get there that we can reconsider what we put in those categories — for transparency, for better gauging of outcomes, but also for more discipline, and how we fund so that we’re ensuring that we’re funding all the holistic set of activities that are required for successful implementation,” she said.

Kent concluded by stating that deputy federal CIO and fellow 2020 Wash100 awardee, Maria Roat, will continue to make progress on the budget and modernization initiatives. “Maria has one of the best success records at end-to-end agency modernization — she is both a champion and now in a position to help continue to accelerate and remove barriers.”

Potomac Officers Club will host its Secure IT Modernization in Today’s Environment Virtual Event on Wednesday, August 26th. 

Click here to register for the Secure IT Modernization in Today’s Environment Virtual Event.

Michael Mestrovich, principal deputy chief information officer for the U.S. Department of State (DoS), will serve as a keynote speaker at the event. Mestrovich will address the integration and expansion of 5G and other emerging technologies; adaptation to a “new normal,” such as teleworking and reentry; and how leaders and businesses can use mission software factories to their advantage. 

Mestrovich will be joined by an expert panel, featuring Paul Girardi, assistant vice president of Cybersecurity with AT&T Public Sector. 

Register for  Potomac Officers Club’s Secure IT Modernization in Today’s Environment Virtual event to learn more about how to evolve and adapt quickly in crisis to ensure global accessibility and connectivity.

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Written by Sarah Sybert

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