Following the first 100 days of the new administration, trends have emerged that provide a framework for what we anticipate will be priorities for U.S. policies over the next four years. While many policies are still evolving, and various unknowns remain, we see evolving and ongoing needs in mission critical areas that will require adaptability and innovation from the government services industry.
Here are a few of the trends we’re watching:
Doing more with less. In January, President Trump ordered a hiring freeze on federal agencies. Although that freeze was lifted in April, proposed budgets for 2018 call for major downsizing in most government organizations. Consequently, many agencies continue to delay hiring or choose to add minimal new staff. This has started to impact federal agencies that are already dealing with a mass of retiring baby boomers, and it is driving more demand upon private sector organizations to fill gaps in workforce talent while balancing the demands of evolving technology challenges like cybersecurity.
As groups face the challenge of doing more with fewer staff members, they will have to rethink their traditional approaches to mission support. Many of Engility’s customers are partnering with us to identify technology-enabled efficiencies and agile business solutions.
Applying technology solutions is augmented by the government’s capacity to reach into industry for gaps in expertise or knowledgeable practitioners. Engility has been creating resource streams to answer this need. Sometimes in conjunction with a customer, but often on our own, we look to partnerships with academia to identify and nurture new generations of experts in difficult-to-fill fields like data analytics. For instance, a formal partnership program with George Mason University has already credentialed several employees with certificates and master’s degrees in data analytics.
A commitment to modernization. In May, President Trump signed an executive order to create the American Technology Council that will help increase focus on innovation and resources to address some of the biggest challenges facing government today. This kind of commitment is a positive signal that advancements and innovation in IT modernization will continue to be a priority for government customers and open up pathways for opportunities and funding to achieve the level of modernization government systems need to improve operations and maximize success.
As more attention than ever is paid to government IT security, the need for modernization is great. A recent report from the Government Accountability Office urged federal agencies to assess the risks and costs associated with aging legacy systems, many of which have component parts that are more than 50 years old. The high cost of maintaining these systems absorbs nearly 70 percent of the $80 billion budget dedicated to IT. However, there are no widespread plans to modernize or replace systems. Market, media and public pressures are beginning to change the mindset on legacy systems, making 2017 the year of data center consolidation and IT modernization. Upgrading systems to the cloud, improving cyber resilience and enhancing the overall customer experience are areas ripe for improvement in government systems. We are finding that many customers want to modernize and look to industry partners to help determine where and how to start.
Focusing on cyber, the new frontier of national security. With the push to modernize IT systems, agencies and organizations have an unprecedented opportunity to significantly enhance their security posture. Amid security concerns, government agencies are being urged to improve their cyber resilience by meeting new requirements, scaling their existing solutions, continuously monitoring and conducting more vulnerability assessments. Requirements for cyber to be baked into all systems, across agencies and platforms, have become the new norm. We are finding that many of our customers have flexibility within support contracts to allow us to provide cyber services, offering services from hard-to-find cybersecurity resources to plan for and execute their IT security plans.
Moving forwardRegardless of anticipated policy shifts or what may come through the political landscape over the next decade, the bottom line is that government customers will continue to face enormous challenges and rapidly changing global landscapes, from filling positions to IT modernization and security.
The partnership between industry and government will define the success of those initiatives. It is critical for government and the private-sector entities who serve it to continue to strengthen their relationship based on a mutual commitment to mission success. Whether it’s finding tech solutions for an efficient workforce, modernizing IT systems or bolstering cyber solutions and capabilities, Engility is positioned as a valued partner to the government organizations we support to achieve their mission, regardless of shifts in leadership and policy.