Report: Feds Focus on Legacy Systems Amid Need for New Commercial IT

Jeff Brody

John Wood, chairman of the Alliance for Digital Innovation, said the federal government should leverage available commercial information technology products and rethink its investment in the maintenance of legacy systems. 

ADI issued a new report highlighting the “buy versus build” approach of federal leaders and the slow adoption of commercial IT across the government. 

The group said agencies heavily rely on custom-built IT platforms, as well as legacy systems, despite the Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act of 1994 promoting the use of technology and services made by the private sector. 

“We have to break the culture of reinventing the wheel to address mission challenges that can be solved by proven commercial technologies that exist today,” Wood said. “In addition to the risks and costs, the old model simply isn’t agile enough to keep pace with the speed of innovation.”

One of the key findings in the report is the large federal spending for systems maintenance, which grew to $440B from 2010 to 2017. 

ADI estimates that the trend may continue and commercial software may get only 11 percent of the government’s total IT budget between 2018 and 2023.

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