Specifically, Banjot covered how Containers have actually provided three significant benefits for shared services:
- Removing friction in the development process (adopted by millions of developers and IT professionals) allowing for closer collaboration between users, developers, and operators;
- Containers bring a whole new level of security to an operating environment where we can standardize what an application can and cannot do, and;
- the ability to standardize. One of the most important things about the shared services environment is the way we scale. We can now scale by standardizing the way we deploy applications, the way we run them, the way we enforce Service Level Agreements (SLAs), and the way we enforce security.
Now with Container technology, we can standardize how we deploy, operate, install and even scale out or scale back, and it works well for new and existing applications. Banjot’s most resounding message was how Container technology can be leveraged to move shared services forward. An interesting fun fact about Banjot is that he has a twin brother he’s kept in step with all his life and who, coincidentally, works in digital modernization while Banjot works in IT Modernization. Twinning has a whole new meaning for me now!
I couldn’t help but close with a question about the MGT Act that recently passed, asking how Beth and Soraya planned on using it. Soraya let us know that DHS is looking closely at how they are implementing Modernization projects. Further commenting that since DHS is a federated environment, they need to work together to develop smart solutions. Soraya herself is working closely with the DHS CFO, and the rest of the C-suite, to look at DHS’s priorities. It’s critical to identify what they want to attack first, and then focus on bringing the rest of the DHS community along. She noted that it’s not just a headquarters focus, rather the modernization efforts are for everyone who works and supports DHS. Soraya is pushing DHS to think strategically and ahead of the curve, noting she wants to implement shared services the right way, and to ultimately do intelligent things within the government, to improve data and systems, and ultimately improve the experience for end users.
Beth does not intend to use the fund but plans to assist other federal agencies in thinking about how they are going to use the resources, and how they will repay the funds they borrow. A key factor in the MGT Act will be ensuring agencies identify what success looks like. Beth shared that GSA has a lot of best practices in place to help agencies effectively articulate the success criteria, in order to secure the approvals required to utilize the MGT funds.