Government Relying on Legacy Technology
August 26, 2016

Pete Goldin
APMdigest

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A little more than 70 percent of federal IT decision makers surveyed said their agency runs important applications on outdated IT systems, according to Dell's new State of IT Trends 2016 study focused on the federal market.

In addition, more than half of those surveyed in total reported that their agency runs computer operating systems that have exceeded their official end-of-life.

Reliance on legacy IT has potentially damaging consequences for agencies. Aging systems are expensive to maintain and they put critical data at risk, leaving limited funds and time to devote to IT modernization and digital transformation. These challenges were reflected by federal IT decision makers in the survey.

Cybersecurity was the most frequently referenced concern associated with legacy IT, cited by 42 percent of respondents, followed by the cost of system support.

Other key research findings include:

■ 53 percent of federal respondents said their agency uses software or operating systems no longer supported by the vendor.

■ The operating systems frequently referenced as out of date included Windows 7 (2009) or Windows 8 (2012) (61 percent) and Windows Server 2008 (34 percent), each of which have passed their end of life.

■ Federal respondents listed IT infrastructure systems (46 percent) and file storage/collaboration systems (39 percent) as most in need of modernization or replacement.

■ The 5 oldest elements of hardware and infrastructure utilized at respondents’ agencies are desktops, servers, network routers, network switches and laptops.

■ Federal respondents point to their agencies’ lack of knowledge about available solutions (24 percent) and conflicting digital transformation strategies (22 percent) as obstacles to IT modernization.

Agencies can address the issues revealed by the survey by investing in modernized IT systems and committing to becoming future ready. Established on software-based environments, cloud technology and secure mobile devices, a future-ready agency is more responsive to user demands and better equipped to meet mission requirements in innovative ways. Future-ready technologies can help agencies become more secure and efficient, and can drive savings through reduced maintenance costs, making the transition away from legacy IT easier.

Steve Harris, VP and GM, Dell Federal, said: “The alarming percentage of critical applications running on legacy IT systems, as revealed by our survey, aligns with many of the concerns currently being voiced by government leaders and agency customers alike. For many organizations the first step is making the commitment to virtualized, software-based environments. Agencies need this future-ready IT environment to unlock the power of innovation, support digital transformation, protect mission-critical data and reduce maintenance costs.”

Methodology: The research was performed by PSB, who conducted an online survey in May 2016 among 100 federal government IT Decision-Makers (ITDMs) and Business Decision Makers (BDMs). This survey was conducted as an extension of the State of IT Trends 2016 study, in which PSB conducted 1,200 online interviews between April 15 and May 4, 2016, in the US, UK, Germany, Japan, Brazil, India and China. The respondents consist of 700 ITDMs and 500 BDMs.

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