Guest OpEd by George Batsakis, EVP of 1901 Group
Will we ever spontaneously “high five” a stranger at a sporting event again?
Are the countless handshakes at government contracting industry days and technology events a thing of the past?
Will the kids ever enjoy a good “mosh pit” at a local concert?
You get the gist. Fact is that some things will change due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and that’s probably a good thing overall.
Crisis events expose threats and weaknesses, present opportunities to overcome obstacles, and foster collaboration and innovation.
A crisis can fuel momentum and allow you to double-down on effective strategies and provide the impetus to address things we’ve “put off” for later.
For example, the COVID-19 crisis has challenged our common belief system around how and where we must work in order to be productive.
(The coronavirus has forced millions of people into quarantine and self-isolation. Lots are working from home, some for the first time. Tracey Wilen, a researcher and speaker about technology’s impact on society, work and careers, shared her views about COVID-19 and how it’s changed the way we work remotely. Courtesy of CGTN America and YouTube. Posted on Apr 18, 2020.)
It has also provided some focus on where to place our priorities.
Traditional beliefs in these areas are also being moved through the necessary acceptance of technologies and business models that enable us to collaborate across networks and groups.
COVID-19 has forced us to make full use of these technologies and it turns out, for many organizations, they’re working fine and offering unforeseen advantages and efficiencies.
While we’re “quarantining” we should take full advantage of the opportunities that have presented themselves and prioritize those steps needed to improve our resilience and return to the “new normal” more secure, and capable – both personally and professionally.
“Don’t count the days, make the days count” – Muhammad Ali. I love that quote and its true now more than ever.
Still in Early Transformation Stages
As someone who’s worked in the Information Technology (IT) field, supporting national security and public safety customers for three decades, it’s hard not to think about the disruptions and impacts of the current situation on the near-and longer-term state of the government IT enterprise and the public sector IT market in general.
Public sector IT has been in a slow-motion transformation to “next-generation” cloud computing, networks, platforms and services for the past decade.
While progress has accelerated recently in cloud, platform, and “everything as a service” adoption – thanks mostly to the massive investments made by the cloud and platform and managed services providers in FEDRAMP commercial capabilities built specifically for government use – we’re still in the early stages of that transformation.
There have been pragmatic reasons for the slower uptake of modern, more efficient, and secure IT capabilities including budget issues, contracting obstacles, workforce availability, and cybersecurity concerns, among others.
Still, it’s becoming clear that IT modernization, including the transition to cloud, platform, and managed services are a requirement for the future in nearly every public sector enterprise.
1901 Group was founded on these principles, among others, and have worked with public sector agencies to transition to modern platforms and business models.
Those agencies were able to seamlessly adapt to the COVID-19 “new normal” without a risk to their mission or the well-being of the workforce that supports them.
(1901 Group helps customers reduce IT costs and increase agility by providing a smooth transition to hybrid cloud, explains Brendan Walsh, SVP of Partner Relations at 1901 group. Cohesity enables the company to predict costs, effectively manage cash flow, and align capacity with demand in a multi-tenant provider environment. 1901 Group is now using Cohesity for disaster recovery, replicating data across geographic regions, and migrating data seamlessly to AWS Gov Cloud and S3 Glacier. Courtesy of Cohesity and YouTube. Posted on Apr 15, 2020.)
The Need for Acceleration to the Cloud
The ongoing COVID-19 crisis highlights the need for public sector agencies to make an even more accelerated migration to the cloud, and adoption of outcome-based managed services.
The transition to the cloud, and platform delivered managed services affords governments and users a more resilient, secure, and cost-effective capability along with access to modern and accessible technology solutions including AI, ML, and RPA along with other collaboration tools and capabilities.
The government can take advantage of those technologies and provide continually improved services to their agencies and users by adopting cost-effective and increasingly automated managed services for their IT infrastructure.
That step will improve services, mitigate workforce challenges, and free up government resources to focus attention on the “data layer” needed to inform decisions and improve government services.
Across the country, the unexpected global crisis has fostered an improved climate of collaboration and improved communications among our nation’s healthcare experts, first responders, and government and industry leaders at all levels.
We are fortunate to live in a country that has the resources and the expertise needed to set the conditions for a swift re-boot of the economy and a return to a “new normal”.
Watching the nearly 24-hour coverage of the situation, it’s clear that the decisions made by national security and public health leaders require increasingly greater access to data and data science to make more informed decisions.
Access to COVID-19 data and prediction models and analytical tools have fueled the government and healthcare system’s response to the pandemic.
These technologies have improved the quality of our collective response and help provide a path forward with less risk and greater fidelity of the future.
The data and analytical tools are enabled by increasingly more capable, reliable, and accessible information technologies from the “cloud”, using platform analytical tools and information technology systems and models.
Public sector subject matter experts and industry leaders now depend on these capabilities to make results-driven decisions, reduce risks, and execute their responsibilities to the best of their ability, and on the citizen’s behalf.
Having the right data, at the right time, to make the right decisions has always been a vital element. And now, more than ever, this pandemic demonstrates how important that data becomes as we face hourly life and death situations.
Obligation to Step up
In a few months, we will have an opportunity to account for lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020.
We’ll be able to ask, “Which agencies and teams were the most resilient? Who was able to use their data stores to support critical decision making?
How can we improve our access to and resilience of our workforce and enterprise infrastructure in times of crisis, etc.?”
And much, much more will become transparent.
The answers to these questions may be found on the transformational path many agencies were already on – toward a more modern, capable hybrid IT and cloud enterprise, managed “as a service” so that agencies can focus on their mission to protect, serve, and support our great communities and partners around the world.
This pandemic has exposed the weaknesses and opportunities that we cannot afford to overlook and shows how the government, healthcare systems, and industry need to collaborate and support each other more than ever.
We owe it to help our first responders, who put their lives at stake.
As partners with the federal, state and local governments, we have the technologies, experiences, expertise and an obligation to step up, lean forward, and capitalize on lessons learned for a more resilient, secure, and safer-guarded future.
(1901 Group is a leading provider of innovative IT services and solutions in the public and private sector market that delivers improved service delivery by leveraging the company’s FedRAMP authorized Enterprise IT Operations Center (EITOC) to provide 24×7 support of end-users, complex IT infrastructure environments, and mission-critical systems. Courtesy of the 1901 Group and Vimeo. Posted in March 2020.)
The ongoing COVID-19 crisis highlights the need for public sector agencies to make an even more accelerated migration to the cloud and adoption of outcome-based, managed services – both of which will change the way the federal government uses information technology and data to support their mission.
About the Author
George Batsakis serves as the Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer for 1901 Group.
As such he leads the company’s overall corporate development and strategy planning process and provides expertise in executive management, operations, new business development, emerging technology and technology partnership to support the company continued expansion in federal and public market.
George is an Army Veteran and brings over 25 years of industry experience with vast executive-level P&L, technology and growth-oriented general management skills.
Prior to joining 1901 Group, George was in various of firms including EDS, Northrop Grumman, SRA, CSRA/General Dynamics Information Technology, and most recently Accenture Federal Services.
He holds a master’s degree in business from Johns Hopkins University, and an undergraduate degree from Hillsdale College, as well as a program management certification in acquisition management from the Defense Systems Management College
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