A Playbook for IT Modernization

Published: June 22, 2022

Federal Market AnalysisDOEInformation TechnologyPolicy and Legislation

The Department of Energy released the Scaling IT Modernization Playbook to help federal agencies efficiently pursue IT modernization and digital transformation efforts.

Agencies often face challenges, and sometimes failures, in scaling modernization efforts. To address this, Energy’s OCIO issued a government-wide Scaling IT Modernization Playbook last week. The mission of the playbook is to provide, “tools to help organizations increase the velocity, speed, and scale of modernization efforts, create efficiencies, and make a greater impact,” per the document’s Overview section.

According to a Federal News Network article, the concept of the playbook stemmed from Energy CIO, Ann Dunkin and former EPA CTO, Greg Godbout, whose past experiences targeted the focus on promoting innovation at scale. “Scaling IT Modernization” is defined by the playbook as actions taken to allow an organization to develop enterprise capabilities by utilizing IT modernization in an accelerated manner to achieve mission outcomes.

Creators of the playbook interviewed 20 IT leaders across the public and private sectors to collect challenges and lessons learned from past modernization initiatives to help inform the playbook.

The result of this research is a set of 10 plays to help organizations successfully scale federal IT modernization projects. The 10 plays are categorized under three central themes and are intended to sponsor the success of innovation. Below are the 10 plays with their corresponding themes:

Overall, the playbook emphasizes the importance of pursuing modernization with purpose and with outcomes that, most importantly, serve mission and customer experience. For contractors, this may mean agencies seek contracts with flexibilities for new technologies, and a focus on Statement of Objectives vs. a list of requirements. Additionally, modernization must move at the speed of technology, thus agencies must obtain the right tools, resources and partnerships to enable efforts. For contractors, this may mean the pursuit of additional data, cyber, cloud and AI/ML opportunities to augment and accelerate modernization deliverables. Finally, the playbook encourages agencies to seek cross-agency collaborations and working relationships with stakeholders. For contractors, this may mean increases in public-private partnerships, shared services participation, and contracts that incentivize innovation.

One thing last thing to note is that the playbook lists agency examples under each “play” to showcase the actionable recommendation. These success stories are worth a look to see what agency leaders may use as headpieces moving forward in their respective modernization efforts.