Federal Manager's Daily Report

Federal agencies can end up merely running in place on technology instead of improving it as they intend, says a blog post from GSA’s IT modernization center of excellence, which suggests that agencies set aside some of their available resources for innovation.

“The feeling of running in place is not uncommon when managing large organizations and complex systems. The day-to-day operation consumes so many resources and so much bandwidth, making the next step seems like it never gets any closer,” it said.

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It said that a standard model is to spend 80 percent of resources on operations and the other 20 percent to modernize systems and deliver better services to the public.

“However, it is more often the case in our experience that the 20% of the budget marked for modernization efforts is being used to maintain the status quo, versus improving and upgrading,” it said. “Our team proposes a 80%-15%-5% budget model, where 5% of resources are dedicated to innovating—or reimagining how work is done.”

“Explicitly investing in innovation creates a window to test the latest techniques in natural language processing, robotic process automation, machine learning, and computer vision while incorporating successful tests into the broader organization,” it said.

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