The flammable Fed dollar: Money to burn?

Fire alert: Federal IT resources are going up in smoke …

US Federal government agencies are reportedly spending 75% of their IT budgets on maintaining legacy systems.  That’s a $62 billion burn-down on outdated IT rather than watering the shoots of new growth, developing new capabilities and services, or tackling IT Backlog.  They need to make savings. So why waste precious resources in this way?


Moving across from so-called legacy IT to modern, more cost-effective IT is clearly a hot topic. Previous firefighting initiatives, such as the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative (FDCCI), have already tried to help government agencies make the transition without too many Fed dollars going up in smoke.

It’s difficult to make a case for maintaining the status quo and impossible to argue for regression. Clearly modernization is the way forward. What isn’t so obvious is how this is to be achieved. If some blue chips are risk-averse, then those maintaining nationally-significant applications will take caution to new heights. But there are options.

While application modernization can take a variety of paths, the value of the application must not be compromised. It must be adapted to meet new requirements and address needs that couldn’t have been foreseen when the application was originally written, such as mobile access and the challenges of BYOD, but the IP investment must be effectively ring-fenced. And to the users, it must be business as usual.

Venerable, but certainly not vulnerable

The mainframe remains the enterprise platform of choice for government agencies across the globe. Two thirds of IT leaders approached to contribute to a recent Vanson Bourne white paper on the future of the mainframe expected to have their mainframes for at least the next 10 years. With the IBM zEnterprise setting new standards of flexibility and adaptability, it’s easy to see why.

While re-platforming remains an option, how realistic is it for this particular market segment? Traditional re-write or commercial, off-the-shelf (COTS) replacement options are costly, take too long and often fail. Unfortunately the press and many bloggers love a good ‘Federal IT project failure’ story.

As a compromise, smart modernization tools  can cut the legacy maintenance budgets and deliver real improvement without rip and replacement. Micro Focus technology has already supported cost-effective modernization for hundreds of blue-chip organizations with complex IT architectures, including Invertix, a supplier to the Department of Defense.


Streamlining application delivery underpins successful modernization. Our tools will improve IT service delivery and significantly reduce operational costs.  And to support the modernization agenda, contemporary architectures such as zEnterprise, Microsoft  .NET, Java Virtual Machine, Linux, UNIX, or the Cloud are at your disposal, no matter when your applications were built.

In tools we trust

Our fully-integrated, comprehensive toolset works across all phases of the development lifecycle, from requirements definition and lifecycle management to testing and software change management.

One of the reasons Gartner named Borland – a Micro Focus company – as a ‘Leader’ for the second year running in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Integrated Software Quality Suites is a “well-defined set of tools … that will positively affect the bottom line of the business”.

Need proof?

Micro Focus can offer everything you need to take you from transition to testing. And it really works.

Fed depts, perhaps more than most commercial organizations, are burdened with the demands of compliance. The sheer volume of work to required to meet regulatory pressures can easily contribute to their IT Backlog.

But Micro Focus, having proved that the platform is less of a handicap, and more of a springboard, have already helped many government agencies modernize and cut costs, and meet their regulatory obligations. We’ll be happy to walk you through the case studies and testimonials.

Next steps

So if you’re keen to stop burning money, then book a value profile session. It will help us understand what you have and advise on what you need. A single solution or strategy won’t fit everyone – but anyone can benefit from a well-resourced and well-planned modernization program. And who doesn’t want cost savings in year one?

Whatever the solution, you’ll be able to put down the fire extinguisher…

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