Resiliency Is the New Norm

Resiliency Is the New Norm

Overview: In a post-pandemic world, government agencies must ensure their resiliency by using lessons learned to prepare for the future. Key to this effort are the assessment of systems and their currency, with a focus on infrastructure scalability so employees can do the same level of work whether at home or in the office.

 

noun: resiliency
1. the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.
2. the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity

Leaders all over the world are in the process of looking to the future. We are all thinking together that we will return to normal, but we must admit to one another that we are not sure what that new normal will be. For one thing, it should give us a moment to catch our breath. To relish the time we have when we are together, and to prepare for the real possibility that another wave of the pandemic—or anything catastrophic, for that matter—could knock us down again. What do I think is our new norm? Resiliency.

For those of us in the IT world, that means we need to focus on making sure our technology infrastructure is scalable, and that our teams are empowered with best-of breed-technologies that enable them to work seamlessly from the office or their home. In private industry, we do that regularly. In government? Hopefully, it has been proven that we must do just that.

Reshaping Strategic Initiatives

Begin by doing a hard assessment. Listen to your teams as they return to work and share their successes, but also point to where improvements must be made. Identify mechanisms to measure across all platforms. Every asset still accessed today either by your internal teams or your external agencies or citizens is a critical asset. Every. One. Of. Them. No longer can a responsible CIO or CTO make a statement that a platform or service is not part of their strategic plan. Even if the citizen service is in the queue to be upgraded, that system and every component of that system must be funded at a production level, staffed at a production level and maintained at a production level.

Timely, accurate data is essential to your assessment. Products like Compuware zAdviser help analyze data, create benchmarks, and find correlations between developer behavior and meaningful KPIs. This continuous measurement and improvement of software delivery quality, velocity and efficiency will help to ensure that your time, effort and spending are going to where they are best utilized.

Currency

Identify the currency of the systems over which you are responsible. Currency means that throughout your organization, from your desktop operating system to your mainframe, you adopt a software and operating system standard—and you enforce it. Release levels are critical. If you do not have a published cycle, it is time to adopt one.

Critical Infrastructure

Trends are a funny thing. When I was a new member of the National Association of Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) in the early 2000s, I noticed I was missing something in my technology strategy as the CTO of Arkansas: a brand-new shiny data center. Every state report would indicate a new data center project. My state? We needed one, but we are a balanced budget state. We waited until we received an offer we could not refuse.

Fast forward to today in national public sector organizations. I represent an amazing mainframe software company. Yes, that is right: mainframe. I lose count of the number of CIOs in the past who indicated the mainframe is not a strategic platform. Really? When you have a citizen service running on a platform, that platform is an essential component of your critical infrastructure. If you choose not to maintain it or fund it, your citizens suffer, and the world takes note.

Empower your teams with modernized tools that work as well in the state office as they do in the home office. Compuware’s Topaz suite of tools provide mainframe development and testing capabilities that empower developers whether they’re seasoned veterans or new to the industry. Topaz on AWS allows secure, quick access to these powerful tools wherever the developer may be.

Similarly, Strobe application performance monitoring is available in a browser-based version, allowing remote access to reporting and analysis of CPU resources, usage, and source code.

Resiliency

The simple definition of resiliency is “the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.”

Toughness. We must work together and build together—and recover together. Through the COVID-19 pandemic we have learned areas that worked well and people we could depend upon to step up and provide us exactly what we needed. As the nation reopens and the world begins to return to pre-pandemic levels of operations, know that we all stand ready to learn from the past and quickly build up our scalability and be prepared for the next wave of threats, whatever they may be and whenever they arrive.

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Claire Bailey

Claire Bailey is Compuware’s Director of Federal, State and Local Mainframe Solutions. She has worked in technology since 1984 and has worked with the mainframe in every role she has held throughout her IT career. Prior to Compuware, she served on the cabinet of Governor Mike Huckabee and Governor Mike Beebe. She served as the Chief Technology Officer and the Director of the Department of Information Systems for the state of Arkansas. She has also held positions at JB Hunt Transportation, Texas Instruments and her family’s business, Bailey Produce Company.

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