Invest in Outcomes, Not Technical Debt

Many government programs that provide constituent services– everything from vehicle registration to professional licensing and benefits delivery– are supported by legacy systems that were built a long time ago. These systems frequently rely upon decades-old mainframe computers, and some may have newer applications layered on top of them in a valiant attempt to keep up with advances in technology.

Too often, however, these systems are riddled with risk. Hidden implementation and maintenance costs, gaps in staff skill sets, and other workforce challenges are just a few of the many challenges. For example, individuals who are qualified to work on mainframe computers are becoming increasingly rare and expensive resources, as many are entering retirement age, and the next generation does not possess the necessary expertise. This has created a looming crisis, and it is one of many forms of “technical debt.” Such legacy problems have long left program and IT executives racing to stay just one step ahead of failure.

While it’s commendable for program leaders and IT departments to build brand new systems with all of the technical wonders that one might expect in our modern digital society, today’s technology modernization project is still destined to become tomorrow’s legacy system. It always has been, and always will be– unless we begin to shift our thinking to a new model.

With the transition to cloud computing over the past decade, we saw agencies begin to break free from data center infrastructure and unnecessary overhead. While people were skeptical at first, the cloud has proven to be safe and effective with countless benefits. So why not take it one step further?

Instead of pouring time and money into traditional technology projects and software implementations– which inevitably produce tomorrow’s legacy systems and the next era of technical debt– why not simply invest in the outcomes, rather than the technology? This is the next step in the evolution that started with the cloud: now, your organization’s data can be delivered as-a-Service, without the headache of managing another technology project or taking on the technical debt of another major system.

MissionNXT by M Corp allows programs to deliver custom digital services to constituents without the headache of overseeing major projects, capturing and managing data, or worrying about going over budget. It’s a subscription-based service that frees program staff from the burdens of manual data collection and elevates them to focus on mission-based work.

Agencies should be in the business of serving people, not maintaining computer systems. Isn’t it time to leave the technical debt behind, and invest in outcomes instead?