Government's digital transformation should be a constant and sustained process, says Washington D.C. CTO

Government's digital transformation should be a constant and sustained process, says Washington D.C. CTO 625 417 C-Suite Network

If states and cities want to change the way they operate, they need first to look toward effective leadership and attracting and retaining the right people, says the district’s chief technology officer.

Panelists speak on digital transformation in Washington, D.C. at the Digital Transformation Summit on Oct. 26, 2017 presented by Dell Technologies and produced by FedScoop. (StateScoop)

The way government thinks about digital transformation needs to change, said Washington D.C. Chief Technology Officer Archana Vemulapalli.

“The whole modernization concept has to change,” she said in a panel discussion Thursday at the Digital Transformation Summit, presented by Dell EMC and produced by FedScoop. “We always think about modernization as a separate one-off effort, but it’s a very core part of delivering service.”

Government should take a page from other government agencies, Vemulapalli said, like transportation departments.

“Look at our roads — we put money aside to invest in our roads, to patch them, to repave them every couple of years,” Vemulapalli said. “Technology is the same thing. It’s a very core part of delivering service. You can’t deploy a system that’s 15 years old, and then say, ‘Oh yeah, we can let it sit for 15 years and then have to modernize in 15 years.’”

Instead, modernization should be an evolving process, the D.C. CTO said. In the district, Vemulapalli said the Office of the Chief Technology Officer that she oversees works with the city’s chief financial officer to develop a mechanism that allows the department to think differently about the modernization process.

“It’s like me having a street with potholes for 15…