March 1, 2021
The big takeaways from the series of keynotes, roundtables, and customer presentations: Change is upon us. Officials are embracing the challenge. And IT infrastructure is the essential ingredient enabling the most innovative agencies to survive, thrive, and continue delivering the excellent services their constituents and stakeholders need and expect.
Risa Savold, Senior Director of Industry and Solution Strategy for Aerospace and Defense, described a suite of software solutions designed to help federal clients meet the U.S. government’s evolving IT priorities.
Over the last year, she said, Infor has seen a “huge surge” in demand for IT capabilities to ensure mission continuity. The experience so far shows that agencies “are better able to support their staff and continue operating” if they’ve already retired legacy systems and migrated to modern platforms. Increasingly, federal departments are adopting commercial technologies to increase their resilience and enable faster innovation, while moving toward a zero-trust architecture that aligns with the latest expectations for Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation (CDM)
State and local
Bob St. Ledger, Senior Director of Industry and Solution Strategy, acknowledged how much state and local officials have done for their constituents, business partners, and citizens—himself included. “We’ve really relied on you in these tough times,” and “everything you’ve done to help us through positioned us to emerge resilient in 2021,” he said. “You are truly American heroes.”
St. Ledger cited the heightened expectations state and local governments face with shrinking tax revenues, tight budgets, and the continuing demand to deliver citizen and constituent services—all augmented by “challenging legacy applications that don’t really support the virtual world we now live in.” He noted that cybersecurity and cloud-topped the priority list for state CIOs in NASCIO’s annual survey, followed by legacy modernization, citizen or constituent relationship management (CRM).
Infor Technical Product Evangelist and Global Strategist Kevin Price traced the deep disruptions that swept transit in 2020, with ridership in many jurisdictions falling off by 90%. One survey showed three-quarters of transit agencies still facing reductions in volume.
In 2021, he said, “the new normal is showing itself already. We can actually see it everywhere,” with the reality of a global health emergency dictating masks in public areas, more robust cleaning routines, and much more extensive tracking and reporting on every aspect of transportation—from facilities and depots to platforms and cars, to maintenance and operations shops.
But many agencies already have the technology tools they need to optimize the management of their assets, human resources, and supply chains. “What we’re excited about is how our customers continue to innovate,” Price said, despite the tough, new challenges they face.
Infor Vice President Mike Guay listed a skills-based curriculum, artificial intelligence, and adaptive learning systems as key IT trends that are reshaping K-12 programming.
More and more school districts are refocusing instruction on digital and STEM skills that progress from K-12 through higher education and out into the workforce, Guay said. They’re using artificial intelligence to improve customer service and automate routine tasks while deploying machine learning and AI to tailor instructional content to the way students respond.
The right IT platform can also help K-12 institutions deal with the uniquely complex challenges they face, including human capital management and financial reporting.
Water and utilities
Infor Director of Utilities Bob Benstead described water as “one of the most valuable commodities on the planet,” pointing to the complexity of the systems—from massive canal networks to huge desalination operations—that carry that resource from its source to the tap.
“It’s not always easy,” he said. “There are a lot of headwinds, a lot of issues, and a lot of things that water utilities have to overcome.” Those challenges include a high degree of regulation at all levels of government, the need to recruit and retain a next-generation workforce, environmental impacts, climate risk, and the ever-present demand for affordable rates and transparent operations.