Resilient state and local governments: Reviewing legacy system expenses

code on a laptop

August 12, 2020

State and local governments remain committed to building livable cities and a thriving business environment. Yet the ongoing global health pandemic means budgets are leaner and cost-cutting may be considered to help balance the shortfalls from tax and other revenue sources.

How should these organizations move forward? Can updating strategy and technology offset some of the cost-cutting measures and provide relief to workers and constituents?

Download the eBook: Resiliency for state and local governments facing economic challenges

Our 5-week blog post series reviews key areas state and local organizations should consider in order to ensure uninterrupted services to constituents despite a future that’s difficult to predict. This week, we’ll examine the impact legacy systems can have on your operations.

Consideration #1: True legacy system expenses

Hardware failures, software that’s out of date, and business applications whose functionality has fallen behind are some of the technology challenges faced by governments with legacy systems. Preserving those systems—applying feature and security patches, performing backups and recovery, and fine-tuning hardware—can account for nearly 70% of the IT budget. And that doesn’t even account for inefficiency and lost productivity or the added pressure of trying to maintain business continuity during the pandemic with less than modern capabilities. What could your IT team achieve if they weren’t tasked with managing never-ending patching, backups, and disaster recovery?

StateScoop reports that the Colorado DMV chose to buy a vendor solution and customize it to the agency’s needs because developing the platform in-house would have overburdened staff at the Colorado Office of Information Technology.

“Managing all the software solutions they have across the state is a pretty challenging endeavor,” Colorado DMV Director Mike Dixon said. “We certainly, as a state, can’t pay enough to compete with a lot of the private sector.”

The publication also discusses “technical debt”—the idea that choosing an easy software solution now instead of using a better approach that would take longer will result in extra costs associated with rework—and cost more each year to maintain.

Tennessee CIO Stephanie Dedmon said, “What we really need to do is provide the tools and the evaluation to help our agencies understand the risks associated with not modernizing, and then how to prioritize that.”

Getting away from legacy systems allows your IT department to focus on the government’s mission instead of struggling with aged platforms’ inherent shortcomings and risks. Jim Ollerton, the Director of Information Technology at Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District, says, “My staff can focus more on more innovation and automation instead of dealing with backups, babysitting servers, and having to plan for infrastructure upgrades, replacements, and downtime.”

Especially considering the pandemic, when IT employees may have had to take on new roles that aren’t traditionally in the IT department, it’s critical to streamline the amount of time your team spends on managing IT infrastructure. Enable them instead to allocate their time to efforts that more directly impact business continuity and constituent services.

If you’d like to learn more about eliminating the costs and risks of a legacy system and building a resilient government, we invite you to download the eBook: “Resiliency for state and local governments facing economic challenges.”

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