Officials from the Department of Labor and the Army Corps of Engineers reported this week that their organizations are continuing to make progress on IT modernization despite hurdles created by the COVID-19 pandemic, and are approaching modernization with data as the centerpiece.

Speaking during Federal Executive Forum’s IT Modernization in Government 2020 event on Oct. 6, Labor Deputy CIO Lou Charlier and Army Corps of Engineers CIO Dovarius Peoples spoke about how their organizations have tackled modernization over the past few months.

Charlier detailed how Labor has come a long way in modernizing its IT infrastructure, and is focusing heavily on IT commodity and legacy applications.

“One of the first things we did is increase our cybersecurity posture and did some modernization, retired legacy applications, which saved about $99 million,” Charlier said. “Another thing that we did was launch a common IT platform. It standardized the way we collect and share data across the agencies.”

Charlier added that the Labor Department collects a large amount of data, so having the capability to share that across its sub-agencies ensures the department is getting the best use of its data.

In a similar vein, the Army Corps of Engineers is also relying on data as a key cog in its modernization journey. Peoples said the Corps has started to look more into how it uses data as a strategic asset, and has begun working on a data strategy.

“We have started on our data strategy from a modernization journey. Being able to receive data from authoritative sources, looking at those repositories, identified how to properly secure it, and then being able to make informed decisions,” Peoples said. “And we’ve also begun to move forward with our data center consolidation.”

Along with using data as a strategic asset, Peoples said the Corps is looking at cloud modernization. He also noted that the Corps was working with NETCOM and U.S. CYBERCOM to secure these environments.

“Everything we do is centered around data. As you know data has many different components. One of those components that we’re looking at is cloud modernization,” Peoples said. “How do you access the data in a secure environment? We’ve been working with NETCOM and the rest of U.S. CYBERCOM as well to ensure that we can properly secure those type of environments, as well as the access to specific data.”

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.