​How Can We Bring Federal Government Technology Up-to-date?

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Any conversation about the federal government in the US is bound to evoke any number of emotional responses, regardless of political persuasion. However, one thing most anyone can agree on is that our government could benefit from improving the efficiency with which it provides services to its citizens - particularly in light of the rapid advancements in technology we’ve seen over the past few years.

That’s certainly the way Veeral Majmudar sees it. As President and CEO of management and consulting firm Savan Group, LLC, Majmudar oversees the company’s work in various policy matters and logistic services with regards to technology governance. Recently, Equities.com broadcast contributor Silvia Davi had the chance to speak to Majmudar about the important role of effective IT in federal government, and what sort of technological progress we can expect to see from our governent going forward.

In Majmudar’s view, there are two main things that can be done to improve government performance: More effective communication and adoption of new technology. “I think there’s a lot of confusion about the role of government and the services they provide,” says Majmudar. “So, in a simplistic way, a better communication strategy for the services [government provides], and on the flip side, better adoption of new technology, so that that service delivery to the general public is faster and more efficient.”

With regard to the federal government’s lack of technological sophistication today, Majmudar does not mince words. “There’s a ton of challenges, frankly,” says Majmudar. “One of the major challenges government has right now is that there is a preponderance of legacy systems within the federal government that have been in place for decades. We’re in an era now where technology is moving fast, and the evolution of technology is moving fast, as you can see in the private sector.“

“So, one of the challenges that government has is learning how to adapt, and how to evolve, and by the very nature of how government operates, it’s a little bureaucratic, and it’s a little slower in terms of new technology.”

Cybersecurity and Retiring Workers Pose Challenges to Government Infrastructure

Despite the sluggish pace of our massive federal bureaucracy though, Majmudar does see signs of progress, particularly in cybersecurity. “I think government is doing a better job,” says Majmudar. “I certainly think there are a lot of opportunities, in fact, for the private sector to assist government in cybersecurity.

Cybersecurity is an evolving threat, and it’s very difficult to stay ahead of it. The key for the federal government is to leverage these new technologies that we’re talking about, and implement those quickly, so that they can stay on pace with the threats that are persistent, frankly.”

Another challenge that’s forcing the government to step up its game is the impending retirement of a large swath of its workforce. “A recent report said that 30% of government employees are eligible for retirement this year, which is astounding,” Majmudar says. “I think the government is getting better. Again, they’re making some progress. The challenge they have, of course, is that there’s no concrete plan in terms of the entire government, and how to deal with the federal workforce, and the tsunami of retirements that they’re going to have.

“Agencies are putting into place steps to mitigate that attrition, starting with things like phased retirement. They’re also looking for new ways to recruit the millennial government, or even the generations behind them. And I think that’s going to be critical in mitigating that risk, in terms of the baby boomers retiring.”

Looking Ahead to Government Tech Under Clinton or Trump

While the US government is notoriously slow to upgrade technologically, it’s by no means stagnant, and Majmudar is well aware that the cyclical nature of our democracy means it could look very different in the coming years, particularly considering the deep divisions between this election year’s presidential candidates.

Majmudar believes that if Trump is elected come November, we’ll likely see a privatization of government resources. “I think he’s a big proponent of privatization. I think he recently talked about doing that with TSA,” Majmudar says. “And so, if you think along those lines, I suspect what you’ll see is him encouraging the private sector even more so than the current administration, and taking apart and participating in the technology process. So, a real emphasis on privatization.”

As for a Hillary Clinton presidency, Majmudar explains that her body of work gives a much clearer idea of what we could expect. “She’s always been a big proponent of the Federal workforce, ever since she was Secretary of State, and prior to that, senator. So, I think she’ll emphasize training of the Federal workforce, and how they can be leveraged to improve adoption of technology.”

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer


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