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GCN : January and February 2016
The federal government spends more than $80 billion annually on IT, and according to some estimates, more than 70 percent goes to maintaining legacy systems, which leaves only a fraction to fund next-generation systems. That formula keeps legacy systems running, but it also ex- poses them to potential disaster as the costs of maintaining those systems inevitably mount and budgets for new investments are squeezed. The resulting zero-sum game tends to keep the govern- ment from adopting new systems aimed at the latest priorities and requirements. In September 2015, Mark Ryland, chief architect for Amazon Web Services’ worldwide public sector, warned lawmakers of the risks they were taking by funding older systems. He was testify- ing before the House Oversight and Government Reform Com- mittee’s IT Subcommittee. “That’s a lot of money,” Ryland said, adding that it was “no longer acceptable for such amounts to be spent on technologies geared toward preserving legacy systems rather than on applica- 24 GCN JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2016 • GCN.COM Can software quality tools shrink IT and software managers have begun experimenting with ways to identify and minimize less-than- optimal coding to avoid expensive fixes down the road BY PAUL McCLOSKEY technical debt? 0216gcn_024-025.indd 24 2/3/16 2:55 PM
March and April 2016