Special Podcast: Systems Modernization in Government


This podcast is presented by SAP Concur

Innovating Navy IT Infrastructure: Flank Speed's Evolution

Darren Turner, Chief Technologist at the Department of Navy Chief Technology Office, discusses the creation and evolution of 'Flank Speed' – an initiative born out of the urgent need for a robust remote work infrastructure in 2020. This initiative was centered around a zero-trust, internet-accessible solution, leveraging partnerships with key defense and security agencies. Turner emphasizes the strategic shift from traditional IT approaches to agile, user-centric models, highlighting the integration of zero-trust security principles and the importance of continuous innovation and adaptation.

Three Key Takeaways:

  1. Rapid Adaptation and Partnership: Faced with unprecedented challenges, the Navy swiftly developed Flank Speed through strategic partnerships, outpacing existing DoD policies and embracing a vision for modern technology infrastructure.
  2. Zero-Trust Security Integration: Flank Speed embedded zero-trust security components as its core, demonstrating the importance of advanced security measures in modern IT solutions.
  3. Continuous Evolution and User Focus: The initiative is an ongoing process, with a strong emphasis on user experience, agile development, and adapting to feedback. This approach ensures that the Navy’s IT infrastructure remains cutting-edge and responsive to evolving needs.


Leading Government Modernization: Insights from Marques Tibbs-Brewer

Marques Tibbs-Brewer, VP of Federal Government Operations at SAP Concur, discusses  the critical elements of successful transformation in government agencies. Tibbs-Brewer emphasizes the importance of executive sponsorship, leadership at all levels, and effective change management. He highlights the necessity of soft skills, continuous innovation, and customer-centric approaches, alongside the technical aspects of modernization.

Three Key Takeaways:

  1. Holistic Leadership and Change Management: Success in transformation requires more than just technology; it involves comprehensive leadership and change management strategies, focusing on both hard and soft skills.
  2. Continuous Innovation and Improvement: Modernization is an ongoing journey, not a destination. Agencies must embrace continuous innovation and improvement to keep up with technological advancements and evolving needs.
  3. Customer-Centric Approach: Understanding and addressing both internal and external customer experiences is crucial. This involves balancing various factors like compliance, usability, and security to ensure optimal service delivery.


Revolutionizing Financial Management at the Department of Veterans Affairs

Terry Riffel Deputy Assistant Secretary for Financial Management Business Transformation at the Department of Veterans Affairs, discusses the transformation of their financial management system. The new system integrates finance and acquisition processes for increased transparency and efficiency. Emphasizing the importance of non-customized solutions and robust change management, Riffel details the journey from inception in 2016 to its current state. Key strategies include engaging end users, transparent communication, and continuous feedback to ensure alignment and effective adaptation to the new system.

Three Key Takeaways:

  1. Strategic Implementation: The VA's approach of no customization, focusing on configuration within the new financial management system, has been pivotal. This strategy has facilitated flexible yet consistent processes across different organizational levels.
  2. Change Management Focus: Effective change management has been a cornerstone of the transformation, ensuring that both the executives and end-users are continuously engaged and educated about the process changes. This approach has been vital in securing user adoption and minimizing resistance.
  3. Continuous Monitoring and Feedback: Success is measured not just by deployment but also by ongoing user feedback and adherence to defined benefits like increased efficiency and strengthened decision-making. This ongoing evaluation helps in refining and adjusting the system to meet the actual needs of the users.



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