As Federal IT Missions Become More Complex, Building True Partnerships is the Secret to Success

This week, we had the opportunity to attend one of the groundbreaking conferences in federal IT in 2018 – ServiceNow’s Federal Forum. Despite the covering of ice across the National Capital Region and the pressures of the office, the conference was a hive of activity.

What drew people to this event?

The opportunity to learn from peers and the opportunity to start learning about the types of next-generation solutions that will help agencies build a new architecture to deliver on the mission more effectively and with a greater return on investment on those MGT Act dollars.  From the opening keynote delivered by CSRA’s CEO, Larry Prior,  to the last panel of the day moderated by ServiceNow’s CTO, Robert Osborn, the event showcased federal IT leaders in action.

“Agencies can learn so much from each other, but they rarely get the opportunity to collaborate and share experiences like they can at events like the FedForum,” shared Dave Lescalleet, Strategic Alliance Manager, Digital Services at CSRA. “The benefit of an event like this is that they get to hear from their peers and talk to strategic alliance partners, like CSRA, and see real projects, innovations and cutting-edge concepts in action,” he continued.

Shaleen Liberatore, CSRA Senior Technology Consultant, shared that CSRA pioneered the use of ServiceNow in the Intelligence Community (IC), providing infrastructure lifecycle support to an IC client which leverages ServiceNow as a capability enabler with everything from Tier 0 for User Self Help and knowledge management issues—things like password resets—to call center management, complex problem resolution, workflow automation, and real-time reporting status.

“We are positioning ourselves to better identify, locate, and mitigate issues before we receive calls to our service desk,” Liberatore explained.  “This will allow us to shift our paradigm to that Next Generation of proactive support.  We are no longer sitting idle waiting for our users to alert us to an issue; we are on the forefront of the largest industry shift in the ITDSM arena in that we want to detect and address issues before they occur. And by leveraging the platform we will be one step closer to that reality.”

“Traditionally, we have been limited by the capabilities of our tools and platforms” said Travis Stitt, Principal Solutions Architect at CSRA, “But by using ServiceNow, it’s as if you’ve take the restrictor plate off the engine and suddenly your ability to solve problems is practically limitless—you can often solve a problem before a customer even is aware of an issue.”

With the Modernizing Government Technology Act (MGT Act) now signed into law and at least partially funded the opportunity to build an innovative foundation for the future, like the one described by Stitt and Lescalleet, is well within reach.  So we asked our ServiceNow experts what some of the key considerations are for federal IT teams looking to make a transition like the IC.

The first thing to do, said Lescalleet, is “to find a partner that has a proven track record of building relationships and who can clearly translate business requirements and processes into ServiceNow development requirements.  I like to think of us as the “ServiceNow Whisperers”.  CSRA takes a Customer Zero approach to the technology it provides to its federal customers. “Right now, we’re in the process of re-architecting our managed service provider ecosystem, which resides in a FedRAMP cloud, giving us flexibility and scalability we have never seen before.  This new architecture and paradigm will allow us to deliver support to customers in a matter of hours at incredibly low cost,” he continued. When we do this we are able to overcome obstacles prior to our customers experiencing them. In taking this approach we are able to deliver elegant and efficient solutions more quickly,” Stitt concluded.

The second thing to do, Lescalleet said “is to avoid migrating old mindsets or legacy processes into the new platform.” Stitt echoed that sentiment.  He added that “since ServiceNow is incredibly configurable and flexible, the focus can be on solving existing and future customer problems, rather than focusing on the abilities of the platform.  ServiceNow becomes the catalyst which allows CSRA to help customers position themselves for success customers once thought unobtainable.”

And finally, our experts agreed that hearing first hand from other federal agency IT leaders about their experiences, is really the most important part of the equation. “Events like ServiceNow’s Federal Forum, provide future customers with a better sense of understanding ServiceNow’s capabilities, but also help to give them insights into what their own journey might look like.  Being able to speak to teams who have been through this process is invaluable, as lessons learned are a pivotal part of successful implementations,” Lescalleet concluded.

Stay tuned for more coverage of insight from federal IT leaders, including NASA’s Renee Wynn and the VA’s Scott Blackburn. Follow us on Twitter or subscribe to get FTI in your inbox.

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