FCC IT Modernization

In 2012, the FCC faced a recurring problem among many federal agencies, the cost of operating and maintaining legacy IT systems consumed majority of their IT budget.

The FCC spent about 85 percent of their budget on systems that were 18 to 19 years old and hadn’t been updated since the 90s. With so much of the budget dedicated to outdated systems, there was very minimal left to focus on the future.

Many of the legacy systems used outdated incompatible technology. The obsolete systems posed significant risk of crashing causing large amounts of valuable data to be lost along with crippling the FCC network.

The FCC needed to move the IT infrastructure to a more stable state.

Approach

The newly appointed CIO at the FCC took charge in 2013. He was immediately confronted with the enormous challenge of legacy systems modernization.

The CIO recognized the effort would be difficult, but one that had to be done. He and FCC IT turned to The Ambit Group (Ambit) as a trusted service provider since 2007 and industry thought leader for support developing and executing an aggressive IT modernization strategy.

Actions

The migration of the enterprise to a hybrid cloud environment would be the first step towards getting out of managing legacy systems.

Emerging technologies, changing populations and an aging federal infrastructure are not new challenges to the Ambit team. Since 2004, we’ve supported major transformations at the operational and organizational levels of government.

Our Transformation Lifecycle melds Human-Centered Design with Agile Management to create an ambit that drives adoption. We use design thinking to create the Intervention, the point at which plans are generated that will guide the transformation.

We developed a strategic migration plan addressing human needs, technology, and business viability. To increase the likelihood of a successful migration, our team brought on additional staff to test applications in the cloud environment ensuring a seamless move.

We overcame the risk that the effort will lose steam and executive support by rooting our Implementation in an agile, customer-centered delivery framework.

To the surprise of the FCC, technology leaders, and industry insiders our team successful migrated FCC to Office 365 within 120 days, 60 days less than the 180 day industry average.

The migration to Office 365 was just one part of the huge overhaul towards modernization.

Simultaneously, the Ambit team developed a strategic plan for Operation Server Lift, relocation of 200 servers and 60 racks from the FCC office in Washington D.C. to a commercial data-center in West Virginia.

Our process was unbiased, analytic, data-driven, communications heavy, and pragmatic.

Design thinking was used throughout the effort. All stakeholders were heavily involved to understand and embrace the transformation’s goals, schedule, and progress.

Labor Day weekend 2015, the servers were loaded onto trucks at FCC headquarters in D.C. and driven out to the data-center in West Virginia. Teams worked around the clock in shifts to reconnect the servers until the network was back online.

Ambit successfully completed this task within six months as opposed to the projected 18 months.

Results

As a result of the multiple modernization efforts, the FCC has reduced its operations and maintenance spend on legacy IT systems down to 50 percent and increased their modernization budget up to 50 percent which they can invest in development and new technologies.