Serving the Mission: Modernizing Federal Agencies
Federal agencies face major, and often unique, constraints in modernizing their infrastructures. This is even more apparent during the end of the government fiscal year, as agencies seek to maximize use of funds on projects that propel their modernization efforts. But they also face the same competitive pressures as private corporations, such as competition for skilled employees, meeting operational requirements and budget limitations.
Still, many agencies have found ways to navigate their unique challenges and still achieve outstanding results when modernizing their infrastructures. At CenturyLink, we have a long history of partnership with the government and collaboration with agencies, and we would like to share some of our efforts and successful partnerships as we move into FY2020.
For instance, a federal law enforcement agency required a complete revamp of their network and voice infrastructure, and replacement of aging hardware that had reached the end of its useful life. But it didn’t have the budget for the estimated $30 million in funding that such a move would normally require. We began consulting with the agency and worked to help find a solution.
It was quickly determined that delaying the modernization program to allow the federal budget process to allocate the funds in the future wasn’t feasible. The agency was already suffering from sporadic system outages that were actively interfering with its law enforcement mission. As an additional pressure, information technology professionals with the skills to manage the aging equipment were leaving the workforce. And in what proved to be an additional headache, the existing time-and-materials contract was cumbersome for the agency to track and manage.
Our solution was to move the agency from a government-owned-contractor-operated (GOCO) model to a contractor-owned-contractor-operated (COCO) contract. We were able to pay the $30 million capital investment for new hardware up front and assumed management of the legacy systems during the transition to ensure quality of service. This also saved the agency some $8 million in operating expenditures each year.
The old system was replaced with a self-healing network that linked the agency’s headquarters and multiple regional offices, migrated from TDM telecommunications to a VoIP system and set up a Managed-Network-as-a-Service for the end-state solution. The company also provided the agency with a dedicated staff and network operations center. All of these were shaped by the agency’s user-driven service-level agreements.
Since the move to the CenturyLink solution five years ago, the system has achieved 99.99% availability. It has also always beaten the required time-to-restore metric of under five hours in those rare instances when it encountered an outage.
Another success story began with an independent federal agency that needed a custom wide area network (WAN) build-out. The agency requirements included having always-available, highly accessible data, but its aging WAN infrastructure was unable to support new applications and capabilities, hurting employees’ productivity. In addition, the aging WAN had latency issues that caused problems when users needed to work with real time applications. The agency needed to get fast, secure connections to their cloud and SaaS providers as they began to move to a cloud-enabled environment.
For this customer, we were able to configure a multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) network over Ethernet, providing on-net connectivity to 17 locations. We provided added capacity, improved reliability and provided the flexibility for future changes, as well as achieved the agency’s requirements for improved latency and diversity of communication routes.
While federal agencies face both internal government pressures regarding budget and procurements, as well as the typical organizational challenges like competition for skilled employees, they can still be highly successful with complex modernization challenges. It just requires a little innovative thinking and creating strong partnerships with industry.
For us, it’s about serving the mission. We are committed to helping agencies harmonize past, present and future technologies, in order to modernize, improve efficiencies and focus more of their critical resources on their mission. As a nation, we are better served if agencies can focus on doing their jobs and less on which technologies they should use. Your success is our success.
To learn more about how CenturyLink can help federal agencies find a solutions to difficult challenges, check out more of our success stories. And here’s to happy new federal fiscal year.
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