Labor Department planning major IT improvements

The Labor Department recently unveiled plans to initiate a major IT modernization effort, Federal Times reported.

According to the news source, the Labor Department aims to significantly improve its data center management capabilities through consolidation and upgrades to the IT infrastructure. By doing so, the department will gain the ability to support a wide range of federal IT initiatives, including the implementation of enterprise data analytics.

To this end, the department recently requested $30 million in fiscal year 2015, Federal Times reported.

A vital project
Dawn Leaf, deputy CIO at the Labor Department, called this infrastructure optimization project vital for the department's long-term plans.

"We can sort of leapfrog and catch up on all those different agencies that maybe lag behind because they didn't have the funding or support and get everybody caught up to the same place to build their apps," Leaf told the news source.

Leaf added that all federal agencies, including the Labor Department, are struggling to adapt to an onslaught of new technologies. Consolidating and optimizing IT infrastructure is critical for meeting these challenges and enabling workers to take full advantage of these resources without compromising security.

Difficult efforts
This data center upgrade is only the latest effort by the Labor Department to to boost its IT capabilities, and not all of its projects have gone smoothly. For example, Leaf told the Federal Times that the department recently completed its cloud email migration effort, moving nine disparate systems into a single federal cloud service. Yet, while Leaf praised the benefits of this project, it is important to note that the effort was not easy.

Last month, Leaf spoke at the FOSE government technology conference about federal efforts to embrace cloud integration. As InformationWeek reported at the time, Leaf emphasized that this process had proved significantly more difficult than many initially expected.

"Intuitively we would all think that moving to commercially provided services or federal shared services would be easier," said Leaf, the news source reported. "I would argue that, based on our experience over the last 18 months or so at DOL, this is not necessarily the case. There are some things that are easier; there are some things that are harder."

As federal agencies across the board continue to embrace new technologies and upgrade IT systems, more setbacks and challenges are to be expected.