Government agencies across the globe – whether they be state, local, central, or federal – face a digital transformation imperative. Increasingly sophisticated digital services provided by the private sector have increased citizen expectations of government.
For many agencies, legacy IT stacks and inflexible budgetary requirements stand in the way of meeting these expectations. Furthermore, the convergence of multiple industry-disrupting “mega-trends,” including cloud, IoT, mobile, and big data, has led to an explosion of connectivity endpoints, complicating the path toward digital government.
For government IT teams to keep pace with citizen expectations, they must increase IT agility without compromising security. We propose that an architectural approach centered around APIs and microservices should be used to unlock monolithic legacy systems where core data and services are siloed. Doing so can increase the speed of IT project delivery, leading to more efficient, cost-effective, responsive government.
Organizations considering such an approach should ensure that the underlying integration and API lifecycle management technologies they use to implement such a strategy can deployed in the cloud alongside modern technologies, and that they meet government security and compliance requirements (e.g. FedRAMP).
WHY GOVERNMENT MUST CHANGE ITS IT OPERATING MODEL
In our experience, addressing the spiraling growth of IT projects in government requires the development of two new capabilities that are currently unmet by status quo approaches.
1. Accelerated project delivery driven by reusable assets and shared services. To address the growing IT project delivery gap in government, agencies must stop “reinventing the wheel” with each incremental project, and instead, seek to build and leverage shared services.
2. Secure data exchange within and outside agencies. More than ever, agencies have to coordinate together in order to provide quality citizen experiences and deliver on their mission. The inability for agencies to access each others’ data in a fast and secure manner often constrains them from efficiently and cost-effectively delivering IT projects.
Leveraging Reusable Microservices To Increase It Project Delivery In Government
As we will show below, moving beyond point-to-point connectivity requires an approach centered around the development of connectivity assets that are both reusable across different projects and contexts, and discoverable by the teams that need them. In our experience, enabling that approach requires that monolithic services be broken down into smaller, constituent microservices. Agencies that employ this approach simultaneously realize greater project delivery speed and security, but only if they do so in such a way that drives reuse of these microservices across the enterprise.
DEFINING MICROSERVICES WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF GOVERNMENT
In government, it’s common for key data, services, and applications to be siloed within legacy systems. Making changes to the applications running on these systems can be a monumental undertaking spanning months, or even years – strangling agility and increasing costs. Because of this, many have started to explore ways to modernize these systems. Microservices represent one of the most promising avenues for innovation.
For the purposes of this whitepaper, we define a microservice has having four distinct components:
- An API contract that exposes and governs standardized access to the microservice in a way that promotes loose coupling between distinct microservices.
- Business logic flows that route, enrich, transform, aggregate, or otherwise processes data.
- Connectivity that can expose data or services in a manner that is agnostic to the end-consuming application or system.
- A distinct runtime engine that executes the microservice.
Evolving citizen and constituent expectations have created the imperative for government to digitally transform. Delivering on digital transformation grows more challenging by the year, as the proliferation of modern technologies (e.g. SaaS, mobile, IoT) forces IT teams to rethink how to best deliver projects to their constituents and deliver on their mission.
Microservices have emerged as a means through which government IT teams can increase project delivery speed without compromising on security. This whitepaper discusses the role microservices can play in government, and how API-led connectivity helps agencies to more effectively and securely implement a microservices architecture.
Readers will learn:
- Why government IT teams must move beyond point-to-point integration
- How API-led connectivity supports microservices adoption in government
- How government can use MuleSoft’s FedRAMP In Process integration platform to rapidly develop APIs and microservices