Future-Proofing Government Through Technology Modernization

By Steve Goll, Tyler Technologies

As advancements in technology speed up, government agencies face a decision: maintain old legacy systems or invest in modern technology. With a projected $144 billion budgeted for IT by states and local governments in 2024, the stakes are high. How should those dollars be best invested? This article explains five risks of putting off government technology modernization and explores a sustainable path forward.

Legacy Technology Risk #1: Technical Debt

Technical debt builds up not only through postponed technology upgrades but also by inheriting the challenges of outdated systems. The short-term savings of “kicking the can down the road” might seem attractive, but the long-term implications of not modernizing go beyond mere financial costs. Legacy systems can lead to higher maintenance costs for outdated tools, require staff training on out-of-date technologies, and can lead to even greater costs when an inevitable system upgrade is required.

Accruing technical debt can be avoided. Cloud-based systems, with their scalability and automatic updates, ensure that government IT investments keep pace with advances in technology. Additionally, cloud service subscriptions provide predictability for IT budgeting year after year. No more can kicking.

Legacy Technology Risk #2: Workforce Issues

Workers make up a significant share of IT budgeting, with 37% of budget dollars directed toward staffing. The aging of the public sector IT workforce is a well-known trend.

In the federal workforce, IT workers over 60 years old have doubled since 2007, while those under 30 have declined.

Source: Analytical Perspectives, WhiteHouse.gov

Hiring is already a challenge; the wave of looming retirements will only make the situation worse as the knowledge needed to maintain legacy systems shrinks.

Simply put, legacy technology isn’t attractive to the tech-savvy generation now entering the workforce. Gen Z doesn’t want to learn outdated technology — for that matter, who does? A government with modern cloud solutions is better positioned as an attractive, progressive employer.

Legacy Technology Risk #3: Security

Security Ransomware attacks on state and local governments are on the rise. Are you sure that your legacy systems are secure? Legacy systems, because they may not be regularly updated, could be more vulnerable to data breaches. Let’s also not forget that on-premises software systems are more prone to disruptions from natural disasters. On the other hand, cloud-based solutions, by their distributed nature, are resilient against disruptions. Automatic updates and robust identity and access management capabilities help guard against cyber threats. Cloud systems keep data safe and compliant across government departments.

Legacy Technology Risk #4: Workflows and Interoperability

While existing systems may seem adequate at a glance, a closer inspection reveals time-consuming processes and siloed data that can’t be easily shared between departments. Employees could be spending days navigating through multiple legacy systems, handling paperwork, entering information manually, and compiling data from disparate sources.

In stark contrast, cloud-based systems can compress the time it takes to complete tasks from days to minutes with data shared between systems, intuitive workflows, automation, and AI. In some cases, manual effort can be eliminated entirely, freeing employees to better serve the public in other ways.

Legacy Technology Risk #5: Faltering Technology Support

When it comes to support, it’s important to differentiate between a mere software vendor and a dedicated technology partner. Traditional software vendors, especially those providing on-premises solutions, can become unreliable if their business circumstances change, potentially leaving their customers in a lurch.

Look for a long-term government technology partner instead. Providers of cloud-based solutions commit to continuous, active support and regular improvements. This approach reduces the risk of becoming stuck with outdated technology and helps to maintain and improve government operations over time.


Investing in modern cloud solutions is the right move for government agencies wanting to avoid the risks of outdated systems, attract a younger workforce, and ensure security. Finding the right government technology partner will help you to future-proof your operations so that you can focus your efforts where it matters most — serving the public.

Is Your Legacy Digital Infrastructure Putting You at Risk?

Explore the five risks of maintaining old legacy systems and the benefits of modernizing government technology in a white paper from Tyler Technologies.

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