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Why Cloud Application Lifecycle Management is Critical for Federal Agencies
Cloud Application Lifecycle Management for federal agencies

Publish Date

April 10, 2024



In the rapidly evolving digital landscape, federal government agencies are poised to take advantage of the transformative power of cloud technology which can be tailored to meet the unique mandates and compliance requirements of federal agencies. But beyond mere adoption lies the critical, often overlooked, aspect of application lifecycle management (ALM) —ensuring that cloud applications don’t just launch but thrive over time. ALM services offer a strategic roadmap throughout the cloud journey, from inception to retirement. Embracing this holistic approach not only maximizes the return on investment but also secures a resilient and agile infrastructure capable of adapting to new challenges and opportunities.

Let’s review the intricate mesh of planning, deployment, operation, and continuous improvement that application lifecycle management services entail. The cloud you invest in today should evolve to meet your agency’s demands for tomorrow.

How Did We Get Here

Long have been the days when organizations followed a true traditional waterfall approach to system development. A year to build requirements and hire the right contractor to build your solution. Years to build and test that solution, only to put it into use and realize it has missed the mark on over 50% of your organization’s true needs or due to ever-changing regulations, what you thought you needed three years ago, has changed significantly. Let’s be honest, it doesn’t work.

Additionally, most federal agencies have legacy systems which were built over decades from the unique domain knowledge of long-time employees—who have either retired or are delaying their retirement to help the next generation product get deployed into your environment. The plan follows the typical big bang approach, ‘if we can just get this system deployed before they retire, then everything will be great.’

The Initial Challenge & Plan to Overcome

No one knows every regulation, every process, and everything required for your system to be successful. Over the last few decades, processes have changed, regulations have increased, and what worked decades or even five years ago, does not work today.

You realize that what you need is a solution that is flexible and can be adaptive to your every changing needs. You decide on a new Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) product, that meets all the latest security requirements, and that is configurable with little to no coding required (low-code/no-code). You document your requirements, assess implementation partners, sign a contract, and start the unenviable task of implementing the new solution. This time, you are smarter, and you realize you need to take an agile approach—an iterative build to get the product you want.

The day is finally here, and you go live into production with your shiny new cloud solution. For the first year of use, it is a little clunky, but quick configuration updates by your support contractor to tweak the solution begin to pay off. However, over time, you realize that every vendor update to the SaaS product changes the end-user experience. Your support contractor has signed an agreement for support only and does not have the scope to continue to make modifications every quarter or every year.

You now have the latest and greatest software on the planet, and you feel like you did when you began. What are you to do?

Hire an Application Lifecycle Management Services Contractor

The answer is simple. Make sure instead of signing a support contract or Operations and Maintenance (O&M) contract, you are signing a services contract post-go live for application lifecycle management. This means that your contractor will provide not only break/fix, but also O&M and ongoing enhancements to your solution.

Why procure a flexible and adaptive cloud-based application and then not make full use of its flexible and adaptive nature? This is like buying a large pickup truck with full towing capabilities, just to go to the grocery store and back.

By utilizing an ALM services contract, you can continue to implement new features released by your Cloud Service Provider (CSP) and make changes that align with new regulations and your ever-changing agency needs.

This also allows for a true agile approach, where you are never truly ‘done’ with the product. You work in short sprints until you have a minimum viable product (MVP) or release candidate, train your staff, and put it into production. While continuing to support this release candidate, your team continues to work sprint by sprint on the next release.

When You’re Ready to Migrate an Application to the Cloud…

Gone are the days of the Big Bang approach to system development in federal government. It doesn’t work, is costly, and often does not meet the needs of your organization. Next time, consider the full lifecycle of your application from birth to death. Arctic IT Government Solutions specializes in federal technology and provides a holistic approach to application lifecycle management services to keep your cloud application running smoothly and configured with your up-to-date business needs. Connect with us today at to learn more.

Steve Schmitz President AITGS

By Steve Schmitz, President & General Manager at Arctic IT Government Solutions