The Department of the Air Force is focusing its modernization efforts on functional analysis, the agency’s chief information officer (CIO) said today, as a way to help accelerate legacy mission system migrations to the cloud.

CIO Lauren Knausenberger said that while functional analysis may seem boring, it is critical to identifying legacy systems that can “just go away.”

“We need to do more functional analysis, just hard stop on the mission side because there are things that absolutely can just go away,” Knausenberger said at SAIC’s OutFront event today. “We just need the data. Just having a data catalog in order to be able to say ‘Hey, I just need this data for this one thing.’”

“There are a lot of things that we will be able to get rid of as we are able to deliver a more cohesive data strategy at that level,” she added. “We just have to get through the functional analysis, but that is something that actually we’re getting organized for success on now. It is becoming a much hotter topic. And we have the mission imperative – we’ve got to get it done.”

The CIO explained that at her agency, a lot of things are not yet in the cloud because “they’re really, really old.” However, she said it’s a challenge to sort through everything and determine what is “absolutely critical to our national defense” and what isn’t.

Dominic Delmolino, vice president of technology and innovation for the public sector at Amazon Web Services (AWS), agreed with Knausenberger, adding that functional analysis will only make an organization more agile in its cloud migration.

“I’ve got to agree with Lauren, if you do this functional analysis, you’re going to see that 80 percent of your systems is probably undifferentiated work that is stuff you have to do. But gosh, maybe there’s an accredited platform or service that can take care of that function for you,” Delmolino said.

“You just don’t need to be coding, monitoring, managing, patching, and operating that part of that application anymore,” he continued. “So, the ability to take it up a notch and just get to the code that is necessary to do the mission and the data necessary for that, really, I think makes you more agile and helps you move that stuff faster.”

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Grace Dille
Grace Dille
Grace Dille is MeriTalk's Assistant Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.