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Department of Defense Calls for Improved IT User Experience


Despite recent advancements in the field of information technology, the US Defense Department finds that user experience remains one of the chief hurdles to the full implementation and use of new technologies within the organization.

This prompted John Sherman, chief information officer for the agency, to call for changes in both hardware and software and on the side of software developers. He pointed out that having to use outdated technologies prevents the country’s military from properly dealing with hostile elements due to issues with morale.

Indeed, over the past several years, the US Armed Forces have dealt with issues reported by IT systems users ranging from extended sign-in times to users actually getting kicked out of programs while performing critical tasks. As a recent report from the Defense Business Board shows, 48% of those in the defense sector rated their IT user experience as the worst.

Sherman added that priority changes will appear in the department’s upcoming budget for 2024.

The Need to Improve Communication

At the same time, the Defense Department’s deputy CIO Lily Zeleke opines that the Department needs to improve communication with IT systems users to properly understand where they run into trouble while working. Any information gleaned from there needs to be transformed into data that can be analyzed and measured to come up with better solutions.

Zeleke added that it is imperative that the department comes up with the correct metrics, as well as a viable monitoring procedure with regard to systems automation that can help the agency troubleshoot key issues.

The US Air Force was one of the first to find a solution in keeping with the deputy CIO’s plans. The Air Force currently has an initiative that provides measurable feedback by way of a program that attaches to an application deployed in individual computers to track issues regarding startup and logins. The program also observes all applications used on the device. As of the end of 2022, around 65 Air Force bases have already started using the program.

A Substantial Budget for Upgrades

While the department has yet to release the actual amount it wants to spend to improve user experience across the board, the US Army recently disclosed that it has requested $394 million for both hardware and software upgrades, including a “bring your own device” initiative, virtual desktop infrastructure, and the replacement of outdated equipment onsite.

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