NC IT Roadmap - Applications

Governments, including ours, struggle with decentralized, custom-developed legacy systems and applications. These applications are difficult to maintain, expensive and time-consuming to develop, and can present security risks. We have currently cataloged 1,120 applications in the state’s enterprise portfolio management tool (EPMT), many of which are legacy custom applications. As we replace these applications or have new business needs to address, we are shifting to more flexible, modern cloud-native platforms and Software and Platform as-a-Service approaches, automating and streamlining delivery practices. We will move our efforts "up the stack" from infrastructure management, focusing on meeting business and end-user needs. As we replace these applications or have new business needs to address, we are shifting to more flexible, modern cloud-native platforms and Software and Platform as-a-Service approaches, automating and streamlining delivery practices. We will move our efforts "up the stack" from infrastructure management, focusing on meeting business and end-user needs.  

We will eliminate as much custom development and system duplication as possible. We will also reduce risk by streamlining business processes, gathering requirements prior to choosing a solution, and increasing testing prior to implementation. We will focus on leveraging the following approaches to application delivery: 

  • Existing Enterprise Applications: Whenever possible, we will leverage our enterprise applications. We own multiple systems with overlapping base functionalities that are currently implemented for single agency use. If implemented more strategically, these systems can serve the enterprise rather than individual agencies. For example, we are now leveraging the Department of Transportation’s grants management system as an enterprise solution, serving over 15 grant applications and having processed over $1.5 billion in assistance. Based on data collected through the EPMT we will work with agencies to validate the base capabilities and requirements for additional applications.  

  • Common Platforms: When there isn’t an appropriate enterprise application to be leveraged, we will look to leverage common platforms. Common platforms include an application framework that contains standard building blocks (e.g. transaction processing, identity management) that can be leveraged to build applications. 

    Through common platforms, we will be able to eliminate some of our duplicative and redundant applications and reduce our delivery time and changes to applications for the business, while creating a consistent, more accessible experience for our end-users. Moving to common platforms will also allow us to focus on only a few specific platforms, increasing our expertise which we can then share across agencies to save time and money. 

  • Software as-a-Service (SaaS): When neither an enterprise application nor common platform will work, we will leverage Software as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions. SaaS is a software licensing and delivery model, where solutions are centrally hosted and rely on common code bases. These solutions are licensed on a subscription or pay-per-use basis. SaaS provides configurable support for specific business capabilities with defined processes and outcomes. 

    SaaS solutions will save a tremendous amount of upfront development time and reduce upfront costs by eliminating the need to procure and maintain infrastructure. Additional savings will be realized over time in the form of eliminated hardware maintenance and reduced software maintenance. By spreading the cost of the application more consistently over the life of the application we can ultimately create a more reliable cost model for the State’s application portfolio.