8 ways federal agencies can successfully adopt new IT infrastructure
Don’t let a messy adoption strategy get in the way of much-needed IT procurement.

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If you work for a U.S. federal agency, you deserve a round of applause.

In 2023, you persevered through potential government shutdowns, looming economic downturns, and increasingly common and sophisticated cyberattacks. But unfortunately, it doesn’t look like 2024 is going to give you a break.

A divisive national election, boiling international tensions, and continued budgetary uncertainty all exacerbate one glaring issue: much of your IT ecosystem is overdue for a refresh, but you barely have the bandwidth, budget, or manpower to even think about it.

The SHI Federal team understands the dilemma agencies all over the nation face. That’s why we’ve developed eight steps you can take right now to establish an effective program for adopting new technology.

The steps outlined in this blog will help you:

  • Meet your requirements for continental U.S. (CONUS) configuration.
  • Follow all regulations and compliance standards.
  • Select suitable procurement cost models.
  • Safely and securely migrate all necessary data.
  • And more!

1. Create a strategic plan

Every great process starts with a great plan. To hit the ground running with your technology refreshes, build out a strategic plan that can answer the following:

  • Which technologies need to be replaced?
  • What is your deployment timeline?
  • What steps do you need to take to minimize disruptions during your transition?

For large-scale or widespread refreshes, it can help to have a trusted partner evaluate your environment and break down the exact components that’ll influence your plan. End-user experiences, network requirements, and the potential compatibilities of your existing hardware and software will all impact your technology refreshes – and can cause serious headaches if your team is spread too thin to tackle them yourselves.

2. Determine the best cost model for your needs

Tech refreshes can consume a significant portion of your annual IT budget. Analyze available cost models to determine which option best helps your agency maximize the value of allocated funds.

Capital expenditure (capex): A capex cost model involves purchasing IT assets with cash or credit. This is a great option for large, long-term investments, especially those you have the bandwidth and expertise to manage and maintain in-house.

Instances when you might choose a capex cost model include:

  • Purchasing new servers.
  • Refreshing your end-user device fleet.
  • Overhauling your networking switches and access points.

Capex typically focuses on investments that stretch beyond a single tax year. As such, implications such as asset depreciation and value amortization impact the decision-making of a capex purchase.

Operating expenditure (opex): An opex cost model pertains to purchases that may not have an upfront cost. This cost model typically applies to as-a-Service offerings, subscription licensing, and managed services.

Instances when you might choose an opex cost model include:

  • Integrating subscription-based cloud storage for remote workers.
  • Entering a contract for multivendor platform support.
  • Deploying a Device-as-a-Service model for your workplace.

Because opex focuses on current-day value, these expenses are typically fully deductible within the tax year they’re billed.

3. Ensure your new tech maintains regulatory compliance

From CJIS and COPPA to FISMA and 21 CFR Part 11, federal agencies are obligated to maintain compliance with rules and regulations meant to safeguard employee, constituent, and governmental data.

Without due diligence, it’s possible to replace old technology with new solutions that don’t adhere to your agency’s compliance standards. And depending on your agency’s function, your IT environment could have dozens if not hundreds of rules to follow.

Establish a team of compliance stakeholders who know or can learn the ins and outs of your ecosystem. When it’s time to plan for a tech refresh, encourage them to outline the regulations your existing solution adheres to and research which modern technologies can continue or even strengthen your compliance.

If you’re unable to form an internal team, don’t be afraid to rely on a trusted partner. SHI Federal is home to compliance experts and OEM specialists who understand your needs and know which solutions can best service your requirements.

4. Define how you’ll implement and install your new solutions

Whether you’re hybridizing your data center or establishing zero trust agency-wide, worthwhile IT projects are never as simple as opening a box and pressing a power button (unfortunately). Before you commit to a purchase order, you need to know the intimate details of how you’ll deploy your new IT assets, including:

  • How they need to be configured.
  • Which device configurations match which end-user personas.
  • Where you’ll store new infrastructure and whether they’ll have enough power and cooling.
  • Who (internally or externally) will be installing the assets.
  • And much more.

Answering these questions can be difficult, especially if you’re relying on a hodgepodge of research or over-the-phone conversations.

SHI’s Customer Innovation Center (CIC) is a great place to physically test and learn about solutions before you procure them. Our CIC is staffed by technical advisors who are eager to answer questions, solve IT mysteries, and chart the best path forward for your agency.

SHI couples this with our U.S.-based integration centers, where we can build and configure hundreds of servers or devices simultaneously. Rest assured that, with a dependable partner like SHI, you can fulfill your CONUS requirements and have new IT solutions that truly fit your current and future needs.

5. Train your end users

As exciting as new technology can seem to IT teams, it’s worthless if your general employees don’t want or know how to use it.

To successfully adopt new technology, you need a change management team who can:

  • Provide simple, role-specific trainings.
  • Clearly and frequently communicate the what, when, and why of upcoming changes.
  • Secure stakeholder buy-in and answer the “what’s in it for me” (WIFM) mentality.

You can create an internal change management team or lean on a trusted partner for help. Either way, it’s important the team understands your technology goals and agency culture. Otherwise, you risk muddying your message and slowing adoption.

6. Secure your new technology

Updating your IT landscape isn’t just about replacing dusty desktops with slick new hardware; you’re also replacing an attack vector. If you’re refreshing technology that’s older than three or five years, you’ll likely need to reevaluate your cybersecurity measures for that area of your attack surface.

If, for example, your new solution includes AI-driven automation, do you have the zero trust processes in place to ensure threat actors can’t access the data AI generates?

If you’re replacing old networking infrastructure with modern equipment, is your team up to speed on the latest security protocols for your selected OEM(s)?

To answer questions like these, perform an annual or semiannual assessment of your cybersecurity posture. Evaluate your incident response, perceived resilience, and readiness to adapt to new technologies.

If you find yourself too deep in the weeds, a proven security partner like SHI Federal can be a fresh pair of eyes to view your threat landscape and provide feedback from an outside perspective. With your upcoming IT projects in mind, we can provide actionable recommendations for ensuring your environment stays secure during and well after your technology deployment.

7. Migrate all necessary data

As a federal agency, you likely have stringent policies regarding data preservation, storage, and redundancy. As you refresh your old technology, you need to ensure you can migrate data to your new solutions without losing or corrupting any information in the process.

This is another area where SHI’s CIC can help. When you demo prospective devices, infrastructure, and software at our CIC, you can simulate conditions specific to your agency. Evaluate what a mass migration would look like in your environment, catching any data corruption, incompatibility, or errors along the way.

8. Maintain continuous support

Once your new IT solutions are deployed and adopted, make sure you have the resources to support your investments over the long term. This includes troubleshooting, patching, and consistently assessing performance.

If you have an internal lifecycle support team, communicate with them before making your purchase to ensure they have the bandwidth, expertise, and capabilities to manage your new solutions. If they do, proactively offer trainings that will shorten the “break in” period of your new equipment.

If you don’t have an internal team, or if they aren’t able to support your new solutions, consider offloading support to a managed services partner.

SHI Federal, for example, can provide multivendor platform (MVP) support for 19 of the IT industry’s largest OEMs, including Microsoft, Dell, Cisco, and AWS. When you support your technology with SHI MVP, you gain 24/7 help from Level 3 engineers, cross-trained to fix your issues before your employees or constituents are impacted.


As a federal agency, you have enough unpredictability on your plate. Don’t let your much-needed technology refreshes add to your list of uncertainties. By following SHI Federal’s eight steps for successful IT adoption, you can:

  1. Build a strategic tech refresh plan.
  2. Determine the most optimal cost model.
  3. Meet and maintain regulatory compliance.
  4. Define how you’ll implement and install your technology.
  5. Train and communicate to your end users.
  6. Uphold a strong cybersecurity
  7. Safely migrate your data.
  8. Maintain long-term IT support.

And with our team of IT and regulation experts by your side, you can achieve all the above without adding any unnecessary burden to your internal staff. Test and evaluate solutions at SHI’s Customer Innovation Center, fulfill CONUS configuration requirements at our integration centers, and consolidate support for 19 of the biggest IT OEMs with SHI MVP.

Ready to flawlessly adopt new IT with SHI Federal? Contact us today to put your plan to action.

Contact us to solve what’s next for your federal agency!