Moving the Federal Government Forward with Subscription-Based Technology


Arctic IT News, Articles and Events

Subscription based technology

Publish Date

August 16, 2019



In less than 60 days, another fiscal year begins for the federal government. This is a prime opportunity for the feds to leverage technology more efficiently through subscription-based pricing.

Let’s look at two programs that support this:

The 21st Century IDEA law passed in January of this year. It requires every public-facing agency website to have a “consistent look” and be compliant with the web standards developed by the Technology Transformation Service of the General Services Administration. These websites must be mobile-friendly so it’s more convenient to do business with the federal government in the digital age.

The Customer Experience Act is a new program designed to bring more accountability to federal agencies. The bill also would require agencies to post the responses to those questions online, use the responses to improve their services, and establish a website that would link to agency reports on customer services.

Unfortunately, trying to carry out these initiatives while keeping legacy systems alive is counter-productive to modernizing the federal government.  The answer to making these programs reality is subscription-based models for technology, which are designed to adapt to the changing needs of agencies.

As consumers, we’ve already made the shift to subscription-based pricing.

Not too long ago, to watch a movie at home, consumers went to a store to purchase a DVD.  It was on a one-time purchase. Now, by subscribing to an online streaming service (like Netflix), people pay an ongoing monthly or yearly fee to automatically have access to a huge variety of content.  It is available on demand and consumers have endless choices.

Technology in the private sector demands flexibility – and now they have it.

Subscription-based technology has already proven its effectiveness in the commercial sector, where organizations can build scalable, affordable, and flexible back-end solutions. They avoid cumbersome, expensive installations and have the ability to create their own cloud stack without a huge investment. If something doesn’t work out, they have the agility to react quickly.

Applying these examples to federal agencies is no different. Subscription-based IT costs are predictable, so when agencies have a clearer picture of their IT consumption and costs, they can tweak policies to be more efficient with their technology purchases. Also, when there is a fluctuation of workload, the IT budget adjusts along with it. Spend is factored on usage only so that agencies avoid waste, and program overfunding/underfunding can be a thing of the past.

How about end of life support? Programs that reside on a local network and rely on end-of-life support are vulnerable to cyber-attacks.  With subscription-based pricing, this is avoided because technology under a subscription model is always current and doesn’t need the maintenance that older technology requires.

Agencies can also gain a better cyber security posture by commoditizing support services through their technology partners.  IT contractors that provide fixed fee managed services and security can make stronger and more frequent investments in the best cyber security, in turn, helping the government operate more securely.

Now is the time for subscription-based technology consumption in government.

It will positively impact federal agencies and help deliver on the technology directives of this administration.

Arctic IT provides subscription-based pricing to support on both of our application support (ArcticAscend) and managed services (ArcticCare) offerings. To find out more on Arctic IT’s experience and qualifications in the federal government space, check out 

By Jeremy Davenport, Senior Technical Account Executive at Arctic IT.