Goal 1: Modernize and Innovate CDC IT Capabilities and Services


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Data are being generated and collected at a rapidly advancing pace and unprecedented scale. To adequately collect, measure, and analyze a growing pool of data, CDC must provide means of storing, accessing, protecting, and transporting timely, quality data from multiple sources using an IT infrastructure of the future with modern technologies and analytical tools. This means quickly acquiring cloud-based technology and modernizing capabilities needed for the mission. Public health data and IT will become nimbler than in the past, using enterprise platforms with flexible architectures and services, making it easier to swap out aging systems and add new capabilities as technology and agency needs evolve. To innovate and move faster than disease, CDC will take advantage of agile approaches that enable systems thinking and focus on achieving public health outcomes, combined with continuous experimentation, feedback, and learning.

Objective 1.1: CDC Enterprise Cloud Service: Offer self-service and OCIO-managed options for deploying and managing data and systems in the cloud.

Objective Description:

Cloud computing capabilities can improve transparency and traceability of cost and reduce the capital required to modernize infrastructure. At the same time cloud promises rapid scaling to meet public health emergency response needs and fosters efficient access to new and emerging data science tools. These benefits have driven the CDC to embrace the need for the development of its own cloud computing ecosystem, which is the focus of this objective. As detailed in the agency Cloud Strategy, CDC is executing a vision to expand cloud services where “public health programs and partners easily, rapidly, and securely share data and scale solutions in a cloud ecosystem that improves the nation’s health and safety.” CDC’s public health cloud connects cloud-based solutions to CDC scientists and mission partners around the globe with the latest cloud technology and the highest levels of data integration, security, and performance. This is the foundation upon which the CDC will modernize its IT infrastructure, current systems, and tools; develop advanced analytic capabilities; and ensure more effective cybersecurity.

Objective 1.2: Deploy enterprise platform-based technology solutions to the agency to support the public health mission.

Objective Description:

A platform-based strategy to delivering enterprise technology relies on blocks of capabilities that support CDC mission priorities and targeted public health outcomes. Platform-based ecosystems reduce complexity, increase resilience, make technology easier to maintain, and provide greater flexibility to do things on the platform in the future that it was never originally designed to do.

The specific capabilities available will vary depending on the platform, but encompass three key areas:

  1. Presentation services are the part of a platform that most CDC staff or partners (i.e. end users) directly interact with, such as screens, webpages, reports, or dashboards.
  2. Business or application services process commands from the end user, perform calculations, and execute processes that move data where it’s needed.
  3. Data services enforce rules about how data is stored and accessed, which are needed for end users to retrieve information.

CDC programs can choose from the services provided by enterprise platforms to create their own mission-driven solutions. New capabilities will be added to enterprise platforms over time and can be leveraged without disrupting solutions already in operation.

Programs will continue to make choices about which solutions must be built from scratch versus using resources, tools, and functionality available on CDC enterprise platforms. However, compared to build-from-scratch solutions, an enterprise platform strategy eliminates the added burdens that accompany custom IT development and supports the goals of CDC’s Data Modernization Initiative. With cloud as the backbone, use of common platforms provides access to powerful analytics tools, makes public health IT infrastructure more flexible and sustainable, data sharing simpler, and data storage cheaper and more scalable.

Objective 1.3: System Modernization: Meet the demands of rapid shifts in technology through automation, continuous data integration, and continuous delivery.

Objective Description:

The agency must move toward an outcomes-centric approach to IT planning, development, and operations to establish a culture where people, process, and technology work together faster and more predictably. Collective responsibility for agency IT and data modernization efforts, combined with a focus on rapidly delivering value to end users, prevents individuals from just producing one element without considering the impact on the whole public health ecosystem. Likewise, speed to delivery is maximized through automation and rapid cycles of experimentation, learning, and repetition to achieve mastery. This results in an ability to rapidly turn concepts into minimally viable products (MVPs), put those products into the hands of those who need them, receive feedback, and launch improvements. Faster and faster iterations result in faster and faster improvements, until the system is in a state of continuous improvement. This rapid learn, build, and measure cycle will be the method CDC uses to modernize public health and business systems.

Outcome and Mission Impact:

Replacement and modernization of aging IT infrastructure and systems will allow for the efficient deployment and use of modern technologies and advanced data analytic capabilities. These capabilities are essential to enable and advance the CDC mission of public health science, prevention, and response to protect the lives of American citizens. To prevent the next pandemic or respond to the next public health emergency, public health scientists and policy makers need data that moves faster than disease. With investments in cloud technology, scalable enterprise platforms, and modernization of our systems and processes we are building the public health infrastructure of the future.

The Office of the Chief Information Officer is part of CDC’s Office of the Chief Operating Officer.

Page last reviewed: February 24, 2022