When Gartner announced the arrival of the federal cloud “inflection point” almost two years ago, it was an inflection point worth celebrating.
In 2010, the Cloud First policy was issued. By 2017, federal IT leaders had largely overcome skepticism, caution and discomfort on cloud matters, and dozens of cloud initiatives ensued. Obstacles fell away, and federal experimentation with cloud computing accelerated.
2019 brought the formulation of key guidance to accelerate cloud adoption, culminating in the Federal Cloud Smart Strategy. Until then, the cloud computing challenge for federal agencies was necessarily about the technology. Will it be secure? Will it protect privacy? How do we find skills needed to move to the cloud? Which applications are “cloud ready?” How do we avoid vendor lock-in of data? Should an agency wait for a cloud solution to get through FedRAMP? Is it worth the risk of losing direct control over equipment, network, applications and data?
Those were all important questions, clearly, but they begged the big one: What does the cloud mean for our mission?
Now, in 2020, with a set of new policies driving agencies to take advantage of cloud computing, there’s a new inflection point that is on the horizon for some agencies and in the grasp of others. The shift is reflected in rapid growth of cloud services for operations of the business (business process, platform and applications services), which will account for 75% of cloud services spending, according to Gartner’s forecast. This is where the full potential of the cloud can be realized and an agency’s use of the cloud begins to play a substantial role in fulfilling its mission:
Examples of federal agencies finding mission-enhancing opportunity in their cloud strategies are beginning to proliferate:
As agencies move forward in this new decade, they should think about what results they seek in cloud migration? Is their mission-critical inflection point at hand? Are their cloud strategies enhancing the mission or just shifting to Infrastructure as a Service? With the breadth of cloud solutions available to agencies, are they seeking ways that cloud services can improve mission performance, and how can cloud help execute them?
Next up: “PredictSmart: Developing data strategies for improving mission results.
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