The IT firm’s latest research explains that many organizations have prematurely jumped into the cloud space without a well-defined vision or plan to harness its potential benefits, necessitating a new cloud strategy framework for federal government agencies.
For federal government agencies and departments, formulating a strategic approach to cloud computing is a critical first step in the current landscape. However, despite cloud technology being widespread in government, many agencies are still struggling to articulate a shared understanding of the expected value and risk mitigation strategies. New research from Info-Tech Research Group highlights how the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the transition to cloud computing, which was often executed in an ad hoc manner rather than through a systematic approach. Even with robust strategies and frameworks in place, defining a clear cloud vision that effectively balances value extraction and risk management remains a challenge for IT leaders. To address this situation, Info-Tech Research Group has published a new blueprint for IT teams in the public sector titled Define Your Cloud Vision for Federal Government.
The new research aims to help IT teams understand the true potential of cloud computing, craft a realistic value proposition that extends beyond traditional outsourcing and assumed cost savings, and tailor it to their agency’s unique needs. It also provides guidance on how to mitigate associated risks, serving as a much-needed compass to navigate uncharted waters.
“The challenge in articulating the cloud vision for federal governments and agencies lies in the fact that the cloud isn’t magic,” says Jeremy Roberts, senior workshop director at Info-Tech Research Group. “It’s not necessarily cheaper, better, or even available for the thing they want it to do. It’s not mysterious or a cure-all, and it does take a bit of effort to systematize the approach and make consistent, defensible decisions about the cloud services.”
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Many organizations have prematurely jumped into the cloud space without a well-defined vision or plan to harness its potential benefits. This abrupt shift has led to significant downstream effects, including alterations to job roles, new training requirements, and changes in financial models. Recognizing and effectively managing these changes is vital for organizations to fully capitalize on their cloud migration.
The recently published research blueprint from the firm explains that although governments have adopted cloud services, each agency or department must establish a fundamental vision for cloud usage.
“The cloud vision is the culmination of this effort all boiled down into a single statement: ‘This is how the cloud should be used,'” explains Roberts. “That simple statement should, of course, be representative of – and built from – a broader, contextual strategy discussion that answers the following questions: What should go to the cloud? What kind of cloud makes sense? Should the cloud deployment be public, private, or hybrid? What does a migration look like? What risks and roadblocks need to be considered when exploring your cloud migration options? What are the ‘Day 2’ activities that will need to undertake after gotten the ball rolling? Government cloud is always going to be more complicated due to compliance and certification requirements and obligations to fairness and accountability; this will need to be part of the vision.”
Info-Tech advises federal governments and agencies to follow a specific approach while defining their cloud vision. The following high-level breakdown of the roadmap within the resource offers insights into understanding cloud implementation for the federal government:
- Goals and drivers: The cloud’s worth is defined by your organization’s goals. It could reduce costs, increase flexibility, or provide access to advanced technology. The crucial part is having a distinct, achievable cloud strategy.
- Service model: Understanding the most suitable cloud for workload archetypes involves evaluating when it is appropriate to choose SaaS over IaaS, for instance.
- Delivery Model: The decision on whether services will be delivered over the public cloud, a private cloud, or a hybrid cloud prompts an evaluation of the challenges linked to each option.
- Migration path: Examining the migration path involves understanding the appearance of the transition to the cloud and quantifying the effort required for a seamless transition.
- Support model: Determining how services will be provided entails decisions such as whether staff will undergo training, new personnel will be hired, service providers will be retained for ongoing operations, or consultants with cloud expertise will be engaged for a defined period.
- Highlight risks and roadblocks: A key step in defining the cloud vision is an assessment of the strategy components. Lower maturity does not preclude an aggressive cloud strategy, but it does indicate that more effort will be required to make the transition.
- Formalize cloud vision: The cloud vision itself is captured in a “vision statement,” a short summary of the overall approach that includes the overall cloud archetype.
- Document the cloud strategy: A cloud strategy should comprise the organizational stance on how the cloud will change the approach to people and human resources, technology, and governance.
Info-Tech’s research further underscores that an in-depth workload assessment is the only method to truly comprehend the value of the cloud. The firm advises that It’s essential for IT teams to adopt a bottom-up approach rather than a top-down one. Understanding what makes a workload suitable for the cloud and strategizing based on these characteristics is the key to a successful transition to the cloud.
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