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Bringing Business Acumen to Your Cloud Strategy

Cloud vendors are in the business of providing cloud services to customers, but they’re not usually in the business of integrating their cloud platforms with others, encouraging the growth of their competitors.

It’s a shame, though, because that would be a valuable capability for state and local governments to have. Agencies can sometimes be juggling two, three, even four clouds in their environment. This complex, multicloud ecosystem can make it difficult to have visibility of every workload, which means cloud dollars and human resources may not be spent as effectively.

“If you don’t have visibility of what you have in the public cloud, you can get sticker shock. You’re invoiced at the end of the month and you ask yourself, ‘Why is this costing so much?’” said Tony Encinias, Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer for State and Local Government at Dell Technologies.

Especially when state and local agencies are contending with pandemic-level budget difficulties, every dollar counts.

To avoid sticker shock, gain visibility and realize the capabilities that cloud service providers claim, Encinias recommends three key actions.

1. Find a cloud-agnostic partner

It’s going to take a partner that is cloud-agnostic to integrate multiple public clouds, whether that’s AWS, Azure or Google.

“If you find a partner that can carry out all the integration within a platform and then provide you a single-paneof-glass experience, not only from multiple public cloud environments but also your on-prem or off-prem private cloud, that’s where you want to be,” Encinias said.

2. Get a “cloud team” together

Traditionally for IT, organizations have separate storage, server, network and VMware teams. But with the integration of multiple public clouds, they must have a team that’s integrated across the board too.

“That’s what I call a cloud team. Not a team with stovepipe functions, but an integrated team that is cohesive across all the pillars they’re going to need,” Encinias said.

One pillar that has become critical is business acumen. Encinias said teams need to change their mindset to having business skills as well as technical ones. Managing integrations and cloud implementations takes a different, more business-focused mindset than just controlling the infrastructure.

3. Communicate, communicate, communicate

Of course, getting a “cloud team” together is easier said than done. “Folks are used to doing one thing and one thing only,” Encinias said.

Leaders are going to need to change this culture by communicating the goals and reasons for change persuasively. That’s what Encinias, a former chief information officer and chief technology officer for the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, recommended.

“These folks are smart, so it’s about explaining to them why they need to go down this path,” Encinias said.

“My advice is to communicate the objective and communicate what you really want to do well. Not only from a technology perspective, but from a business perspective and, more importantly, from a people perspective as well,” he added.

This article is an excerpt from GovLoop’s recent guide, “Resilience Lessons From State & Local Government.” Download the full guide here.

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