King Cloud Eats Kent Dorfman


King Cloud Eats Kent Dorfman (aka the System Integrator)

The history of market change denial goes further back then the staunch believers in the buggy whip business.

Cloud services have fully established its presence, or perhaps dominance, within the US government information technology marketplace. Although that entrance into the market wasn’t initially viewed as credible.

I recall when I started my first business, where we built a government community cloud. I had the old guard, literally, slap me on the back and say good luck with that cloud stuff (read naïve kid) we (large system integrator, or SIs) like the IT business (read bodies on premise) just the way it is. This gentleman went on to say, that maybe, cloud could be used by a few civilian agencies but it will NEVER be used in the DoD and IC communities.

Was the old guard wrong?

Hell yes. They were and they have been having their collective heads handed to them ever since. Anyone know what the cloud is at Langley?, Amazon. The cloud platform my firm created is now the milcoud 2.0 platform. Wow, never in the IC and DoD!

Where am I going with this you ask?

It’s the what is the next change the old SI guard will refuse to see and choose to ignore? What is it that they don’t want to see happen? In a word, headcount. Meaning more core revenue at risk than they may be prepared for. A few things have been happening and will continue to happen in my humble opinion.

  • As the large cloud providers move into town, they will be feeding on the SI talent pool for their growth. The talent the SI’s have in emerging technologies will be evaluating who is better suited to allow them to grow their careers and talents? The old guard or the new technology providers?
    1. That will leave the government customer to seek out whom will best be suited to assure their successful, and destined, use of cloud. I suspect the government customer will soon see the cloud provider directly, not the SI, as best suited to meet their emerging technology needs.
    2. SI’s have been trying to become the governments cloud partner of choice of recent. It used to be the technology providers begged for SI’s to become their partner, focusing tons of energy to partner with the SI in the hopes the SI would include their logos in proposals. Now the SI’s are trying to become the cloud providers best friends. Reversal of behavior? Yes. Why? SI’s are seeking relevance in the change in who will deliver the technologies our government wants and needs.

Looks for the clues this may be coming true:

Well first, Amazon is creating its East Coast headquarters in the beltway area. This is logical, being in the DC area allows them to focus on that government business. They are also touting that they will be doing a lot of talent hiring, this is logical as well. Where will that talent come from? The SI, will likely to be the source of that talent Amazon and other cloud service providers will hire. What better waters to fish from than all those SI’s that have all that new (insert cloud provider name here) “certified” talent stocked in their ponds.

Is there a shift from partner to primary supplier?

I read an interesting blog just within the last week, by a gentlemen named Andrew Walker. I believe he has pointed out some very relevant, and telling changes in the way technology will be delivered.

Andrew wrote “Google not Amazon. Make fantastic savings in a server-less world” While the title of the writing speaks of technology changes being brought on by the cloud service providers, it also speaks of the coming (in my opinion) changes in who and how technology will be delivered. He writes the following interesting observations:

“ Serverless cloud is where the provisioning and operation of your infrastructure is fully automated. Of course there are still servers, but you don’t interact with them any more.  In a serverless cloud environment you don’t have an infrastructure team (emphasis added) at all. The irony is that you’ve automated a big chunk of IT and made it redundant. That work is done by machines and by Google’s engineers (at no extra cost).”

He goes on to make an important observation:

“With old school cloud there are architects and administrators playing with computers and networks. They sit Amazon exams and learn how to assemble infrastructure like expensive Lego. They spend weeks automating simple provisioning tasks.

Back in the day, my average project would take weeks to line up a dozen of these people and get them to agree. Add another few weeks to provision, test and hand the infrastructure to developers. That’s three months and $100k spent before you even start delivering anything of business value. It’s sheer waste, pure and simple. Automation replaced these jobs ten years ago.

It’s a bummer that IT missed the memo (or perhaps they simply chose to ignore it).”

Key take away points:

  • The traditional IT work is going to be automated and provided by the cloud service provider. In this case Google.
    1. With point being the advent of change in who is delivering services.
  • The cloud architect and administrators will be needed less and less.
    1. Point being there will be less bodies required

Kent Dorfman:

I recently gave a keynote in DC for a technology provider summit. In my presentation, I used a gif image taken from the movie Animal House where the Delta House members were reviewing the new pledges. The picture of Kent Dorfman came up for vote on those recruits that would be pledged, and the crowd reacted with distain and beer can throwing. I used this as an illustration of what I think the government may start doing when they get another SI requesting a meeting to discuss that agency or missions “Journey to the Cloud”.

John Keese is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.

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