Think about all the technology capabilities and internet-connected devices that have not only impacted where employees work but how they work.
Data collection and processing and network access, for example, aren’t relegated to a specific building. Instead, these critical tasks are happening at the “edge,” whether that’s in a branch office, another state or in a remote location.
In many cases, cloud computing has been the foundational thread supporting these efforts, specifically hybrid cloud models that support agile and consistent delivery of government services.
“For each service, application, or dataset, considering stakeholders and business outcomes are the two key things to realizing value from any platform, whether that’s hybrid or public cloud,” said John Rehmert, Data Center Architect at FedData Technology Solutions, a systems integrator.
He offered these best practices for agencies to ensure they are both ready and smart about how they invest in cloud.
1. Prepare, prepare, prepare
In the early days of government cloud adoption, there was a lot of misunderstanding around needing to be in the cloud at all costs versus taking a measured, analytical approach.
In a cloud ready or cloud smart organization, most of the time technologists are embedded with the business units because they need to understand the requirements and how best to translate them for an on premises or, cloud service provider model, or a hybrid cloud model, Rehmert said.
“Cloud is not just someone else’s computer,” he added. “It really is a paradigm shift for an organization to move to a cloud-ready approach.”
2. Select the right platform
As agencies invest in the power of hybrid cloud, they also have to be mindful of selecting a platform that allows seamless management of all investments.
“There isn’t built-in consistency and agility between those cloud providers, and they each tend to do things a little differently,” Rehmert said. So if you use those cloud service providers without a consistent platform that allows you to remove the uniqueness across vendors, you’ll miss out on the mobility and agility that cloud offers.
He highlighted VMware Cloud Foundation as an alternative. It’s a single platform that provides a consistent and secure way to automate predictable and repeatable deployments and operations. That’s true across on premises and public clouds, including AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud and IBM Cloud. This level of flexibility empowers agencies to be more agile and efficient by quickly aligning cloud capabilities to support mission needs.
3. Seek strong partnerships
Cloud adoption isn’t a solo journey, and that’s evident through successful partnerships FedData Technology Solutions has with government agencies.
“We’ve been supporting Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) with the implementation of a Dell Tactical Azure Stack,” which is a ruggedized hybrid cloud platform available for tactical edge deployments, Rehmert said. That support also includes capabilities to move data on or off premises as needed.
“Ultimately, strong partnerships take into account that cloud adoption isn’t just organizational but cultural, he said.”
This article is an excerpt from GovLoop’s recent guide, “Delivering Government Services Through a Lens of Equity: Technology, Policies and Conversation Starters.” Download the full guide here.