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On a Data Journey, the Next Stop is Cloud

This blog post is an excerpt from GovLoop’s recent guide “7 Tips to Transform Your Data Into Compelling Stories.” Download the full guide here.

People have long promised that artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and emerging technologies would come in and do away with the challenges of society. And for agencies, that promise was especially tantalizing, as they have dealt with increasingly heavy workloads and shrinking resources.

But for most, the grandiose promises haven’t materialized. Instead, maybe agencies have a fresh but clunky portal. Or maybe leadership delivered a new technology only for it to be entangled in legacy systems and networks and, as a final blow, relieved of its duties. History has shown, without a way to move data through systems to gain valuable insights, new applications and technologies will often fall short.

In this environment, cloud is making a difference. The fruits of labor that have been linked for decades to AI and ML finally are ripe, and agencies can harvest their full value by going to the cloud.

“People can now get insights from large datasets without having to have a data science degree,” Susie Adams, Chief Technology Officer for Microsoft Federal, said.

GovLoop spoke with Adams and the Microsoft Federal team about how agencies can finally capitalize on the value of their data. Microsoft helps government agencies of all sizes maximize their data and remove silos using the power of hyperscale computing. Hyperscale computing brings the power of incredible amounts of compute and storage to individual agency components, using the power of the cloud.

When data is siloed, unexpected effects ripple outward. For one, analytics and AI aren’t as effective or accurate, with smaller data samples. Governments also have to undertake duplicative efforts in attempts to create and share dependable databases, and these exertions come at great costs – as does storage. Finally, data dependability is often questionable with multiple duplicative, authoritative datasets sprawled throughout agency departments without much business context, limiting its usefulness.

But with cloud technologies, data is not confined to legacy data centers. Instead, it can be securely shared with agencies and the public using modern governance frameworks. This allows government to release the value of data to all. The effects stretch far and wide and are immediately impactful.

Microsoft offers top cloud capabilities to governments with Azure. On Azure, agencies pay pennies to the dollar, compared with on-premise systems, to acquire insights that come with built-in ML, AI and predictive analytics.

Cloud is leading the charge across agencies. By democratizing data and AI, cloud has transformed the way that agencies can acquire and act on information.

“This is why we’re starting to see people really get excited about artificial intelligence and what it can do to improve the lives of citizens and those that serve the government,” Adams said.

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