Cloud computing’s value to government is well established. Whether it is computing power, data storage or other services, cloud provides scores of IT resources on-demand. Subsequently, agencies from the federal level down have raced to use cloud for their missions.
But cloud adoption is a journey – it isn’t a destination. Now, agencies are finding that launching clouds means their digital transformations have just begun. Ultimately, the agencies that capitalize on cloud the most are those that use it for such emerging technologies as automation.
On Wednesday, GovLoop covered every step of a continuous cloud journey during its latest online briefing center. The event was sponsored by AppDynamics, an application performance management (APM) provider specializing in cloud.
“If you’re at cloud as the destination, you’re looking at cloud in the wrong fashion,” said Small Business Administration (SBA) Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Sanjay Gupta. “Cloud is an enabler of new solutions, which are required by the business.”
“Don’t be afraid to experiment,” Cloud.Gov Director Eddie Tejeda said of cloud. Cloud.Gov is a federal website that assists with cloud adoption. Tejeda works for Technology Transformation Services (TTS), a General Services Administration (GSA) component. “Play with different tools and technologies so you’re well-versed in the full range of options.”
Here are three of the biggest takeaways from Wednesday’s event:
Don’t Stop With Technology
According to Gupta, modern governments are more “customer-focused.” Shifting the focus to citizens, however, requires using cloud for more than upgrading technology.
“Technology plays an important part, but it is also the people and process parts as well,” Gupta said. “Cloud helps us accelerate the delivery of services.”
There is no denying cloud helps agencies deploy new tools. But using those capabilities can also improve their workforces and the routines they follow. For example, cloud can deliver virtual training to agencies’ teleworking employees.
Automation: The Next Step
Automation involves machines performing simple, manual tasks with little to no human involvement. After adopting cloud, automation is also a valuable component for agencies’ mission success.
“Automation is critical when you’re talking about modernization,” Gupta said. “As a workforce, we can focus on higher-value work and serving our customers.”
To see automation in action, let’s consider data entry. Using automation, agencies can free up their employees who endlessly enter information into spreadsheets. After that, these people can perform more complex activities for citizens and achieve bigger wins for their agency.
Streamline Compliance, Security
Every agency protects sensitive citizen data. Consequently, they all have cybersecurity standards they must meet to handle such information.
Unfortunately, security compliance requires energy, funding and time agencies don’t always have. Cloud-based automation can reduce these burdens by handling some of agencies’ compliance requirements for them.
“If you’re replicating this process repeatedly, that’s a losing strategy long-term,” Tejeda said of compliance. “If we don’t have this inherited model that allows people to build on existing security practices, it becomes very unstable.”
Overall, cloud’s agility and flexibility make it a valuable place for agencies to visit. The agencies who use it to keep traveling, however, may reach even better stops over time.
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