How to optimize your cloud strategy


In recent years, U.S. government agencies have moved to the cloud faster than private corporations in an attempt to replace aging systems and improve organizational efficiency.[1] Cloud adoption can transform how IT departments at federal civilian agencies operate, deliver services, and share information. To maximize the value and impact of their cloud migration, however, CIOs must help their agencies achieve a certain level of cloud maturity – and the path to maturity begins with a solid and sustainable strategy.

Recently, the International Data Corporation (IDC) published its Cloud Adoption in Federal Civilian Agencies MaturityScape Benchmark Survey[2], which examines the five stages of cloud maturity and outlines the measures CIOs must take to reach the fifth and final stage – the optimized stage. Agencies at this stage of cloud maturity have consistently defined and implemented strategies and policies, which result in fewer security and financial risks and more robust cloud integration.

Step 1: Identify your goals

Clearly defining a cloud adoption strategy starts with a thorough understanding of not only your agency’s current needs, but also its long-term objectives, opportunities, and challenges. When coming up with a cloud strategy, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) recommends CIOs first evaluate why their agency is moving to the cloud and what it wants to achieve from this migration.[3] Are you trying to improve security by migrating to the cloud? Keep up with evolving compliance demands? Promote business continuity? All of the above? Identifying these goals can help inform your cloud strategy.

Step 2: Set your expectations

After evaluating current operational requirements, and anticipating future needs, CIOs can establish standardized performance metrics and incorporate those into their cloud strategies. According to IDC, one of the major differences between cloud maturity “thrivers”—those in the optimized stage of cloud maturity—and “survivors”—organizations that have yet to benefit from their migration—is the ability to quantify the benefits of cloud migration. By establishing clear metrics for success early in the migration process, CIOs and IT administrators set a clear expectation for what they hope to accomplish, and can measure the impact of that shift accordingly in the future.

Step 3: Align your tools to your vision

Lastly, to ensure the highest value in potential cloud investments and further drive innovation, CIOs must also consider their agency’s mission. New tools and technologies such as the cloud generate the greatest impact when they have a clear purpose. By aligning those tools with the overall mission of the agency, government leaders better ensure their efforts are working alongside their core vision. How will the cloud help the agency better serve its citizens? How does it simplify daily operations? How can it improve productivity? Articulating the purpose of new technology helps to refine its intended use, build realistic expectations, and drive user adoption in the long term.

For more information on cloud maturity and insights into how your agency can optimize its cloud experience, download the IDC MaturityScape Benchmark report today.

[1] http://fortune.com/2016/09/02/us-government-embraces-cloud/

[2] IDC MaturityScape Benchmark: Cloud in Federal Civilian Agencies in the United States, 2017, June 2017 | Doc #US40668816

[3] https://www.gsa.gov/portal/mediaId/149486/fileName/Best_Business_Practices_for_US_Government_Cloud_Adoption.action

 

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