Long road for the government’s cloud migration

“Federal agencies have a long road ahead of them in their migration to cloud computing. Even after the decision to migrate is made, uncertainty looms about the best way to approach the migration for government agencies.”

An article on BSMinfo.com details some of the challenges for the government’s (eventual) migration to the cloud. These challenges mirror those faced by any organization moving to the cloud, but on a massive scale.

In 2012, the Government Accountability Office detailed seven specific challenges for government implementation of the cloud, a list that should sound familiar to any organization in the process of migrating to the cloud: obtaining guidance, acquiring knowledge and expertise, certifying and accrediting vendors, ensuring data portability and interoperability, meeting federal safety requirements, overcoming cultural barriers, and procuring services on an on-demand basis. Two years on, those challenges still exist, and recent events and legislation further complicate matters.

Many agencies have a fast-approaching June 5 deadline to comply with fedRAMP (Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program), and recent security breaches highlight potential vulnerabilities of the cloud. Even then, government agencies have no clear exit plan once the migration happens. The government has a long way to go, but the path is laid out—the trick is sticking to it.

Enemies of the cloud

This recent article from David Linthicum at InfoWorld argues that organizational culture, not technology, is the biggest barrier to company-wide cloud adoption.

“The vocal opponents to cloud computing we heard in 2008 are mostly quiet in 2014. However, they are still lurking. Today, they use closed-door conversations to call the cloud into question, often for the wrong reasons. By doing so, they create a toxic culture around the use of cloud computing—or any new technologies that may prove to be innovative and helpful but threaten the status quo,” Linthicum writes.

His proposed solution? Tasking the cloud skeptics with evaluating the pros and cons of adopting the new technology. Given the responsibility, they are more likely to take an open-minded approach and make a thoughtful decision about the value of cloud computing to your organization. And, of course, any reservations they may have will be valuable in the implementation stage.

Internal struggles are common in organizations looking to make changes to their IT processes, as C-suite and line of business leaders have different priorities and may face gaps in communication.

Does your company struggle with decision-making when it comes to IT? Do you have a strategy for overcoming this barrier?  We’d love to hear from you.

The cloud is reshaping technology spending

Following the theme of our recent post, What the cloud does to IT, check out this report on IT spending.

The key takeaway: “Power in technology purchases shifting from CIO to CMO, CFO, VP of Sales and line executives.”

More from IDC:

The business technology spending market will grow at 6.9% 5 year CAGR from $236.6 billion in 2012 to $330.7 billion by 2017, while enterprise IT grows slowly at a 1.9% 5 year CAGR from $213.0 billion to 233.5 billion over the same forecast period.

Cloud, mobile, social, and analytics are driving the momentum in business tech spending– and obviously cloud is an enabling technology for the other three.

The positive scenario here is that business units end up with the technology they really need, when they need it. The less rosy outcome is chaos. The difference between the two will be in large part how well companies plan and execute their strategic shift to the cloud.

What the cloud does to IT

If you think about going from mainframes to minis or minis to PCs or PCs to the web or client-server, all those trends were changes and some of them scary changes, but at the end of the day, there was more percentage of GDP in IT than there was before, and there were more jobs in IT than there were before.

I think it’s natural that some people are worried about the cloud. I don’t think the role of the IT pro disappears. It will probably change in some ways. The technology will change and some of the responsibilities will change. But at the end of the day, if the cloud enables us to do more, I think there will be more jobs and there will be more needs for people as opposed to less…

…The positive thing with the cloud is that there are so many new use cases that didn’t exist before, and they actually make all of our lives better. And, again, as we become more and more digital, we are going to need more and more people to support it.

From an interview with Scott Guthrie, head of Microsoft’s Cloud & Enterprise division, by the redoubtable Mary Jo Foley.

Which cloud is right for you?

“Friends don’t let friends build data centers anymore,” — Charles Phillips, CEO, Infor

The New York Times rounds up a week of big cloud news.

There’s some interesting back-and-forth in the comments section about the value of more localized/personalized services vs. the big, one-size-fits-all offerings of mega-vendors. One reader says attempting to contact a huge provider when widespread problems arise is “similar to trying to get the pope on the phone during a crisis of biblical proportions.”

Cloud migration and value survey launched

Apollo launchWe are live in the field with our survey about strategies, opportunities, and challenges related to cloud migration, which will include responses from 350 business and technology executives at companies across the United States.

While that work is underway, we’ll be conducting a series of eight in-depth interviews on the same topics. These calls will add depth and color to the statistics from the survey, providing additional heft to the series of reports to follow.