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Lessons Learned: VA Cloud Email Termination

Microsoft vs Google in Cloud Computing

By G C Network | May 22, 2008

Many took note of the Randall Stross essay in the New York Times last weekend. In it he succintly described why Microsoft is failing in it’s attempt to bridge the next major shift in the computing industry. The cloud computing relevant points seem to be: 1) Microsoft’s online services aren’t doing well at all. The…

IBM at Forrester IT Forum

By G C Network | May 22, 2008

At the Forrester IT Forum yesterday in Las Vegas, Rick Lechner, VP Enterprise Systems at IBM, made the following comments The changing face of globalization (transformation from exporting to multi-nationals to truly distributed global enterprise). The rising tide of information (more devices, need for real-time analytics). New business models that are evolving as new technology…

HP & EDS

By G C Network | May 21, 2008

In an interesting take on his Enterprise Architecture blog, Chris Pearson sees the HP acquisition of EDS as a ploy by HP to remain relevant in a cloud computing world. “The next step is cloud computing. With outsourcing offering, the market was more or less limited to big companies able to manage global contracts when…

The Library of National Intelligence (LNI) – A Possible Cloud Application

By G C Network | May 20, 2008

In the MAZZ-INT Blog a couple of weeks ago, Joe Mazzafro artile on “Intelliigence and the Concept of Customer” stated that a “realistic business model for the IC to assume is that of the modern IT enabled and accessed publicly funded library — but with its own content provisioning capability” In his description customers would…

Net-Centric Enterprise Services – An Update

By G C Network | May 19, 2008

Net-Centric Enterprise Services (NCES) is about to enter the initial operational test and evaluation phase. NCES are a set of capabilities that support network-centric warfare operations and information sharing. It also allows users to find and access relevant information and to expose data for others to discover. The system employs service-oriented architecture (SOA) to evolve…

Microsoft Renews Yahoo Bid

By G C Network | May 19, 2008

Microsoft renews Yahoo bid and is now offering to buy a piece of Yahoo. I believe this is just the opening of the second round. Follow me at https://Twitter.com/Kevin_Jackson

Cloud Computing Risk

By G C Network | May 18, 2008

CIO.com reviewed the top three concerns that the IT executives have regarding the adoption of cloud computing – security, latency, and SLA. These concerns seem similar to those previously assigned to grid computing, software as a service and just about every new capability that comes along. While I agree that the concerns are real, I…

Grid vs. Cloud – May 17, 2008

By G C Network | May 18, 2008

From Geva Perry’s April 25th blog Cloud Computing overtaking the term Grid Computing With the term “cloud computing” rapidly being hyped everywhere, I did this little exercise on Google Trends to see how it fares against its predecessor “grid computing”. Here’s the result — cloud is just about to overtake grid: If we zoom in…

Blogsphere Clouds – May 16, 2008

By G C Network | May 18, 2008

The cloud is billowing in the blogsphere !! Virtual Computing in the Cloud — How a Universal Dialtone Will …Virtual Cloud Computing represents the next wave of virtualization and offers significant market opportunities by providing a new, simpler, and much more pervasive platform for on-demand, desktop and application service delivery. … Latest News from AJAXWORLD…

Gartner on Cloud Computing / Yahoo vs. Icahn- May 15, 2008

By G C Network | May 18, 2008

Gartner thinks that cloud computing may be the next big thing: By 2012, 80 percent of Fortune 1000 enterprises will pay for some cloud computing service and 30 percent of them will pay for cloud computing infrastructure. Through 2010, more than 80 percent of enterprise use of cloud computing will be devoted to very large…

According to a Federal Computer Week article by Frank Konkel, The Department of Veterans Affairs terminated its five-year, $36 million cloud computing contract for email and calendaring services with HP Enterprise Services. Citing a material change in the agency’s requirements, VA officials declined to elaborate on the requirement changes that were actually made. Although I have no personal connection or first hand knowledge of the specifics of this deployment, this failure was apparently caused by failure to first build and understand the business case for supporting the cloud transition.

 “In November — after the agency announced its cloud deal with HP Enterprise Services – VA’s Deputy CIO for Architecture, Strategy and Design, Paul Tibbits, told an audience at 1105 Media’s Enterprise Architecture Conference that he questioned the cost-effectiveness of moving to the cloud.

Tibbits was not discussing this project in particular, but rather stressing the broader need for real use cases and hard-nosed business assessments. “It is not 100 percent clear that expenses go down if we jump into the cloud,” he said. “The revenue stream is up there in neon lights, we have got to figure out if that is going to save us money or not.”

Cloud computing is not about technology. It is primarily a change in the delivery and consumption of information technology services which can radically change an organizations business model. As highlighted in many expert guides, including my book “GovCloud: Cloud Computing for the Business of Government“, the first step in any cloud transition strategy should be the identification, development and commitment to the cloud computing business model.

I also believe that there were at least two other contributing factors to this unfortunate action:

  • Failure to first establish and specify infrastructure security requirements for the software-as-a-service offering. Although FedRAMP is not mandatory until 2014, it provides an efficient and repeatable methodology for establishing a common cloud computing security baseline for all federal agencies
  • Failure to adequately address cultural and change management challenges associated with the cloud computing business model.  If the new business model wasn’t firmly understood and communicated throughout the organization with a focused change management process, success would be very difficult to achieve.

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