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The Federal Government Journey to Cloud Computing: Lessons Learned

Transformation Infrastructure

By pwsadmin | September 26, 2020

Hybrid IT enables a composable infrastructure which describes a framework whose physical compute, storage, and network fabric resources are treated as services. Resources are logically pooled so that administrators need to physically configure hardware to support a specific software application, which describes the function of a composable architecture. This type of transformative infrastructure is foundational…

Essential Characteristics of Cloud Computing as Digital Transformation

By pwsadmin | September 25, 2020

A survey of 2,000 executives conducted by Cognizant in 2016 identified the top five ways digital transformations generate value:      Accelerating speed to market      Strengthening competitive positioning      Boosting revenue growth      Raising employee productivity      Expanding the ability to acquire, engage, and retain customers   Digital transformation is also a cultural change. Cloud Computing as Digital Transformation Since cloud…

Embrace Transformation

By pwsadmin | September 22, 2020

From a business perspective, differentiating business processes and quality customer service are central to overall success. Business leaders must therefore clearly identify and measure how information technology contributes to the value of every key business process. They must also know how to most cost effectively use IT when the task is merely the management of…

Computer Vision Advances Zero-Defect Manufacturing

By pwsadmin | July 25, 2020

by Kevin L. Jackson Electronics manufacturers operate in a challenging environment. It’s hard enough to keep up with the ever-accelerating rate of change in the industry. Now customers want increasingly specialized product variations in less time and of higher quality. Meeting this demand for increased product variation can seriously impact the bottom line. Such variability increases…

Real-Time Analytics Power the Roadway of the Future

By pwsadmin | July 25, 2020

By Kevin L. Jackson The complexities of citywide traffic are pushing the limits of existing transportation management systems. Outdated infrastructure is based on proprietary, single-purpose subsystems, making it costly to acquire, operate, and maintain. And current roadways are simply not prepared for the future of autonomous vehicles. Enter the SPaT Challenge, an initiative encouraging cities and…

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By pwsadmin | March 6, 2020

Communications Service Providers (CSPs) are facing significant business model challenges. Referred to generally as edge computing, the possibilities introduced by the blending of 5G networks and distributed cloud computing technologies are redefining how CSPs operate, partner, and drive revenue. A new Ericsson Digital whitepaper entitled, “Edge computing and deployment strategies for communication service providers,” addresses these challenges…

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By pwsadmin | March 6, 2020

Earlier this year, GC GlobalNet launched a new breed of B2B e-commerce sites. Curated by Kevin L. Jackson, SourceConnecte (with an “e”) went live with three strategic goals in mind: Efficiently leverage modern social media technologies to facilitate value-based interactions between enterprise buyers and vetted suppliers; Establish a protected interactive environment capable of supporting high-value B2B e-commerce negotiations…

Potential vs. Reality: Is Edge Computing Real?

By pwsadmin | January 19, 2020

Edge computing provides compute, storage, and networking resources close to devices generating traffic. Its benefits are based on an ability to provide new services capable of meeting stringent operational requirements by minimizing both data latency and the need for bandwidth. Based on Google trend data, searches for the term has also grown substantially over the…

Enabling Digital Transformation

By pwsadmin | December 22, 2019

Digital transformation integrates technology into all areas of an organization’s business or mission. Its fundamental purpose is to create and deliver innovative and industry-changing products and services to a global customer base. This outcome requires the seamless two-way flow of data and information between internal business processes and external processes that interact with customers, business…

The ThinkShield Story Part 1: The Challenge

By G C Network | October 24, 2019

The cybersecurity challenge seems to be growing daily. Threats are becoming more sophisticated, and attacks are becoming more destructive while the corporate world’s response seems to resemble a deer in headlights. Recent examples of this dangerous state of affairs include[1]: A data breach of a US Customs and Border Protection surveillance contractor that led to…

[Republished from”On The FrontLines” magazine “Cloud Computing in Government: Lesson’s Learned” issue. Download the full 20 page issue online at https://digital.onthefrontlines.net/i/319551 )

In February 2011, Vivek Kundra announced the “Cloud First” policy across the US Government. The directive, issued through the Office of Management and Budget, required agencies to give cloud technology first priority in developing IT projects. He also described cloud computing as a “10 year journey”. According to a Deltek report, federal agency spending on cloud computing will grow from $2.3 billion in fiscal 2013 to $6.1 billion by fiscal 2018. This forecast clearly raises the importance of understanding what has happened over the past few years. In my opinion, the Top 5 most important lessons learned are:

  1. When selecting the appropriate deployment model (Public, Private, Hybrid or Community) don’t reflexively pick private as the “obvious low risk choice”. Private cloud with no resource sharing doesn’t deliver the promised cost savings. Do the math, do the science and do the engineering. Develop a real business case. Start with functional requirements related to the mission. If the numbers don’t make sense, don’t do it
  2. Failure to modify business processes to take advantage of the parallel nature of cloud computing platforms will lead to minimal improvements in those processes. Government IT managers must accept that cloud computing means the purchase of a service, not the purchase of technology. This usually represents a fundamental change in how technology is acquired and managed.
  3. Treating your cloud transition as only an IT project is a big mistake. Business/Mission owners and Procurement officials must be intimately involved. According to an Accenture report sponsored by the Government Business Council, the challenges federal agencies have experienced in cloud development have restrained deployments to date, but alleviating these impediments should spur adoption. Agencies looking to cloud infrastructure need to develop standardized procurement requirement statements and SLAs that address both cyber security and operational issues at a level of detail to minimize interpretation issues.
  4. Cloud transitions have significant education and cultural challenges. Cloud transition strategies also require a robust change management plan. Change is hard, and I think change in government is harder. So I think having a well formed plan for communication and change management is incredibly important. Implementing cloud-based best practices requires an immense and continuous effort to ensure that new practices are embraced.
  5. Federal agencies need to improve the maturity of their respective enterprise architectures lack of which makes cloud transitions difficult. This will require focused agency leadership. GAO’s experience has shown that attempting to modernize and evolve IT environments without an architecture to guide and constrain investments results in operations and systems that are duplicative, not well integrated, costly to maintain, and ineffective in supporting mission goals. 

The road ahead still has storm clouds and heavy rain, but all in all, we’ve made a good start.

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