GSA CIO Provides Lessons in Cloud Transformation

Federal government, cloud computing

In establishing an agency’s cloud transformation, the General Services Administration (GSA) can provide lessons in setting up the transition.

According to GSA CIO Dave Shive, a cloud strategy should fit the business needs of the agency because “there’s no one size fits all,” take account of agency resources, and finds out what works for one’s agency versus what doesn’t.

“Cloud does and will continue to look different for every agency,” Shive said today at Cloudera’s Data Cloud Summit. “Agencies should take time to resource, scale, cloud adoption – both time and resources – to best meet their respective missions.”

When GSA looked at how it was investing its own resources in infrastructure, the agency quickly realized that there wasn’t an effective investment strategy. GSA set out to rapidly consolidate data centers and ended up closing all 121 of its data centers to improve that infrastructure strategy.

The importance of resources was also reflected in the agency’s allocation of workforce resources. Refocusing staff to higher value outcomes was a key part to GSA’s cloud strategy. Shive said that having the right people in place was important to making the cloud transition successful and to know what problems need to be solved.

Shive emphasized starting with a strategy and target vision to adopting cloud and that there should be a mandate to start a goal included.

“Here’s the key: just get started,” Shive told the audience. The GSA CIO added that agencies should find out what works and double down the resources on those things that do work, while at the same time killing off what doesn’t work.

Additionally, Shive offered that making a cloud move successful will also include:

  • Increasing talent level through training;
  • Having strong leadership support;
  • Determining what kind of data there is and the sensitivity of the data that will move to cloud;
  • Being smart when acquiring cloud technology because “not all cloud is created equal;” and
  • Ensuring that stakeholders understand the values of IT investments.

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