Reward the Successes & Study the Mistakes
How the new DoD cloud memo will drive an innovative mindset in government IT.
The cloud adoption memo from Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan is a welcome one. In fact, it represents further innovation from DoD in the IT arena. We don’t tend to pair the terms “DoD acquisition” and “innovation,” but if we look back over the past two or three decades, DoD has innovated in IT and IT acquisition. The use of The Defense Working Capital Fund (DWCF) to drive consumption models for IT in 2003 was very progressive (and long before we even had the terms “cloud” or “as-a-Service”). The DOD began the process and continues to lead the way in data center consolidation and optimization. The establishment of the Cloud Executive Steering Group (CESG) to drive efficiencies of cloud business models for IT within DoD is the latest innovative move and one that’s got the support of industry.
As the CESG begins to craft strategy and guidance, I believe they can emphasize the following characteristics:
- Take risks – There are many different cloud models available today and given the diversity in DoD’s workload, there’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. Public cloud, private cloud, hybrid clouds and technology as-a-Service will all have roles to play in helping DoD more efficiently manage their IT workload.
- Require agencies to have a public cloud strategy – Not all workloads are ready for the public cloud – some might need more than 5 years to prepare for the public cloud, some might only need 6 months.
- Encourage innovation – Providing a governance framework and establishing milestones at the CESG level is appropriate. As long as Services and DoD agencies adhere to those milestones, let them innovate with the cloud models that work for them. Reward the successes and study the mistakes – in some cases, the lessons from failures could be more valuable than those learned from wins.
- Industry can help – Start-ups certainly offer innovation, but there’s a great deal of innovation available in the traditional Federal IT community. Even in the cloud space, there’s tremendous industry experience. Talk to us. Share your problems and your desired outcomes. We can help with creative solutions, for both execution and acquisition.
I applaud Deputy Secretary Shanahan’s drive and vision in establishing the CESG. There’s much we as industry can do to help and I certainly look forward to doing so.
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