Cloudy Thinking and Digital Transformation


Cloudy Thinking and Digital Transformation

There’s a lot to gain from cloud computing, but success requires a thoughtful and enterprise focused approach. Cloud computing decouples data and information from the infrastructure on which it lies. A process that is a LOT more involved than dragging some folders from your desktop to a shared drive.

Cloud computing as a mission transformation activity, not a technological one.
As an organization moves from local information hosting to the cloud, one of the most important challenges is addressing cloud computing as a mission transformation activity, not a technological one. Cloud computing isn't a new technology. It's a new way of consuming and provisioning information technology services. Adopting cloud computing means paralleling your mission processes, rethinking the economic models and abstracting your applications from the technology stack silos, which are currently the norm.

Interactions and dependencies between mission applications may be more important than the data or application itself.
One of the first lessons we learned supporting customers was that cloud migration shouldn't be planned as an application-by-application movement to a different hosting environment. Cloud adoption is an application portfolio activity. Interactions and dependencies between mission applications may be more important than the data or application itself. That's why upfront screening, analysis and digital infrastructure modeling are so critical. Boeing flew its Dreamliner aircraft designs on a computer before they started to build. Shouldn't we (and our customers) test future IT infrastructure on a computer before moving to the cloud?

Cloudy Thinking and Digital Transformation That is the digital transformation approach we recommend to our customers, and we have now built an entire methodology around it called Cloud ASCEND. We formed an alliance with a few select partners: Cloud Security Alliance, Burstorm, Sequoia and IBM. These companies bring tools, lessons and optimizations available from the commercial sector (the technical operations viewpoint). We blend those offerings with the experience we've gained actually transitioning applications to the cloud and the lessons we've learned in the DoD and intelligence community (the secure mission delivery and performance viewpoint).

We knew the Cloud ASCEND digital transformation methodology couldn’t be some static, one-size-fits-all approach we trot out for every customer challenge. Our methodology constantly evolves because the world is always advancing. This is an important realization that all organizations need to internalize. Cloud computing enables rapid employment of new mission processes. It lets mission owners deploy capabilities that they didn't know existed. Cloud ASCEND is agile because effectively delivering the mission requires an agile methodology.

It lets mission owners deploy capabilities that they didn't know existed.
Getting ready to migrate to the cloud? Consider a digital transformation strategy that delivers information mobility, operational scalability and mission agility. These are the real benefits that make the process worth the effort. Organizations can apply a digital transformation methodology to determine when and how to get started, allowing them to reduce risk, reduce complexity and migrate with confidence. Cloud ASCEND enables a sort of future proofing because digital transformation means thinking today and doing tomorrow.

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Posted by Kevin Jackson

I am an Engility Tech Fellow and serve as the director for cloud services. I provide my subject matter expertise to the exploration and development of enterprise strategies that leverage cloud computing to improve business and mission accomplishment. Through my work at Engility, I have assisted a number of government customers develop enterprise systems engineering, mission-enabling architectures and value-based solutions for the national security and public safety markets. You can read a full list of my publications and credentials on LinkedIn.
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