In a presentation at Qlik World Online, Andrew Churchill, who is Vice President of Federal Sales at Qlik, said, “There’s not a single one of our 100+ federal customers that isn’t focused on consolidation of its applications into commercial cloud offerings.” Churchill was referring to a current trend that is digitally transforming the public sector – federal agencies are making a mass data migration from legacy systems and quickly shifting to cloud-based, Software as a Service (SaaS) systems.
Policy forces, social impacts, and technological changes alike are driving this transformation. The Federal Data Strategy, initiated in March of 2018, has set a 10-year plan for the Federal Government to define a vision and set yearly plans to create a network of data governance among federal agencies as well as state and local governments. Because data standardization takes years, agencies cannot wait until there is a pressing need to share data to begin preparing for it.
The COVID-19 pandemic drove home the urgency to act on data collection plans so that the blueprint would be in place for future emergency response needs. Agencies that already had strong data systems in place were better equipped to deliver on challenges brought by the pandemic. For example, Contra Costa Health Services in the San Francisco Bay Area had been prioritizing data standardization since 2010. At the onset of the pandemic, they were able to set up a COVID-19 dashboard within two weeks.
Additional policies such as the Evidence Act of 2018 are also pushing federal agencies to modernize their data systems. This Act requires federal agencies to evaluate and assess how they are using data to inform policy and program decisions, mandating that agencies need to have a Chief Data Officer, Evaluation Officer, and Statistical Official to address data modernization and submit annual progress reports to the Office of Management and Budget. The goal of this Act is to set agencies up to strategically make decisions based on evidence, increase transparency, and better manage budgets and risks.
For the Department of Defense (DoD), there’s extra incentive to move to cloud as part of the National Defense Authorization Act. The DoD is currently seeking to transition data to a cloud computing environment on an enterprise-level through a multi-cloud and multi-vendor contract known as the Joint Warfighter Cloud Capability. Security breaches have become a greater concern in the past few years, and the DoD is looking towards protecting data by turning to multiple cloud service providers that meet security requirements and integrate well with each other to form a complex cybersecurity ecosystem.
Federal agencies are looking for the best path forward in data migration, and more federal, state, and local governments are quickly moving to cloud-based systems. This means that agencies must ensure that all third-party services used not only offer a high degree of interoperability and flexibility but follow federal security requirements such as those certified by FedRAMP and DISA.
To learn more about how government vendors like Qlik are quickly prioritizing security standards and data migration so that their services can continue to be of value to their federal customers, watch the webinar “Qlik SaaS for the Public Sector – FedRAMP” at QlikWorld Online.