The modern federal CIO must be prepared to adapt to rapid change by making IT investments that are scalable and resilient. To this end, federal CIOs are increasingly focusing on multi-cloud flexibility in their approaches to digitization and data migration to the cloud. This means investing in hybrid cloud environments and taking advantage of as-a-service consumption models so that their organizations can focus on immediate needs at-hand. By investing in these models, government IT leaders are creating a modular infrastructure where there is more agility to move data, workloads, and applications between clouds as new situations arise and financial needs shift. In addition to building adaptability, research has found that organizations with multi-cloud flexibility have been able to reduce their infrastructure costs by 16 percent.
By using resources on a “pay-as-you-go” basis, organizations have the flexibility to focus on cloud services that are aligned to their present needs and are prepared to adapt should these needs change rapidly. However, without strong central management around these services, operating a diverse cloud environment can lead to complexity and frustration. Consistent cloud management is important, as 90 percent of organizations with this consistency see increased management efficiency and simplified operations. Rick Ailstock, Lead Technical Sales SE for Partner Relationships at FCN Inc., described an essential perspective when approaching multi-cloud flexibility at FCN, Inc.: “It is not a one-size-fits-all solution, and you need the expertise to be able to manage it effectively.”
For FCN Inc., a consistent cloud control plane brings a holistic view of cloud solutions and as-a-service offerings, ensuring minimal disruption to current processes. This empowers the CIO’s ability to invest in new services and drive adaptability. Ailstock spoke about the influential role of the federal CIO in setting the tone and pace for adopting new cloud services: “CIOs are evolving into a true partner at the table, having a say in the critical needs of the agency. They are included in the decisions that could impact mission critical decisions.” He went on to describe the CIO’s core mission: “The underlying goal of the CIO is to keep critical technology readily available.”
For organizations that are unsure how to proceed, Ailstock suggested leveraging the strides already made by the private sector. “The advancements that that private sector has made leveraging a multi-cloud environment paved the way for federal agencies to use already tested solutions. Most cloud providers are already knowledgeable in the configuration and management of solutions that can be fit for federal needs. Multi-cloud allows high speed access and a wealth of interconnectivity that can boost scalable cost and effective infrastructure on demand.”
Ailstock advised that federal organizations seeking multi-cloud flexibility should start with a documented plan and a steward who will be responsible for coordination. “The most important thing is having an understanding of what things can benefit from running in the cloud versus on premises, and having the skill set to be able to manage this,” he said. True flexibility means having a strategic vision in assigning the right resources for different workloads and outcomes, and forward-thinking CIOs are taking on larger roles in leading their organizations to thrive in a diverse data-driven world.
To learn more about how a diversified cloud environment can help drive innovation for your agency, download the white paper “A Leader’s Guide: Business Agility with Multi-Cloud Flexibility” from FCN Inc. and Dell Technologies.