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How cloud enables modernization, innovation

With IT modernization is a top priority for agency executives, the cloud and as-a-service technologies are seen as tools to facilitate transformation in cybersecurity, citizen services and data analytics.

On March 13, Government Cloud Insider's sibling site FCW gathered a group of federal leaders to discuss how the Modernizing Government Technology Act is changing agency IT and what to expect in 2018.

The discussion was on the record but not for individual attribution (see below for a full list of participants), and the quotes have been edited for length and clarity. Here's what the group had to say about the role of cloud in modernization:

When it comes to cloud adoption, "the initial driver was infrastructure as a service. That was two or three years back," one executive said. "Soon we realized that cloud is an enabler of innovation rather than just a way to save money. You have to build a hybrid cloud model at some point because one is not going to give you all that you need."

Another participant agreed, saying: "If you want to do machine learning and deep learning, you've got to be able to deploy large neural networks. You cannot do that in the same environment where you have your mission-critical apps running. You've got to have an environment where you can put that stuff and know that you have the bandwidth and the scalability within that isolated environment where you can do that type of work. You've got to look at private clouds and hybrid clouds and have the right infrastructure to support this work."

A third added: "I'm sitting on mounds and mounds of data that I need to make sense of. My focus right now is deep learning, but I also want to do some work in machine learning. In the past, we really haven't had the tools to make sense of it, and I've been asked to look at what we can do with that dataset so we can do better market analysis and better protect the country."

In other words, modernization is not an end in itself but a means to expand agencies' capabilities in ways that are still evolving.

"MGT reinforces necessity," a participant said. "It's no longer just one CIO or one line of business looking for change. It is one department or multiple departments looking at change simultaneously, and that builds energy and momentum."

FCW Editor-in-Chief Troy K. Schneider led the roundtable discussion. The March 13 gathering was underwritten by CA Technologies, but both the substance of the discussion and the recap on these pages are strictly editorial products. Neither CA nor any of the roundtable participants had input beyond their March 13 comments.

The full discussion is available here.

Participants

Guy Cavallo
Deputy CIO, Small Business Administration

Kovar Gregory
Director, Government Solutions, CA Technologies

Stephen Rice
Deputy CIO, Department of Homeland Security

Francisco Salguero
Associate CIO, Department of Agriculture

Elanchezhian Sivagnanam
Chief Architect, National Science Foundation

Howard Spira
CIO, Export-Import Bank of the United States

Bruce Triner
Vice President, CA Technologies

Antonio Villafana
CIO, Office of Health Affairs, Department of Homeland Security

 

About the Author

Connect with the FCW staff on Twitter @FCWnow.

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