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Cloud Exchange 2022: Splunk’s Juliana Vida on accelerating the value of cloud migration

Migration to the cloud was initially seen as a way to save money. Agencies continue to struggle with shaking off that singular mindset, explains Splunk’s Juli...

Federal agencies have come a long way in their cloud computing journeys. But old habits die fast.

Many agencies are now thinking about ways to best use the cloud to improve customer experience, mission outcomes and the business of government in general. But Juliana Vida, group vice president and chief strategy advisor at Splunk, said many also still view cloud as a cost saving measure and little else.

“I can’t tell you how many of them are using such a small percentage of the capability that they’ve purchased,” Vida said during the Federal News Network Cloud Exchange 2022.

“First, it was, ‘Let’s consolidate data centers,’ ” she said. “And then when there was adoption of commercial cloud, the conversations were, ‘The cloud is going to help us save money.’ And that is the wrong paradigm.”

Taking a priority list approach to cloud

While acknowledging that agencies don’t have endless amounts of money to spend, Vida argues they do have enough resources to prioritize and take better advantage of cloud technologies.

“Cloud can help us optimize. It can help us automate a lot of processes and tools that hold our workforce back, that keep people from being productive, that keep people from enjoying their work,” she said. “That automation and orchestration concept, making work fun again for people, those are the types of outcomes that leaders should be thinking about and talking about — and not necessarily the cost benefits.”

The pandemic forced many agencies to accelerate their move to cloud-enabled technologies, like collaboration tools. “Unfortunately, what we also have started to see is a little bit of stepping back, a little bit of, ‘Well, that was what we needed to do two years ago,’ ” Vida said. “You know, ‘Let’s go back to more of the way we used to do it.’ ”

Directives like the 2019 “Cloud Smart” federal strategy and the 2021 cybersecurity executive order have encouraged agencies to adopt cloud computing for the right potential benefits. But Vida said high-level directives often lack strong implementation assistance for agencies that need more help than a strategy document.

How collaboration can benefit cloud efforts

“The muscle in the federal government to know how to go do those things is not strong,” she said. “And so that’s where either there should be more support or help or guidance in the implementation that can happen. … That’s where industry can help, because we have the expertise. Technology vendors and industry partners have that know-how. Let us help you implement this.”

She also said there could be better cross-agency collaboration.

“If one agency is doing great — and they’re modernizing, and they’re adopting cloud, and they’re doing all these wonderful modern things — but they’re still holding their arms around ‘my information, my data, my solutions,’ well, that doesn’t help the rest of the government,” Vida said.

Check out all the sessions from the Federal News Network Cloud Exchange 2022.

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