Insight by Qlik

DoD Cloud Exchange 2024: Qlik’s Andrew Churchill on unifying DoD’s cloud enterprise

As part of its move to the cloud, the Defense Department needs to integrate data and platforms to drive better, faster decisions, Qlik’s federal VP says.

The Defense Department’s IT modernization journey is as complicated as it is long. There is plenty of progress but even more opportunity to take advantage of cloud services capabilities — current and still to come. In 2024, DoD asked for more than $58 billion for technology and cyber funding, which is $13 billion more than what it asked for in 2023.

Andrew Churchill, vice president of public sector at Qlik, said while the funding is important, the Pentagon still is working to overcome policy hurdles, such as those around cyber authorization to move systems and data outside of its on-premise data centers and networks and to the cloud.

“One of the things that’s really important is now creating an enterprise of enterprises. DoD has made awards to Microsoft, Google, AWS and other cloud providers, and they now need to make sure that those systems and data environments are interconnected and operate just as they did when it was all behind their firewall,” Churchill said on Federal News Network’s DoD Cloud Exchange 2024. “One of the big things that needs to happen is a cultural shift around how they are going to bring all of those people that manage these platforms together and begin to break down some of those silos now that they’re in the cloud so they can take advantage of what the cloud is designed to make possible.”

Churchill, of course, is referring to the data that lives in each of the cloud instances. Military and civilian employees from across the department must share information and communicate in bigger and more immediate ways than ever before.

Available, trusted and ready DoD cloud presences

He said this is why DoD must rationalize the policies and access to those systems to better support coordination — to create agility within the processes that integrate and govern data.

“We reimagined the way that those cloud services were going to be consumed and deployed, and therefore how we architected those systems. What we really see as the potential is the idea that you are not going to simply deliver that same application that you had on-premise. You are going to have a set of services from ServiceNow, AWS and Salesforce, and build a set of capabilities that does benefits enrollment or does personnel readiness in the DoD,” Churchill said. “So how am I going to make those things available, trusted and ready to be able to support what obviously is going to become the most important thing in terms of strategic advantage going forward?”

This integration of different software as a service applications is starting to pick up steam across DoD.

The Navy’s big data platform, Jupiter, and the Army’s enterprise resource planning system, the Enterprise Business Systems – Convergence, are two examples of  such one-stop-shop platforms for cloud services.

Churchill said in the end, for both DoD and civilian agencies, these technologies all must lead to improved mission outcomes. In that vein, agencies need to rethink the path they take to IT modernization, he said.

“With low-code, no-code types of capabilities, the level of effort that you previously needed to deliver new capabilities is very different,” Churchill said. “When you start talking about artificial intelligence and analytics, it is more and everywhere. That should be the goal if you’re going to deliver financial management data that belongs everywhere in personnel decisions, supply chain decisions and in tactical execution. It’s about pervasively embedding decision support capability in business processes, in mission process workflows and everywhere you go.”

Discover more articles and videos now on Federal News Network’s DoD Cloud Exchange event page.

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