As the migration to the cloud for Federal agencies has evolved and matured over the past decade, many agencies have learned valuable lessons that have allowed them to put their data to use efficiently.

Those lessons learned on cloud migration were shared during ATARC’s Federal Cloud Migration Virtual Summit by Associate CIO for the General Services Administration (GSA) Sagar Samant, Director of Information Operations and Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) CIO George Duchak, and Technology Strategist and Cloud Computing Program Manager for the Census Bureau Brock Webb.

Samant offered that upfront cost savings shouldn’t be the most important thing driving the migration to a cloud platform and rather on the customer experience side and making sure services are delivered on time and are highly available and scalable. He added that “as you are in a transition between a data center and a cloud, you get two sets of bills, right? You still have to maintain the systems and a data center.”

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“During their migration, and talking about cloud, economics, and being transparent about the cost, it’s a really important step from day one, explaining in terms of how it is going to reduce the total cost,” said Samant.

Building on the customer experience aspect, for DLA, Duchak said that a lesson his agency has learned was to set expectations with the users and customers. Additionally, Duchak said that it was important to organize around data and that going through a variety of mock-ups and practices helps the agency continually learn and uncover things they might be having difficulties with.

“The thing that feeds AI is data,” said Duchak. “And, so we have to reorganize our enterprise around making that data accessible and useful for AI.”

Webb turned his sights on culture as a lesson learned for the Census Bureau and how it was important to the cloud migration journey, despite “the inventiveness to keep the status quo, to not change.”

“Most of the problems are cultural. Ninety percent of your problems are cultural, 10 percent are technical,” said Webb. “I think that’s a problem with any change in technology, or changing a culture. Cultures that already have embraced continuous learning, continuous development, and improving that, embrace agility, agile development, failing fast, and moving forward. There’s still change involved, but it’s less.”

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.