The General Services Administration (GSA) outlined ten tips for Federal agencies to follow in their efforts to migrate to cloud-based systems as part of a cloud smart push.

For starters, “ruthless” application rationalization is paramount for cloud migration. This is understanding what applications are deployed on the current IT systems and how they’re leveraged. Moving applications with careful consideration is more efficient than moving every application in a “lift and shift” process. The agency should also determine if an existing application should be redeveloped in the cloud or if a new application should be acquired.

Cloud migration should also be tied to the mission of the agency. This will help with accurately calculating visible and hidden costs for the migration with IT specialists and partners being on the same page. Working with professional integrators is also a way to learn best practices for the migration and to train personnel for an agency’s migration plans.

Senior leadership buy-in is cited as essential and knowing that leadership is amenable to new ideas and suggestions. When restructuring and refocusing IT resources, managing human capital for change is important for productive cloud migration, as well.

GSA also says that doing too much too fast won’t allow an agency to demonstrate the value and benefits of cloud-based systems, so agencies should aspire to meet quick wins first such as Email as a Service. Focusing on gaining a quick win in office productivity can help capture a ‘mindshare’ throughout the agency when it comes to cloud.

Agencies should be cognizant of the governance over critical pieces during the cloud migration. This prevents shifting unneeded assets to the cloud. If an agency if worried about letting data off their premises, GSA notes that the agencies should work to understand that security and disaster recovery capabilities are much better in a cloud-based system.

Lastly, agencies should balance locking in long-term with vendors and contracting for longer periods to reduce costs.

“Try not to get stuck with a vendor that may sunset support for a service your organization is taking advantage of,” GSA said. Ask the right questions of the vendor upfront and discuss how much you expect cloud needs to change through this process.

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