Strategy for defense cloud adoption

The strategy methodology falls within the command domain of cloud adoption.

Figure that shows a domain tracker. It shows command, platform, and mission. Command is highlighted to show we're in the command domain of cloud adoption. Figure 1: Domain tracker - command domain

Strategy is about ensuring the short and long-term success of cloud adoption. Mission owner must align their vision to overarching digital transformation initiatives. Aligning to a broader strategy is an important step to drive awareness of the transformation vision. Many choose the cloud to optimize costs and enhance security, but without a clear understanding of the command, cloud transformation can fragment. Mission owners should align their mission to the broader strategy and engage stakeholders early to avoid blockers. Here are our recommendations for execution.

Align with defense strategy

The cloud is a force multiplier for defense scenarios, and many defense organizations have an overarching cloud strategy to incorporate cloud capabilities. It’s important that a cloud strategy aligns with broader digital transformation initiatives. Otherwise, there’s a risk of creating a patchwork system that perpetuates the incompatibility of on-premises environments. Here are some recommendations for building a good cloud adoption strategy:

Know your broader cloud strategy - We recommend collaborating with all other cloud strategy activities within the chain of command to minimize conflicting projects and to discover similar projects that could be beneficial to mission objectives. Any documentation resulting from these projects should align to the overall cloud adoption goals. New terminology and advances in technology can make publications appear out of sync. Crosscheck and get clarification on the future vision.

Understand the data strategy - The cloud transforms how you manage data in defense scenarios. Defense organizations have some of the most complex data requirements and need to define data strategies to account for this complexity. The broader command strategy should inform any cloud adoption strategy because it affects the architecture of data solutions. The goal is awareness and compatibility. An awareness of broader data strategies will improve decision models.

However, if rework is required, the cloud is ideal for refactoring and rationalizing workloads. Without the need to acquire, provision, or retire hardware, the on-demand access to cloud virtualization increases the speed of change and at a fraction of the cost.

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Identify stakeholders

Identifying and collaborating with stakeholders is essential. The cloud adoption journey creates dependencies within the chain of command that delay digital transformation if not addressed early. The structure of defense organizations will determine ‘who’ the stakeholders are and ‘what’ dependencies they create for cloud adoption. Stakeholders in different branches and agencies might have alternative priorities and different ideas of success. Early identification of stakeholders that are critical to approval processes can aid project timelines. The approval process tends to be longer in defense environments because of the risk mitigation requirements. Continuous engagement with stakeholders will keep mission owners aware of shifting priorities and challenges that could affect cloud adoption goals and timelines.

Here are some recommendations to consider:

  • Create a chart of responsible, accountable, consulted, and informed (RACI) stakeholders - Use a RACI chart to organize project stakeholders and to create awareness of shared responsibilities.
  • Identify data owners and data stewards - Data owners and data stewards will be important stakeholders in your cloud adoption journey. Identify and collaborate with both as early as possible.
  • Identify application owners - Application owners manage and control services and workloads that will be adopted in the cloud. They might have a separate roadmap for their applications. It’s critical to align the goals of the application owners with the cloud adoption plan. If not possible, mission owners should develop a strategy that accommodates the mission objectives of application owners.

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Next step

Creating a plan around this strategy is the next step. Planning and strategy should be closely linked.