Federal CIOs need to focus on big picture to achieve cloud integration

Agency CIOs throughout the federal government face the challenge of significantly advancing their cloud integration progress. In many cases, this is the single most noteworthy IT challenge facing a given department.

But reaching an advanced stage of cloud integration is easier said than done, as numerous organizations have discovered. To achieve success in this capacity, agency CIOs must remain focused on the bigger picture, CIO contributor Elaine Beeman recently asserted.

With all of the focus on cloud integration mandates, it is easy for agency CIOs to develop a somewhat skewed sense of priorities. The technology itself can become the end, rather than a means to an end.

That is why Beeman emphasized the need for agency CIOs to retain a focus on the mission, followed by the technological tools they can leverage to achieve their greater goals.

"The key challenges the agency is attempting to solve should be at the core of an integrated cloud strategy, not just the specific set of technologies that will play a role in addressing those challenges," Beeman wrote. "With a focus on the big picture, CIOs can then begin to weave in cloud solutions as part of the fabric of the mission and embed them within an overall approach to achieving elements of the broader IT strategy."

The writer pointed to the need to reduce IT operational costs while maintaining data security as a key goal for CIOs to aim for. Cloud services can undoubtedly help companies achieve this and other high-level objectives. However, this will only be the case if decision-makers retain the appropriate prioritization strategy.

Factors to consider
As department leaders continue to develop cloud integration plans, there are a number of key factors to keep in mind, according to Beeman. Among the most important of these are cybersecurity, interoperability and governance.

The first is perhaps the most obvious. In virtually every area, security concerns are among the most commonly cited reasons why firms have either not embraced the cloud or done so in only a limited capacity. For government agencies, this is a particularly important point, considering the sensitivity of the information they possess and manage. This holds true for all agencies, regardless of size.

By keeping the bigger picture and these crucial considerations in mind, agency CIOs will be much better prepared to achieve effective cloud integration.