People Making the Difference. The well-known MIL corporate motto served as the theme for Federal Salesforce Practice Director John Harlow’s presentation, delivered to nearly 150 public and private sector attendees at the FCW Cloud Summit in Washington, D.C.

Offering opening remarks for a session on cloud-driven innovation, Harlow addressed an often-overlooked aspect of federal agencies’ transition to cloud computing: that people are making the difference in the cloud-era, not the technology.

Undoubtedly, cloud computing has provided a myriad of benefits for agencies, such as reduced costs and better security. However, the greatest benefit, Harlow noted, is that it facilitates the ability for agency personnel to drive strategic agency initiatives by reallocating where their attention is being spent.

“When it comes to organizations and tech projects, you have three buckets of people,” Harlow said. “You have people who focus on strategic agency initiatives, application development, and infrastructure.”

In the on-prem model, Harlow explained, technology is driving strategic agency initiatives, with an inordinate amount of staff dedicated to keeping the systems operational. Conversely, with cloud computing, which reduces the need for attention to be focused on maintaining the system, personnel are able to maximize the technology itself to best achieve agency initiatives.

“There’s a shift in what’s driving the project and strategic agency initiatives,” said Harlow.

However, this shift is not without its own challenges. When shifting personnel and their respective roles in an agency, cultural resistance or pushback is likely to occur.

“Which cloud you use, doesn’t matter,” added Harlow. “If you don’t address the transition of the people, the cloud’s not going to help you. Don’t forget your people and the transition they’re going through.”

The event, which focused on the technologies, policies, and management strategies that provide a foundation for a cloud-based government, brought together a number of prominent thought leaders and industry experts. Sessions addressed topics such optimizing IT infrastructure to support cloud adoption, how to align an agency’s existing processes with a modern cloud environment, and how IT leaders can ensure cloud-based operations meet their performance and security requirements.

About the Author

Alex Tzavellas serves as Practice Marketing Manager where he supports MIL’s cloud solutions marketing and sales efforts. He specializes in developing and executing strategies for federal and non-profit clients.