Cloud Computing Education Gap Still Exists

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It’s the time of year when kids start going back to school, but it’s the business side of federal agencies that could use a little education when it comes to the cloud – and in plain English, please – said GSA Deputy Associate Administrator in the Office of Citizen Services & Innovative Technologies Martha Dorris.

Speaking on a panel with fellow GSA Deputy Associate Administrator in the Office of Citizen Services & Innovative Technologies Bajinder Paul and HP Public Sector CTO Jeff Bergeron at FedScoop’s 3rd Annual Lowering the Cost of Government with IT Summit last week at the Newseum, Dorris said industry needs to do a better job in communicating the benefits of cloud computing to the business side of the house with less technical mumbo-jumbo.

“I think an education process that blends the technical with the business aspects is sorely needed,” Dorris said.

So instead of throwing around terms like public, private and hybrid clouds, government agencies need concrete information like how the cloud could assist during an emergency situation or what problems it can specifically solve.

And the same goes for IT managers in dealing with rank and file employees, Dorris said. She mentioned a few years ago when she mentioned going to a virtualized environment for USA.gov and “people thought I was trying to send them to the moon,” Dorris said.

“The key is to let people know that their job is changing,” Dorris said. “Not that its going away, but that it is changing and changing for the better.”

When it comes to implementing a cloud solution, Paul said its best to keep it simple. He advocated started with the low-hanging fruit – like GSA did with its move to cloud email – and then looking at more complicated issues like application engineering and business processes.

“All of the agencies are wrestling with the same issues: How to reduce cost and improve services,” Paul said. “The key thing to remember is cloud is not a silver bullet to these results, but one piece of the puzzle.”

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Agencies, Bajinder Paul, Departments, General Services Administration (GSA), Martha Dorris
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