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Cloud computing challenges outweighed by benefits for government agencies

Malcolm Ross, Senior Vice President, Product Strategy, Appian
July 16, 2013

A panel of experts recently discussed the pros and cons of cloud BPM and computing solutions used by federal agencies, including the infrastructure and security systems. Understanding these various benefits and challenges can help offices determine the best use of cloud services and related systems.

The panel was made up of chief information officers (CIOs) from various government departments, including the Department of Health and Human Services, Department of the Navy and the SAP Public Sector, as well as Amazon Web Services' general manager of data sciences, Matt Wood.

Terry Halvorsen, CIO of the Department of the Navy said that security is often a top priority for any agency, but there are areas where an office should feel perfectly safe placing information within the public cloud - such as data that is available to the public under the Freedom of Information Act. However, other systems require constant monitoring and increased access control to optimize security and track breaches efficiently.

One major benefit of cloud computing is the reduced cost of operations that government agencies encounter. This opens up further opportunities to improve operations, such as improved collaboration, David Robinson, CIO of SAP Public Sector noted.

What government offices need to undertake any cloud endeavor with in mind is the fact that there are no cookie-cutter cloud solutions that work for everyone. Each agency and even individual offices will have varying needs that the solution they choose will have to address. Some agencies may require significantly more data storage while others may need to focus on analytics over warehousing.

"There will not be one single answer," Halvorsen said.

Optimizing cloud computing will require high-quality business process management software from Appian to allow for the customization and prioritization of tasks and certain aspects of operation. With the right BPM for government offices can ease cloud adoption and ensure they are using the right tools for the job - optimizing workflow, data usage and security.

The productivity, efficiency and cost-analysis benefits that cloud BPM solutions provide greatly outweigh concerns over security and the "newness" of the cloud. Agencies that are embracing cloud services are finding that simply taking the time to develop the right strategy and having high-quality process management solutions in place saves time and hassle in the long run, ensuring the success of the solutions overall.

Malcolm Ross

Vice President of Product Marketing