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Innovation in the context of cloud: What does it mean for Federal Agencies?

JudyRedman on ‎07-20-2011 05:38 PM - last edited on ‎07-22-2011 08:01 AM mackey

jeff.jpgBy Jeff Bergeron, HP Chief Technology Officer (CTO), U.S. Public Sector

(Jeff Bergeron is the HP Chief Technology Officer (CTO) for the U.S. Public Sector. In this role, he leads a team of chief technologists that are responsible for matching HP’s capabilities and offerings with the requirements of the U.S. Government market sector. Jeff works directly with government agencies to define strategic transformation plans that enable them to maximize their IT budgets while aligning to mission goals and objectives.  Recently Jeff was appointed Commissioner to serve on the TechAmerica Commission of the Leadership Opportunity in U.S. Deployment of the Cloud--CLOUD².)



In my last post, I discussed the role of the TechAmerica Commission to drive U.S. innovation through cloud computing.  In this post, I would like your perspective: what is innovation?  It’s certainly the main topic of discussion as I meet with Federal CIOs / CTOs from all segments of the market, yet it is rarely defined in the same context.  Even with the transition of the Federal CIO Vivek Kundra into academia, government agencies are still on a trajectory to streamline IT operations, consolidate data centers and migrate to cloud, but an ever recurring theme in the context of these discussions is: innovation. 


Typically the conversations that I have with market leaders focus on innovation as it relates to IT trends and in the context of cloud, with leading questions such as:

  • Where do you see the future of cloud in government? 
  • What impact will mobility have on the cloud market? 
  • What about security in the cloud? 
  • What will the data center of the future look like to support cloud? 

Although these are important, insightful questions, they truly only address one dimension of the overall impact that innovative ideas will have on the enterprise, specifically as they relate to cloud.


Addressing the enterprise impact of cloud must include all dimensions of transformation, including: human capital impact, acquisition reform, legislative and policy changes, financial impacts, mission alignment, etc.  It has been my personal experience that you need to execute a comprehensive strategy that includes all dimensions of transformation.  Only then can you be successful in delivering innovation into the enterprise. 


For example, in a Computer World interview titled “Why we’re sold on the cloud,” the CIO of the Missile Defense Agency explains how cloud computing is helping his agency improve its service level and be more efficient.  But Jim Armstrong is looking forward to further innovation by using the cloud coupled with mobility to make the U.S. mobile forces more effective.   In my opinion, that is taking cloud innovation to the next level.


Another example is with the U.S. Department of Interior that is using cloud as a part of a massive overall and transformation of its IT infrastructure. 


Therefore, as you look at innovation in the context of cloud, what do you see?  Certainly the enabling technologies that make cloud successful are important, but is that all you need to be “innovative?”  Certainly perspectives on this topic vary, but one thing remains consistent – government will continue to be innovative as they move to cloud and this transformation needs to be governed in the context of a comprehensive strategy that address all dimensions of the enterprise.


So, how do you define IT innovation? 


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About the Author


Judy Redman has been writing about all areas of technology for more than 20 years.

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