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Adelaide O’Brien, IDC Government Insights | AWS Public Sector Summit 2019

Adelaide O’Brien, IDC Government Insights | AWS Public Sector Summit 2019

>>Announcer: Live from Washington D.C., it’s theCUBE covering AWS Public Sector Summit brought to you by Amazon Web Services.>>Welcome back to theCUBE’s live coverage of the AWS Public Sector
Summit here in Washington D.C. It’s the 10th annual AWS
Public Sector Summit. I’m your host Rebecca
Knight, along with my co-host John Furrier. We’re joined by Adelaide O’Brien. She is Research Director,
Government Digital Transformation Strategies
at IDC Government Insights. Thanks so much for coming
on the show, Adelaide.>>Thank you, Rebecca for having me. I’m pleased to be here today.>>So, I want to just start really with just picking your brain about the topic of this conference which
is about modernization of government IT. What
is the state of play? Where do you see things
from where your sit?>>Well, as you know, the
Federal Government right now has been under about a 10-year directive to go Cloud First, and what
we’ve seen is, you know, a lot of agencies, not all,
but some of them have struggled with that, and it hasn’t
really had the momentum or the velocity that as an
analyst I’d like to see. And so, last year, the current
federal CIO, Suzette Kent put out a policy, and it
was about actually moving to Cloud Smart. So, it
wasn’t just to do Cloud to be more efficient, to save some of that money, that about 75 billion that’s spent on maintaining legacy equipment, but it was actually
thinking about using Cloud to be very very agile, to help deliver better citizen services. And what’s interesting
is this whole concept of Cloud Smart is also very supportive of the IT Modernization Technology Act as well as the report to the president on IT modernization. So last year we saw both executive and legislative support for agencies to move to Cloud.>>So as you said, but it
still from where you sit as an analyst, it still
doesn’t quite have the momentum and the velocity
that you’d like to see. What do you see as the biggest obstacles?>>Well, and this was actually identified in Cloud Smart, and
yesterday and today, I heard a lot of agencies talking
about these three aspects, and I think AWS is in a
great place to help them. So, one of the first is security. We know and agencies, you
know, we’re first asked to go to the Cloud,
security was, you know, the biggest barrier in
their organization to Cloud. And so, I think it was
the third AWS conference it was actually in this building, and I know there’s been 10, but I wasn’t at the first two, and I
can remember as an analyst I was so pleased that
Teresa had Roger Baker, the CIO of Health and
Human Services on stage, and they were talking about
getting FedRAMP certification. And I think it was one of the first, and it was thrilling
that such a large agency had invested so much time and money working with AWS to get
FedRAMP certification. So, to me that was like, you know, an initial push and a start. So, security is just so so important, and now you’ve got, you
know, so many different software providers working
with Amazon AWS on security. And, even today at one
of the breakout sessions the census bureau talked about, because the CIA moved to AWS, and they put their most sensitive information in the Cloud,
they felt comfortable with putting their personally
identifiable information in the Cloud, i.e. our
census data information.>>If it’s good enough for that kind of information
>>Exactly.>>I can put my business’s
>>Exactly.>>information there too.
>>Exactly.>>The question I want to
get on the research side is competition of opportunities
is old Wickham old, Amazon, old, Old Guard,
the old way of doing they’re pretty much in
the new class, DevOps. We’ve seen that on the enterprise side, certainly start-ups, Andy
Jassy used examples like Airbnb. We see those at
conferences over the years, a real big example of these
Cloud-native companies. How does government now look at suppliers as partners because the big debate is you pick the right Cloud
for the right workload. Workload should define Cloud architecture. You can’t just split Clouds
up amongst Microsoft, Google, Amazon and Oracles of the world. The whole multi-vendor equation
shifts in this new paradigm. How do you see that playing out?>>Yes it does, but I also see, and what I’ve heard today
over the last two days is you know, agencies are actually looking for a partner who can grow with them, and learn with them, and I
heard that over and over again. You know, they want a Cloud
provider that, you know, has skin in the game, and
that actually helps them. And we’ve seen that. They also want a Cloud
provider that’s innovative. And, you know, one of
my concerns is I learned about how, you know, everything
is about scale today right? And how Amazon now has
AWS, has scaled up so fast over the last couple years. And all the innovations that
they’re able to provide. And so the question is, How can you keep that culture alive? And, you know, it’s kind of
like that start-up culture at AWS. How can you keep that alive? And, you know, I think
Andy answered it today. And, you know, I wish I would have thought about the question in the
way that he talked about it. You know when you get big
you get conservative, right? Because you have too much to lose, and too much is at stake. And, you know, as an
analyst I’m seeing AWS not only is it growing fantastically, but it’s innovating. And I think that’s what gives you then this innovation, you know, you don’t have to be a Silicon Valley
software company to innovate. And I think part of it comes
from I think Teresa said that 95 percent of AWS’s roadmap
is based upon what they hear from their customers. So, you know, that ear to
the ground, knowing the government business,
federal, state and local, is so so important.>>And this trend that’s helping them too also is the move to SAS with capabilities on digital using Software
as a Service business model. So again, this all kind
of timed up beautifully for these agencies that were
slow to move in the past. This is a catalyst.
>>Well, yeah so, security is one of the
things on Cloud Smart and I think that was one of the biggest biggest barriers to momentum. But, the other is acquisition. So, there’s three things about Cloud Smart that agencies are to pay attention to. And I think what’s really
helped in the acquisition is, you know, the standardization. And not only the FedRAMP certification and, you know, AWS is
helping Cloud providers, Software as a Service providers,
get FedRAMP certification. And so, this was announced
at the conference last year that ATO on AWS, right? Because it’s an arduous
process if you don’t know what you’re doing it can
cost you a lot of money, and take a lot of time. So, you know, AWS is
working with as partners and that’s all good for the
government sector right? Because the more vendors that
go through certification, the more they trust them,
and the more they can trust, you know, the integrity of
their data in the Cloud. So, the acquisition is the second one, but the third one is the workforce. And I think, you know, Andy
mentioned it today, you know, a lot of the resistance
and a lot of the inertia, to Cloud is not just the technology, it’s training the workforce. And, you know, that is so so important because it’s not just an
IT conversation any longer. Going to Cloud is part of
digital transformation. It’s the foundation of it. And so that has to be a
conversation with all levels of agency executives. And they have to agree
otherwise, you know, if you’re innovating, you’ve got, you know, islands of innovation and on the
Cloud you can start to, yes you compile it, but
you can start to really get scale there, and
transform your whole business. And it’s all about serving citizens better and innovating to serve them better and automating your processes. Now that’s so important as well.>>So how would you
describe the workforce? I mean when you think about
the private sector workforce, in terms of Cloud computing,
versus the government, you tend to think one
is more bureaucratic. There is obviously more red
tape, maybe slower moving. What are you seeing? What are you hearing?>>Well, you know, at all
levels of the workforce, and especially in government,
there’s a big push now to automate everything. And, you know, the
government at all levels, federal, state, and local
realizes, they’re actually competing with the private
sector for work source. And so, you know, historically
government would say well what’s the next skill, and we better start
preparing for that, right? What’s coming down the pike that we need? And now, it’s like, how do
we prepare for people who enter government and move
in various different jobs, and move in and out of government? And so when you think about
that that’s a skill development. And technology can help with that, but it’s also a mindset
of accepting the fact that people join government to serve and they might leave and come back. And so, that’s very important, but also in terms of
Cloud Smart, the workforce has to be able to understand Cloud and how to work with vendors, you know. And it’s not necessarily, you know, owning your own equipment, but
it’s trusting your vendors. And trusting them with your business. And how do you, you know,
provide these solutions to the line of business folks? And in a way I’ve actually
seen, you know, the IT Department become
much more, say responsive to the line of business folks. And my advice to government executives, especially, the IT folks is always, think of yourself as a service, right? Think of yourself as a
service, you know that as a service, you know, to
the line of business folks. And, you know, help them
understand what they need, how they accomplish their mission maybe give them a short list of solutions to help them out. But really start tracking them, you know, what they’re accomplishing. And that will help fuel
then your re-investments, help you know where to
spend your money next, and really just fuel this
whole mission accomplishment.>>One of the things that
we’ve been talking a lot about on theCube, for
years is the new role of the Chief Data
Officer in organizations. A lot of federal agencies
are now also putting in their own Chief Data Officers. Can you talk a little bit
about what you’ve seen, and how they’re being used?>>So there are Chief Data
Officers in the organizations, and again that’s one of
those skills where, you know, government’s going to compete
with the private sector for them, and there’s probably
not enough to go around. And so it’s a very precious commodity. And, you know, especially like in your research organizations you’ve got Chief Data Officers there, but in a lot of the other areas, you know, especially in the civilian government,
you may not be able to have your own, you know,
Chief Data Officer, right? You certainly have all the data, but you may not have someone like that. And that’s where, you know,
some of the things that I’m advising agencies to look for is Who can help you then give you some of these, you know, big
data, and, you know, AI and ML solutions that your line of business folks can start
to interface and work with? And maybe you have Chief
Data Officers setup the data fields initially. But that’s where you’ve got to start to democratize, you know, AI and ML. And because you’re never
going to have enough of Chief Data Officers
in any one organization to possibly comb through all of that data. So that’s again where technology can help.>>Great, well Adelaide, thank you so much for coming on theCube. It’s been a pleasure
>>Thank you>>having you.>>It’s always great being here. Thank you so much.>>I’m Rebecca Knight for John Furrier. Stay tuned, we will have more
of theCube’s live coverage of AWS Public Sector Summit. (techno music)

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