Posted: 03 Jun. 2022 7 min. read

Accelerated adoption to cloud computing: Where are we now?

A blog post by Meghan Sullivan, Principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP, Malcolm Jackson, Specialist Executive, Deloitte Consulting LLP,  Joe Mariani, Research Manager, Deloitte Services LP, Pankaj Kamleshkumar Kishnani, Researcher, Deloitte Services LP 


The immediate and urgent demands of the COVID-19 pandemic caused government agencies to accelerate their adoption of cloud to keep critical services running. While some government agencies had previously adopted cloud, those who were not yet cloud-first in their approach to infrastructure were forced to shift priorities. And although these government agencies realized the benefits the cloud had to offer during a pandemic, leaders now face difficult decisions on how to not only sustain the progress they made on their cloud journey during the pandemic but institutionalize it.

Bringing in change

Government agencies’ approach to cloud prior to the pandemic can be categorized into three eras: the problem-solving era, a period of time where agencies launched the policy, technical, and security documents that helped facilitate cloud adoption; the competing priorities era, where many government agencies implemented cloud services in a piecemeal fashion as they struggled with how to balance new technologies with legacy systems; and the maximizing-the-mission era, focused on maximizing the capabilities of cloud computing. 

Prior to the pandemic, some early-adopter government agencies implemented cloud at scale and moved to the third era. However, most were stuck in the second era due to the burden of maintaining legacy systems and the government’s constantly changing priorities. The pandemic broke the cycle of perpetual consideration and pushed many people who were on the fence into adoption.

The key factors

Having made the decision to move to the cloud during the pandemic, government agencies are faced with the decision of how best to make use of the cloud to accomplish their mission. A recent Deloitte Insights report, Don’t just adopt cloud computing, adapt to it, highlights what government agencies can do to keep the momentum of cloud adoption and how these organizations can make the most of the cloud.

But to realize cloud’s full potential, an organization’s people are the key to its success; this technology can only move forward with the right people involved. That’s why agencies must prioritize taking steps to attract new talent, reskill existing workers, and retain hired talent. And in many cases, government organizations appear to have already made the shift in talent recruitment. This means both the public and private sectors are recruiting for similar skill sets and attrition still plays a factor (even with proper training and recruiting), as these employees can shift to the private sector for higher salaries. Rather than viewing them as a threat, creating a collaborative ecosystem with the private sector and viewing it as a resource to tap will allow government organizations to leverage a broader range of skill sets available.1

Sustaining the accelerated growth

Adapting to new technology cannot be a mere lift and shift; simply bolting new technology onto existing processes will not yield results. While technology modernization can be a complex process, government tech leaders can do a few things today to ensure the benefits of the cloud last well beyond the pandemic.

1. Follow a road map and use a playbook

A road map helps establish a clear path and identify goals for how to use cloud to improve the mission. It also aids in identifying which legacy operations should be removed and where possible roadblocks lay. As these roadblocks emerge, a playbook can enable the organization to overcome these roadblocks in a more systematic manner.

2. Assess the ecosystem

Understanding who should and should not be on an organization’s cloud “team” is a key initial step. Mapping out an ecosystem can accelerate a cloud journey by finding necessary resources, and it can help organizations do so more securely. Assigning ownership for different responsibilities in an ecosystem helps identify gaps that attackers can exploit.

3.  Drive cloud governance into the business

Involving mission leaders in decision-making from the start will help ensure that cloud is used to improve the mission. Leveraging the cloud itself to help bring clarity to costs and uncover difficult-to-quantify mission benefits of the cloud can prove to be an easy starting ground for getting mission leaders’ support for ongoing cloud initiatives.

4.  Create pathways for people

Attracting, training, and retaining talent is the key to realizing success in the cloud. Having opportunities to grow and develop is among the top drivers of employee engagement, so creating career pathways (specifically for people with cloud skills) can ensure employees have the opportunity to grow and explore new challenges without having to leave the organization.

The flexibility and scalability of cloud make it well-suited to handle many of government’s toughest challenges. However, if government agencies are to realize the most significant benefits cloud has to offer, they should not just adopt the technology but also adapt their organization to match those benefits. Doing so can ensure that the best services reach customers today and for the foreseeable future.

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Meghan Sullivan

Meghan Sullivan

Principal | Government & Public Services

Meghan Sullivan is a Principal in Deloitte Consulting LLP’s Government & Public Services practice and serves as Deloitte’s Cloud Strategic Growth leader. Meghan works alongside our technical leaders and strategic partners to deliver cloud solutions that address our clients’ unique business needs, with a focus on implementation and future innovation capabilities. Her extensive industry knowledge and technical expertise allows her to work with government clients to develop solutions that meet their business objectives, as well as the needs of their constituents.

Malcolm Jackson

Malcolm Jackson

Specialist Executive, Core Business Operations | Deloitte Consulting LLP

Malcolm is a Deloitte specialist executive in Core Business Operations focused on strengthening executive relationships across the federal agencies that have a need for business transformation, cloud adaption, cyber resilience, and AI. Malcolm possesses deep experience leading transformative IT programs and partnering with federal agencies to design and implement strategies to improve IT performance and agility, reduce operating costs, and deliver more innovative capabilities to the mission faster. Prior to joining Deloitte, Malcolm held IT leadership roles within the federal and commercial sectors. He also served the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from 2010 to 2013 in dual roles: Assistant Administrator for the Office of Environmental Information, running the Toxic Release Inventory Program (TRI) and as the Chief Information Officer (CIO). During his tenure, he accelerated EPA's cloud migration, implemented a new mobile strategy, upgraded infrastructure, and reduced IT operating costs.

Joe Mariani

Joe Mariani

Senior manager | Deloitte Consulting LLP

Joe Mariani is a senior research manager with Deloitte’s Center for Government Insights. His research focuses on innovation and technology adoption for both national security organizations and commercial businesses. His previous work includes experience as a consultant to the defense and intelligence industries, high school science teacher, and Marine Corps intelligence officer.