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Finding Common Ground in the Cloud - Hero

5 Tips on How State CIOs and Agency Leaders Can Partner to Digitally Transform Citizen Services

The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the need for quality online governmental services. Now, state chief information officers (CIO) are prioritizing technology advancements, which include significant investments in digital government services, cloud services, cybersecurity and risk management and more. This shift has increased wholesale cloud strategies and plans to move government agencies to the cloud.

While the need is there, digitally transforming citizen services can be challenging as agencies and departments pursue cloud migration efforts while navigating compliance regulations, security best practices and individual departmental needs. Managing cloud compliance and security is a multi-layered endeavor that requires the best of technology and business leadership, knowledge and expertise.

Due to the anticipated complexity of these projects, stakeholders must agree on priorities. Easier said than done if those priorities don’t align. How can agencies and IT overcome these challenges and successfully operate in the cloud to meet stakeholder needs? Here are five tips to help you start or advance your public sector cloud migration strategy:

Tip #1: Collaboration is Key

Because migrations and technology upgrades take time and learning, industry-focused governmental agencies sometimes see technology-focused CIOs and IT teams as an obstacle to their work. But technological improvements can help agencies work better and faster while helping citizens more efficiently and effectively engage with government.

The first step of a successful cloud migration is aligning CIOs and IT teams’ priorities with those of individual agencies. This alignment looks different between centralized and decentralized IT administrations. Centralized IT teams mean agencies don’t always have the budget for the unique tools they need, but decentralized teams can mean variations in IT strategy across the government, leaving opportunities for security failures and compliance gaps.

These problems can seem overwhelming, but good collaboration can bridge the gap between agencies and IT.

Tip #2: Envision the Cloud, Together

Creating a cloud migration vision that will work for every agency and group is crucial to ensure a smooth migration while remaining compliant and streamlining change management once the new cloud system is in place. Having an agreed-upon, clear vision of what the cloud environment will look like is imperative the long-term success of cloud migrations.

A “good” cloud environment will align with every team’s needs while meeting the technological standard set by the CIO. Some of those technical criteria could include what governmental compliance regulations each agency must meet. While regulations like HIPAA, CJIS, MARS-E and FISMA are great to secure and protect personal information, they add a new layer of security complexity to a cloud migration.

What exactly does a cloud environment need to look like to check those boxes? A concrete list of characteristics for regulatory compliance coupled with a unified cloud migration vision can blueprint the cloud environment that will best fit your organization’s unique needs.

Tip #3: Lead and Learn by Example

Many state and local governments are already migrating to the cloud or are in the planning stage to do so. For those having completed or are in the process of completing this transition, the rest of the pack is watching and taking notes. When one organization successfully moves to the cloud, it builds others’ confidence they can do the same. Plus, when one agency within a government completes a migration, other agencies will know it will work for them too.

When agencies start their migration process, they might realize they need help. This is where establishing an effective collaboration environment as suggested above can pay dividends. Technology leaders and agency leaders who have worked with each other from an early stage will be better positioned to complete a migration with less risk and difficulties, setting the stage for success and serving as a model others can follow. 

Tip #4: Team Up

Collaboration doesn’t only happen between the CIO and agencies. When individual agencies collaborate  to align their cloud plans, it makes cloud migration an efficient process for the entire government.

Agencies can work together to create lists—such as relevant compliance regulations, workstream needs and data storage requirements—to effectively communicate their cloud vision with CIOs and speed cloud migration.

Tip #5: Make a Plan to Move Forward in a Migration

While a cloud migration project for public sector organization comes within a unique set of requirements, quality communication, planning and teamwork can ensure a successful cloud migration.

Third-party cloud service providers, such as Unisys, can also be invaluable resources during cloud migrations. An experienced service provider can serve as a backbone to support the transformation journey to a shared-services model that allows government agencies to serve citizens more efficiently. Unisys’ deep pool of trained experts offer deep experience in public sector cloud migrations to help streamline the entire cloud migration journey.

Learn how Unisys can help your organization simplify a secure cloud migration process.