Want to run your business like the biggest employer in the world?

This week the US Department of Defense announced they had teamed up with a cloud service provider to develop its Cloud Computing Strategy. It might be surprising to some, particularly those who are cloud nay-sayers who think the platform isn’t safe or is akin to leaving the office door open and allowing anyone to wander in. The adoption by the DoD, the largest employer in the world looking after US national security and the military, will provide a powerful advocate for those who want to sell the benefit of the Cloud.

The DoD says they are adopting the technology to identify the most effective ways for them to speed up IT delivery, make themselves more efficient and innovative. Alongside the announcement, the DoD has published a strategy, outlining how they are going to implement the Cloud and how it will impact their work. Like a business plan it’s a vital part of the process for any company wanting to make the most of their IT and any investment they make.

Admittedly, there are few companies facing the same level of demands and resources that the DoD have to tackle. Yet the principles of their argument for adoption will resonate for many businesses; be they entrepreneurs or multi-nationals running firms and employing staff across the globe.

The argument is that we want “ever-increasing capabilities while consuming fewer resources”. So we want more for less. As the Internet takes up a greater chunk of our lives, creating a virtual society where we work, play and socialise inevitably it becomes a place where we might encounter threats. The DoD wants to have a secure presence in cyberspace. All this is happening while budgets are getting smaller. Therefore the government agency is changing and streamlining its IT, making it more effective, more efficient and more secure.

What company, or individual, would want any more for their own firm or business.

What the DoD has also done is to roll out at the changes as a four prong strategy. Understanding that the changes won’t happen all in one go they want to be able to educate everyone who works for an with them what they’re doing and why they’re doing it, essentially beginning a cultural shift, before they start making major changes.

Through outreach and raising awareness, the first step in the Cloud strategy is encouraging people to adopt the service. Working with staff at different sites, companies with different hats and different specialisms it can be hard to convince every employee that a new IT approach is the right way to go. By selling in the principles first it makes it much easier for everyone to accept what’s happening and agree with it.

The second step is to focus on data centres, making sure they are working and suiting practice. The next step is to build the infrastructure and then to deliver the cloud services.

It might seem simplistic when you’re dealing with the world’s biggest employer but having a plan, an idea of the steps you need to go through is one that any company or individual needs to go through if they are to invest in a new piece of technology. The benefits of the Cloud to help streamline, to cut costs and make an operation more efficient is well known. However many companies might think all they need to do is call up a provider, arrange migration and it’s done. By publishing the clear steps of their strategy the DoD illustrates how they have gone through a thought process, the aim of what they want to get from the migration and the difference it might have.

Understanding the impact the Cloud may have on business is one thing, understanding how to manage that and if necessary breaking up activity into clear areas makes the process more manageable and easier for staff to adopt.