Data sharing has become essential to successful agency operations. Here’s how multi-cloud solutions are driving greater interoperability across the public sector.
Ask any IT professional about their most difficult challenges on the job and chances are navigating data silos will top the list of concerns. In one global report, nine in 10 IT leaders cited data silos as their biggest setback to digital transformation. That’s not a surprise — the more information an organization has access to, the harder it becomes to manage effectively. That’s especially true for government IT staff, who must not only navigate several databases and workloads, but also ensure they are meeting specific security and compliance standards. Add to that multiple access points and endpoints as more employees work from home and it becomes clear that public sector data management is no easy feat.
Even as challenges grow, the more data government agencies acquire, the more important it becomes to manage it effectively. As a result, public sector IT leaders are looking to flexible and adaptable cloud solutions to reduce data silos and achieve greater interoperability agencywide.
Enabling a Consistent Cloud Experience
Before agencies can improve their data management strategy, they need to determine where and how to store it. Many have shifted to multi-cloud environments, drawn to the increased flexibility and enhanced performance that these solutions provide.
But for some agencies, maintaining consistency across platforms remains a challenge. In one report, 89% of federal IT leaders said consistency was a key factor in moving multi-cloud forward, but only 37% rated consistency in their cloud environments as “very good.”
So how can agencies take steps to leverage multi-cloud environments for data sharing and interoperability? According to Troy Massey, director of enterprise engagements at Iron Bow Technologies, doing so will require a new approach.
“To improve data access and movement, agencies need an operational model that allows them to seamlessly manage these various platforms,” he said. “By simplifying workloads across multiple cloud deployment strategies, agencies can move toward more consistency and greater interoperability.”
This model is a key component of IronTarget, a solution from Iron Bow Technologies that seeks to reduce data silos and increase compatibility across environments by managing an entire multi-cloud infrastructure from a single point of control.
“By virtualizing legacy applications and decoupling them from the hardware, this type of infrastructure enables movement across cloud environments and the ability to move applications from an on-premise solution to an off-premise cloud infrastructure,” Massey said. “This type of approach offers consistency across platforms and gives users visibility into all their data, wherever it may be.”
Solutions like IronTarget are based on a hyper-converged infrastructure, a cloud investment strategy designed to increase interoperability across hybrid and multi-cloud environments. Beyond increased visibility into data stacks and integration between cloud and on-premise platforms, HCI platforms can also serve as a bridge between legacy environments and cloud environments as more public sector organizations move to telework — and can change as an agency’s needs do. Moreover, as agency leaders plan their long-term IT strategies, these solutions can offer the flexibility and scalability necessary to enable successful multi-cloud adoption in the future.
Equipping Agencies with the Tools for Better Data Management
Deploying technologies and strategies to improve consistency across platforms is the first step toward greater government interoperability, but it isn’t the only one. It’s also key to engage staff and partners to support these initiatives.
According to Melvin Greer, chief data scientist at Intel, engaging with a cloud broker can help agencies oversee their cloud operations and maintain consistency across platforms.
“Most cloud services only run natively in the cloud in which those services originate, so this focus on integration and interoperability is so important,” he said. "In many ways, partnering with a cloud broker capability like IronTarget will allow for interoperability across applications by serving as an intermediary between the cloud services provider and the customer and helping ensure data is seamlessly shared or moved across platforms.”
Greer also urges organizations to identify internal stakeholders to lead these initiatives forward and ramp up recruiting efforts targeted toward overseeing data management.
“Focus on hiring for roles like chief data officer and identifying candidates within your organization to grow into data roles,” he said. “This will really help protect against data silos because you will be able to rely on staff members who are dedicated to solving these data-specific challenges.”
Unlike a CTO or CIO, a CDO is responsible for specific organizational functions including but not limited to data quality assurance, data management and data governance.
As agencies develop a more comprehensive cloud strategy, eliminating data silos will empower government leaders to improve operations and drive efficiency across their organization. It will not happen overnight, but with scalable and sustainable multi-cloud services — and a team of staff and partners to drive these initiatives forward — agencies can embark on the journey toward greater interoperability.
Find out how Iron Bow can help your agency achieve interoperability across cloud environments at ironbow.com/irontarget/.
This content is made possible by our sponsor, Iron Bow Technologies. The editorial staff was not involved in its preparation.