Defence CIO prepares to launch updated cloud strategy

Builds on 2014 cloud computing strategy

Defence CIO Dr Peter Lawrence

Defence CIO Dr Peter Lawrence

Department of Defence chief information officer Dr Peter Lawrence is preparing to launch an updated cloud computing strategy, the IT chief yesterday told the CeBIT Cloud 2017 conference.

However, the CIO confessed that the concept of having a cloud strategy that sits apart from an organisation’s overall IT strategy gives him pause.

“I worry about having a cloud strategy – it should be part of your overall strategy. It’s just one of the options you can deploy to deliver the outcomes you need,” he told the conference.

The update will build on a strategy originally released by Defence in 2014. The CIO said he mainly sees the update as an opportunity to update the rest of the organisation on how cloud is currently being used within Defence.

Last year Lawrence rolled out a new ICT strategy — ICT Strategic Direction 2016-2020 — that outlined a shift to an efficient, scalable ‘Single Information Environment’ architecture with standardised businesses processes and reduced ICT costs. Cloud services would help deliver the infrastructure to make the SIE a reality, the document said.

“Private cloud, with public, community or hybrid clouds will be adopted on a case by case basis,” the strategy stated.

The strategy is part of realising the One Defence model outlined in the First Principles Review (FPR), released by the government in 2015. One Defence includes working towards “an enterprise approach to the delivery of corporate and military enabling services to maximize their effectiveness and efficiency.”

The 2016 strategy document stated that Defence ICT did not “adequately support the cooperation, coordination and communications needs of its personnel”. ICT within Defence is characterised by a range challenges including fragmented processes and information, separate “infrastructure islands”, aging infrastructure and applications and a lack of innovation, it argued.

Lawrence told the CeBIT conference that a key challenge for the use of cloud services remains sourcing skills.

“I think the biggest challenge is actually people and I think the biggest challenge to have is skills in your organisation as you move from the old paradigm to the new paradigm,” the CIO said.

“I think it’s also having enough skills in the market to help you to do that,” he added. “I think the ecosystem that goes around it is still evolving and growing and the type of skills that we need to leverage still have to grow to feed the total market.”

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