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GCN : February 2015
vendors and cobbled together as well as possible. In the end, agencies end up delivering a loose affiliation of IT services and asking users to make-do, with everyone paying the price in terms of reduced flexibility, manageability and cost-savings. In part, these problems have developed because of the piecemeal-like development of the cloud industry. Over the years, a plethora of vendors have popped up offering one service or another, with little thought given to how customers would integrate those services. Perhaps that worked fine in the early days, when most agencies were just piloting individual services, but those days are past. Today, agencies need to think in terms of an overarching as-a -service strategy. That strategy should incorporate SaaS, PaaS, IaaS and other emerging as-a -service offerings in such a way that users can acquire the services they need, when they need, and never have to worry about how they will work together. Such a framework enables organizations to buy or develop point solutions, but to do so with the enterprise perspective in mind. Partnering for Success As might be expected, the development of an as-a -Service strategy has important implications for procurement. If an organization takes a haphazard approach to partnering with vendors—either engaging multiple cloud service providers or allowing individual departments to buy applications independently—the result, simply put, will be a mess. That’s not to say that an organization should tie itself to a single cloud service provider. No one provider, no matter how extensive its portfolio, can offer best-of- breed technology to meet an organization’s every requirement. The key is to take a procurement approach that offers both stability and diversity in cloud offerings. With stability in mind, an organization should look for a cloud service provider who provides the foundational components of an as-a -service strategy—that is, SaaS, PaaS and IaaS—and who has a vested interest in ensuring that those components work together. “ The value of going with a single cloud provider is that it puts that burden on the provider to make sure that your cloud solutions are connected, are talking to each other, and that the integration is not disrupted during the update cycles,” said Aaron Erickson, director of Government Innovation at Oracle. With diversity in mind, the organization should look for a provider who takes an open solutions approach that eases the integration of applications and data from third-party service providers or in-house developers. Stability, in a sense, supports diversity. If application developers have a clear understanding of the underlying cloud services, they can focus their energies not on integration but on innovation. Finally, public sector organizations need a partner who understands the particularities of their environments. Much of the growth in the cloud industry has been driven by the private sector, where organizations do not have the unique business requirements created by government policies, regulations, and missions. Agencies need a partner who takes those requirements into consideration when developing its solutions. Oracle recognizes the unique business requirements of public sector organizations and is leveraging decades of industry knowledge and experience in delivering cloud solutions, says Sarah Jackson, vice president, Oracle sales engineering. “Just like we have done with our other product lines, we invite customers to participate in hands-on validation testing activities and provide opportunities for them to have input into future releases and functional roadmaps,” she said. Oracle Government Cloud: A Complete Solution Oracle’s cloud strategy positions the company as a strong partner for government agencies. The company ’s global cloud infrastructure includes 17 data centers supporting a comprehensive suite of SaaS, PaaS and IaaS solutions. Today Oracle hosts more than 10,000 cloud customer organizations with more than 25 million daily cloud users. As part of that broader offering, the Oracle Government Cloud provides a series of data centers built specifically to address the rigorous security and compliance requirements of government agencies. The Oracle Government Cloud provides users access to all of the traditional Oracle technology that agencies are probably already using, including its database and middleware solutions and applications for enterprise resource planning, human capital management, customer management, and project management. It is a solid choice for public sector organizations that must have the ability to deliver modern solutions to citizens and employees efficiently and quickly in order to be successful. These offerings meet key security and operational requirements common to government agencies, including NIST 800-53 and the Federal Risk ExEcutivE insights: thE complEtE cloud