Government agencies must uphold stringent security standards to protect the sensitive data they store in their on-premises and cloud environments. As more configurations of cloud platforms and resources become available, agencies must remain compliant while also choosing the technologies that serve them best. Today, many government agencies have multiple cloud environments, including several public clouds. In other words, “multicloud is here to stay,” according to a new study from Forrester Consulting.

But doing multicloud right requires centralized visibility and control across all cloud environments — a “cloud smart” approach. A cloud smart approach should be an agency-wide journey inclusive of process changes and re-skilling, in addition to the technology. Agencies further along in their cloud journey are moving on to advanced activities such as application modernization and increased cloud-native tooling. However, those just starting out will likely need to focus on updating legacy code and tools and aligning their internal departments on goals.

The Forrester study (commissioned by VMware), “Multicloud Is The New Frontier Of Government IT,” reveals the challenges government IT managers and decision-makers face when implementing multicloud platforms — and two critical solutions.

Agencies Have Room to Grow

While a multicloud IT environment can provide many benefits — including improved capabilities and cost savings — the adoption of new systems often comes with technical and cultural growing pains.

Some agencies are further along than others, but organizations with comparatively sophisticated multicloud architectures still face challenges. According to the Forrester study, three of the top challenges when scaling multicloud environments are:

  • Staying compliant
  • Staying secure, and
  • Keeping up with changes for visibility

While solutions depend on how and where an organization is struggling, they generally fall into two categories: centralizing management and training employees.

Centralized Management for Efficiency

Agencies can certainly benefit from running multiple public clouds, but before long the complexity may outweigh the benefits. That’s why having an integrated cloud strategy with centralized management across clouds is essential. Centralized management of cloud environments increases resilience, reduces technical complexity, and increases scalability and interoperability. Adopting a Kubernetes-based containerized workload approach can help with this process.

Forrester says survey respondents reported numerous benefits experienced or expected from pivoting to centralized management of multicloud environments. Benefits included:

  • Access to modern resilience techniques (40%)
  • Reduced technical complexity (39%), and
  • Easier integration of new applications (34%)

But agencies don’t have to go it alone. Leading organizations rely on third-party multicloud management solutions to improve performance, simplify systems and reduce time to address security issues.

Upskill and Train Employees

An agency’s strategic use of cloud relies on internal skill sets that must scale along with the technology. If the teams implementing the modern technology and protocols aren’t adequately trained for the specific cloud environments, the organization is at risk of falling behind.

Forrester reports that only 33% of respondents say their agencies plan to hire new staff with multicloud skills. Most are opting instead to upskill their existing workforce. Agencies further along in their journey lean toward retraining existing employees with cloud skills to smooth the cloud-scaling process.

Leaders must provide the time and resources necessary without causing burnout while they upskill their teams. Agencies should consider rewarding individual employees for certifications completed or finding other ways to incentivize learning new skills. In addition, agencies will need to make time for on-the-job training, so employees don’t have to extend their workday.

Download the Forrester Consulting Study

To learn more about why multicloud is the new normal for government agencies — and how organizations are successfully making the transition — read the full study by Forrester Consulting: Multicloud Is the New Frontier Of Government IT: Where Agencies Are Today and the Roadmap To The Future.

Jens Koegler

Jens Koegler is VMware's Healthcare Industry Director in EMEA. He is helping our healthcare customers develop and run modern applications to drive innovation and ensure better patient care through a digital foundation that includes data center, hybrid cloud, mobile, networking and security technologies. VMware plays a strategic role in the healthcare industry. Its leading innovations in enterprise software help ensure consistent patient care and reduce IT access time for healthcare professionals so they can spend more time with their patients. Jens plays a key role in helping customers understand how new applications, devices, the latest IT technologies and digital transformation are driving innovation in healthcare.