Artificial Intelligence (AI) and cloud modernization were the main topics of discussion at the Get Cloud Smart: The Art of the Possible event hosted by MeriTalk on December 13. Leaders in Federal IT and from IBM discussed the benefits of Cloud Smart and how government can modernize toward cloud data.

The benefits of migrating data to a cloud system and overcoming barriers were covered during the event. A Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official noted that the move to cloud would increase speed and agility, improve cybersecurity, leverage data, cost savings, and workforce transformation.  The move would also allow the department to align more efficiently with government mandates, including executive orders.

The manpower and general skillset of the professionals within the Federal IT field are still obstacles to this ambition. Officials from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the Department of State spoke about how different approaches, ideas and speeds for cloud use remain lingering concerns. A focus on the mission for the future of the department, and structured governance on multi-project operations should help curb the challenges, they said.

Officials from U.S. Customs and Border Protection found that it is best to adapt to cloud in stages, and not all right away. The idea aligns with the “cloud smart” approach as opposed to a “cloud first” approach, which implies putting as much data as possible in the cloud, immediately.

Rob Thomas, General Manager for IBM Analytics spoke at length about modernizing data and AI use for cloud data and that it requires a similar approach with implementing a structure to the modernization.

“There’s no AI without IA (information architecture),” he said. Developing a structure through proper collection of data, organization and infusion reduces inefficiencies and mistakes when implementing AI.

Government policy and culture will drive the change to more AI use in Federal agencies and Cloud Smart hopes to assist the change.

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.