Defense in the cloud: Embracing technology for a competitive edge

Broken umbrella in storm

The UK Defense sector is poised for a significant shift towards cloud services in 2023, aimed at unlocking the potential of data and attracting top talent to drive the initiative.

Over the past few years, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) has made great strides in cloud adoption through its MODCloud program, resulting in cost savings and improved data accessibility and security. However, the true value lies in the 24/7 cloud services on offer. The recently published Cloud Strategic Roadmap for Defense sets out the ambition.

In our latest Defense Trends paper, we explore how Defense is adopting these technologies and its potential impact. Below is a brief overview of our findings.

Unleash the Potential of Your Data

To tap into the full potential of data, it's crucial to surface, contextualize, and enrich it using data APIs and innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning. In this way, the information is presented in a manner that guides decision-makers towards their desired outcomes with automation and speed. As a result, commanders and business leaders receive timely, actionable insights to make informed decisions.

We recently collaborated with the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to smoothly migrate over 40 applications and systems from legacy storage to MODCloud, backed by a bespoke service package and an outcomes-based contract.

Our team of experts, working in tandem with service personnel, civil servants, and other suppliers, delivered the project to a high standard and on schedule, with a strong focus on meeting the MoD's desired outcomes. As we continue to support the MoD's digital transformation journey with more and more projects, the future is full of exciting possibilities.

Cloud adoption is a powerful driver of faster, more focused business outcomes. By leveraging the services on offer, organizations can gain a competitive edge. The ability to rapidly scale up or down to meet changing demands and only pay for what is used makes cloud environments a wise investment. Furthermore, the option to quickly expand capabilities during peak demand, near-zero downtime thanks to multiple data centers, and improved value, reduced risk, and interoperability across the business are benefits that make it worth pursuing.

Data: Let's go large

Data fusion is a key theme in 2023, and data is already championed as a strategic asset. The MoD is heading towards excellence in data management as the organization sets the levers to create a best-in-class data capability. The Data Strategy for Defence provides a flavor of where this is going. While I have outlined some of the ways cloud adoption can help realize some of this data ambition, the strategy eloquently describes much more.

People, then technology: Get your digital skills here

Digital skills are in high demand. In Defense, there will continue to be the need for a mix of digital talent -- civil servants, uniformed service people and suppliers. Landing an optimal mix takes culture setting and being proactive about an inclusive and psychologically safe workplace. It’s about getting the right blend of people. Leaders who do this effectively and drive the culture will land the best digital deliveries.

With the ever-growing shift towards cloud services, it’s imperative to have a poly-skilled team of technically talented people who are well balanced with the right experience. The need for talented resources, who are on hand to resolve whatever issues might arise is an imperative.  Likewise, Defense organizations need technology and skills that are innovative, agile and put the businesses objectives first. Defense organizations also need secure access to data "anytime, anyplace, anywhere" across sea, land, air, space and cyber platforms, as well as Defense headquarters and bases, and of course for staff working from their home office. And they must be conscious of the increasing and ever-present cyber threat from adversaries large and small.

Setting these data levers, making the right technology choices and resourcing the teams to deliver are the key components of transformation in Defense in 2023. My optic is this -- the business need is the driver, technology is the enabler, and people and culture are the conductors.

Mike Neville is Manager (Defence) at Netcompany.

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