August 29, 2011 By Brian Heaton
Intrigued by the benefits of moving to the cloud, but uncertain on how to get there? Fear not. A new commission of industry experts on cloud adoption is putting together a guide for state and local governments on how to adopt and implement cloud solutions.
The Commission on the Leadership Opportunity in U.S. Deployment of the Cloud — State and Local Government (CLOUD2/SLG) Commission was launched on Monday, Aug. 29, to provide recommendations on a variety of cloud issues, including procurement practices, delivery of services and deployment.
Formed by the TechAmerica Foundation, a nonprofit organization focused on the education of industry executive and policymakers on technology innovation, the commission is accepting nominations for potential members. The foundation previously created a road map for federal agencies to adopt cloud computing.
“The pressures of a struggling economy, reduced budgets and the need for greater efficiency have led state, local and federal governments globally to promote cloud computing as a solution whenever possible,” said Tarkan Maner, president and CEO of Wyse Technology, who will head-up the CLOUD2/SLG Commission, in a statement. “For government agencies at all levels, cloud computing is a concept whose time has come.”
Carol Henton, vice president of state and local government for TechAmerica, said that the foundation is looking to name approximately 30 commissioners to join the leadership team of Maner; Dr. David Cohn, “Smarter Cloud” program director of IBM’s T.J. Watson Research Center; and Daniel Kent, public-sector CTO and director of solutions for Cisco.
The commissioners will be selected by Tech America Foundation’s board of directors.
The new commission will have its first in-person meeting on Nov. 5, in Denver in conjunction with the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) annual conference. Henton added that the guide and recommendations on cloud adoption should be wrapped up in December, but cautioned that the deadline are fluid and could be pushed into 2012.
“We don’t want to script this too heavy before we get under way; we want this to be industry driven,” she explained.
Henton said that although nominations to the commission would be accepted from any company, members of state and local governments — particularly those that may have already moved to the cloud — wouldn’t be on the commission itself. Instead, those government officials interested in taking part in the process could ask to serve on an advisory board.
She said Dugan Petty, CIO of Oregon and incoming chairman of NASCIO, has already agreed to be a part of the advisory board.
Why won’t government technology professionals be considered for the commission itself? Henton and Michael Kerr, senior director of state and local government for the TechAmerica Foundation, said they didn’t have an answer to the question. Kerr suggested it could have something to do with the original CLOUD2 Commission.
“I suppose it may have come from the federal side, as there are strong ethics laws between the White House and private industry, and certainly the Obama administration has been rigorous in enforcing those,” Kerr said.
Kerr and Henton were adamant, however, about the importance of governmental participation in the advisory board.
“We do see the public sector board of advisors being one way we can review our recommendations and get perspective from the states and localities without having them do a lot of the heavy lifting,” Kerr maintained. “A couple of reviews by this body would be helpful in steering the outcome.”
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