AWS Government, Education, & Nonprofits Blog

How the Cloud Spurs a Culture of Innovation within an Organization

As federal IT leaders recognize the major benefits of cloud computing, some worry that the efficiencies of the cloud will result in sacrificing the workforce that has powered IT for years. In reality, though, federal government technology employees can experience greater empowerment with new technology tools that allow them to focus on strategic, innovative, mission-critical work. By equipping staff with cloud computing capabilities and the confidence to take on new responsibilities, government agencies invite fresh ideas, a place to test them, and the potential to solve complex issues affecting the environment in which they operate.

Such was the case at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Before the agency took advantage of the cloud, the time between recognizing a mission need to deploying the actual capability was measured in years, and sometimes even decades. The cloud allowed USCIS to create a more efficient pipeline for deploying code for new features and services, one that allowed the agency to move at “the speed of thought” instead of waiting on lengthy procurement processes. Today, the agency has several code deployments that happen every day, and many others that take a few weeks as opposed to years.

Real-time communication and information sharing

AWS services and solutions are built on open standards and designed to enable virtually any use case, which encourages innovation and interoperability. Development, operations, and business units can work together and benefit from each other’s innovations, and the same holds true across agencies, spurring community-wide collaboration.

AWS services can easily be integrated with many common development environments. For example, the Amazon Elasticsearch Service is an open source search and analytics engine for big data use cases, such as log and click stream analysis. Amazon Elasticsearch manages the capacity, scaling, patching, and administration of Elasticsearch clusters for you, while giving you direct access to the Elasticsearch API. The service offers built-in integrations with Kibana, Logstash, and several AWS services. Integration with common integrated development environments (IDEs) means that it’s easy for developers to provision and manage cloud resources directly from tools they already use, rather than having to learn new interfaces.

We also want to give our customers a variety of choices beyond even our own offerings, which is why we offer a wide variety of non-AWS services and solutions through the AWS Marketplace.

A culture of innovation and experimentation

Experimentation and collaboration drives innovation, and the cloud makes this practice readily accessible. Organizations are encouraged to embrace ideation and testing – and even failure. With the agility and speed of the cloud, teams can quickly build, experiment, and launch new services.

As agencies move to the cloud and away from proprietary applications and servers, new opportunities emerge in the workplace. The shift to the cloud can fuel skill development, translating to more and better jobs. We work closely with our customers to provide technical trainings to empower employees with the skills necessary to design, deploy, and operate infrastructure and applications on the AWS Cloud.

The AWS Cloud provides an opportunity for governments to modernize aging infrastructures and improve operational productivity. The agencies taking advantage of this technology are leading the way on the government’s journey to IT modernization.