AWS Public Sector Blog

The City Startup: How to Begin Your Agency’s Cloud Adoption Journey

At AWS, we often refer to the migration from on-premises infrastructure to the AWS Cloud to a “journey.”  Many of our customers follow a common path to the cloud, leveraging a robust offering of tools, products, and AWS support services to make the migration as simple as possible for everyone involved. Cities like the City of Chicago, City of McKinney, and City of Asheville serve as great examples of how moving to the AWS Cloud can help meet the changing needs of citizens. But how did they get started?

Starting the Journey

In a recent post, we discussed the similarities between startups and small cities and how to take a startup approach to your city. Whether you need help defining your organization’s roadmap to cloud computing, transforming application development, or deploying mission-critical workloads at scale, AWS offers guidance throughout your journey.

And while every organization’s journey is unique, they all begin in the same place: determining understanding of and appetite for cloud. Some of the key questions we encourage organizations to ask include: Do you have limited knowledge of the cloud? Do you have security and compliance concerns? Do you need to develop an efficient migration strategy? Or do you need to focus on cost optimization?

Based on the knowledge and resources available, your agency will fall into one of four categories of organizational maturity:

  1. Project
  2. Foundation
  3. Migration
  4. Optimization

Drawing your Map

Once you know the stage you are in, you can move through the AWS Cloud Adoption Framework (CAF). The CAF acts like a roadmap for organizations migrating to the cloud. It provides organizations and agencies with structured help to develop an efficient and effective plan for their cloud adoption journey. The AWS CAF breaks down the complicated process of migration planning into manageable areas of focus.

Just like a startup, government agencies of all sizes use the CAF to determine their roadmap and start their journey toward cost savings and operational efficiencies.

After a roadmap is developed, AWS establishes governance models that leverage IT decision makers within the agency and then builds out a framework that adheres to the policies, principles, and guidelines that drive consistent IT decision making.

To learn more about how your city, county, or local government can realize the benefits of the cloud, visit