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How Poor User Experience Impacts Cloud Value

We recently presented at FCW's virtual Department of Defense (DoD) Cloud Workshop to discuss the unique challenges and complexities in the DoD landscape, where hundreds of cloud initiatives are currently underway. The event included speakers from the DoD's Cloud Computing Program Office, DISA, USAF/A1, and the GSA.

cloudtamer.io's CEO, Brian Price, presented Accelerating Time to Value in Your Multi-Cloud Environment. Brian and our team of engineers and solutions architects have many years of experience helping teams accelerate value in the cloud. Paying attention to the user's experience in the cloud is one way we help organizations accelerate value.

Here are the cloud user experience challenges we discussed - many of which are applicable to both government and commercial organizations - and some tactics you can use to overcome these challenges.

People, Process, and Technology

In the DoD, teams are presented with multiple cloud providers (some of which are mandated) across multiple classification domains to build next-generation capabilities. This poses a unique challenge as you look to stitch together the user experience across these environments. User experience matters because people will be the main engine behind adoption and quick time to value. Our experience supporting teams across the Army, Navy, Air Force, and several combatant commands has reinforced the importance of a unified, seamless approach to access and use. This starts with easy provisioning and moves through autonomous use (with boundaries) until thorough deprovisioning.

One thing hasn't changed as organizations look to see value from technology investments: people, process, and technology are the keys to value. People and the user experience of accessing the cloud are key considerations. Until you’re able to achieve this model of the cloud, you leave cloud value – speed, agility, scale up/down – on the table.

We've consistently seen that a focus on the user experience of cloud access, use, and management is the key to achieving cloud value across today’s multi-cloud environment.

This is the reality for users of the DoD Cloud environment – teams are using multiple accounts or subscriptions (to manage workloads and reduce the ‘blast radius’) – and doing this across unclassified and classified regions. And the reality today is that many organizations are in more than one cloud.

graphic of access to cloud in unclassified and classified environments

Barriers to a Good Cloud User Experience

User experience is a key factor in cloud success. The following challenges get in the way of an optimized user experience in the cloud for many organizations:

  • Struggling to deliver high and low access. Many organizations have to provide access to and use different classification domains. This typically results in different request processes and different approval processes. So users wait to get cloud accounts or get access to accounts. And, once they do get access, they're often having to context switch between access methods to get work done.
  • Manually managing cloud complexity. Many teams use manual processes to control what users can/can’t do. This results in blocked productivity and innovation.
  • Losing sight and control of cloud budgets. At month end, your cloud service provider gives you a bill. Behind the scenes, many organizations have to track different types of funding (RDT&E vs. O&M). Public sector teams must track multiple contracts. Decisions on what to do as budgets are reached vary by project and funding source. Some cloud regions have more limitations to visualize spend and set budgets across different accounts/subscriptions. Government teams must comply with the Anti-Deficiency Act, which requires more real-time visibility and control for cloud spending.

How do you knock down these barriers so your users have a clear and streamlined path to the cloud?

Ensuring a Good User Experience in the Cloud

Here are some of the tactics we touched on in the webinar to overcome these challenges, ensure a good user experience, and accelerate value.

Provide seamless access to low and high side environments. One way to do this is by integrating ITSM solutions to automate cloud account provisioning after business user approval.  In addition, teams can add services that simulate high-side services so that development can be done in lower environments.

Automation to delegate with control. Use automation to implement boundaries and reduce the need for scaling your workforce with your environment. Think deputies, not sheriffs. Below is an example of how cloudtamer.io automates boundaries for our customers to ensure users operate within the proper region, budget parameters, and compliance regime. If a user action doesn't comply with these boundaries, the action is prohibited.

graphic of policy checks applied and access denied

Get real-time budget visibility and control. To get started on this tactic, implement a multi-account approach to achieve granular visibility and provide a boundary around cost that is unique to workload. With a multi-account approach as a foundation, you can then take advantage of cost management and enforcement solutions like cloudtamer.io.

Get More Tactics

We shared many more tactics to reduce user experience challenges in this webinar; check out the replay for the complete list. To see how cloudtamer.io supports an optimized user experience to drive value in the cloud, request a demo.


About the author: Marianna leads marketing at cloudtamer.io.