Cloud Service Adoption in the Aerospace and Defense Industry
Rapid developments in the maturity, reliability and regulatory compliance of cloud services and related technologies have made adoption of this new computing and service delivery model integral to financial services, health care and media and telecommunications. However, the Aerospace and Defense (A&D) industry has only recently begun to benefit from these services and technologies.
Industry-specific security and citizenship requirements for A&D companies have made some aspects of cloud services difficult or impossible to adopt. To address these challenges, major cloud service providers have developed new approaches that meet the security and regulatory compliance requirements of the A&D industry. Yet, unfamiliarity with the capabilities and value of cloud services, as well as the limited solutions offered for highly secured and regulated technology environments, still hinder adoption.
A&D companies may realize significant untapped value once they integrate cloud services and related technologies into their overall information technology (IT) service delivery model. This article provides a primer on cloud services, as well as a framework that Chief Information Officers (CIOs) of A&D companies can use to start their cloud adoption journey.
What are Cloud Services, and What Benefits Do They Provide?
Benefits of cloud services:
►They are consumed like a utility and, therefore, do not require building or maintaining dedicated computing infrastructure and software
►Self-service portals allow users (instead of the IT department) to provision cloud services resources on-demand, thereby reducing IT costs
►Environments that support cloud services may be scaled up and down, elastically, to meet variable demand
►Cost is based on usage and thus, cloud services require less dedicated capital spend
There are four different categories of cloud services (see Exhibit 1 for a brief overview of each):
1. Software-as-a-service (SaaS)
2. Platform-as-a-service (PaaS)
3. Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS)
4. Business process-as-a-service (BPaaS) IaaS has started to gain traction within the A&D industry.
Additionally, many solution providers now make their services available as SaaS. However, when it comes to identifying ways to benefit from adopting these new paradigms, many A&D companies are only scratching the surface.
“The stage is now set for A&D companies to save costs, increase flexibility and focus on their core businesses by moving to cloud based solutions”
Exhibit 1.Cloud service categories
Cloud services may be delivered to an enterprise using three different delivery models (see Exhibit 2 for an overview of each):
1. Public cloud
2. Private cloud
3. Hybrid cloud
Some A&D companies have made modest investments in developing and deploying private cloud delivery models for services; however, more applications may be transitioned to such models. The public cloud delivery model is in the emerging phase of technology adoption with models such as AWS GovCloud showing promise in delivering infrastructure services at a reduced cost, while providing more agility.
Exhibit 2. Cloud service delivery models
What Value Can Leveraging Cloud Services Achieve?
The A&D industry may gain benefits similar to those achieved in other industries, including:
• Reduced overall infrastructure and licensing costs
• Increased agility and reduced time to market due to improved development, deployment and provisioning of processes, tools, and practices
• Ability to focus on the core business, as opposed to managing IT resources
So How a Company Should Get Started?
Based on early cloud services, implementations in A&D and Other industries, thoughtful planning and a long-term vision are the keys to success. The following structured approach should be adopted in order to develop and execute an effective long-term cloud services strategy:
1. Evaluate the current-state operating model and IT processes for transformation maturity
2. Understand the current costs (i.e., fixed, variable, operating, etc.) of service delivery
3. Determine a core set of requirements that selected cloud services must provide (e.g., functional, nonfunctional, regulatory, industry-specific, support, and maintenance)
4. Scan the market for cloud services vendors that meet industry-specific requirements
5. Define a three-to-five-year cloud adoption strategy and target-state blueprint
6. Analyze gaps in the current state and build a roadmap for remediation that supports accomplishing the target state
CIOs May Want Cloud Services to be Part of Every A&D Target-State Service Delivery Model.
Cloud services providers have addressed the security and regulatory compliance challenges specific to the A&D industry. The stage is now set for A&D companies to save costs, increase flexibility and focus on their core businesses by moving to cloud based solutions. The first step for an A&D company considering deployment of this new service delivery model is to conduct an assessment of its current operating model and develop a long-term cloud services strategy. Early adopters of cloud services in other industries have seen real value, and the A&D industry should follow their lead and speed up the implementation of cloud services to realize similar benefits.