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AMC journeys through the Cloud

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. (AFNS) -- Air Mobility Command senior leaders gathered at the Scott Event Center at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, Jan. 8, 2018, for an experiential activity simulating key events of an organization’s cloud migration.

As AMC’s transition to cloud-based services advances toward completion this spring, an Amazon Web Services team facilitated the event, which was designed to help leaders prepare by focusing on non-technical issues and key decision points likely to develop during the first year of a cloud migration, and how their decisions may affect the overall success of the project.

“The purpose of this event was to bring together Airmen and leaders from across the AMC staff and take them through key decision points organizations will experience during the first two years of a cloud migration,” said Lt. Col. Ivan M. Herwick, AMC’s representative to U.S. Transportation Command’s Cloud Center of Excellence. “Using a case study as a baseline, participants discussed issues and milestones an organization would face, and how best to manage the enterprise migration.”

Herwick added there are many potential benefits with transition to a cloud-based service and events such as these help leaders realize them as the migration continues.

“It is beneficial to ensure the executive tier of the organization has an understanding that cloud migration is not just a technical exercise,” he said. “There are many organizational dynamics, budgets and how you process requirements. (Cloud migration) touches every part of the AMC enterprise.”

The event was also a chance for senior leaders to work together with an industry partner in learning different companies’ best practices and lessons learned during completed migrations. This event was geared toward aiding AMC leaders in building the best strategies for their organization, according to Elizabeth Boudreau, Amazon Web Service’s Cloud Executive Advisor.

“The reason why we use an industry case study when we come for these events is so that we are making people think beyond their day-to-day to what other organizations are doing for their best practices,” she added.

While the event didn’t focus on the technological aspects of the cloud, it did open up a dialogue between different functional areas, offering the opportunity for leaders to gain more diverse perspectives on the impact cloud migration may have on mission success.

“After attending this event, I now have a better understanding of how the change will be implemented and what are some of the issues that may crop up along the way,” said Ellery Wallwork, AMC historian. “Often we see such a change as the responsibility of a specific functional expert, but while that functional expert may be the lead for the physical change, each functional area will have to facilitate the cultural and functional change as it relates to the new environment.”

Wallwork added he feels that everyone who participated in the event, regardless of their functional area, is better prepared to implement the changes needed to ensure successful cloud migration.

“It’s easy to put blinders on and just see our own small piece of the mission,” he said. “AMC’s success depends on all of us, including industry partners, completing our parts. In addition to our industry partners being in a good position to assist our current mission success, they are also involved in many innovations, such as cloud technology, which can improve our efficiency and effectiveness.”

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