Should there be worldwide standards for cloud? SpringCM weighs in

We bring you more this week about SpringCM.

Fed Cloud Blog talked with Roger Bottum, vice president of marketing, and Steve Maier, vice president and general manager of the government solutions division at the company.

We asked whether or not there should be procurement and acquisition reform, or whether it is just a matter of a change in mindset.

Steve Maier:

I don’t think there’s any change in the laws that need to be made. I just think they need to sit down and spend some time getting their heads around how to do this.

It’s complicated by the industry.

The industry is not clear on their definition of cloud. There are different issues depending on what you’re trying to do . . . and organizations that sell packaged software are positioning themselves as a cloud solution. So, the industry itself is jumping on this in a way that — maybe they’re not being as straightforward and honest about what cloud is and what the government is actually getting.

The other side of it is the security requirements that the government imposes are not clear back to industry.

So, it’s not a change in the legal, process side of procurement. It’s a change in mindset. It’s shifting from buying packaged software, like buying an asset, to buying services, like telco.

It’s being clearer about what the business needs are in finding the right and best packaged solution — or services, if it’s cloud services they’re looking for — that fits their need.

FCB asked, should there be worldwide standards for cloud?

Steve Maier:

To a certain degree, yes. This is uniquely my opinion.

The government, for years, has been a key driver in service oriented architecture.

I actually believe that the Internet is basically the ultimate service oriented architecture. The reason is, is that all the services available out on the Internet can be wired together to provide a whole solution for our organization, which is really what the government’s been trying to do internally with all of their internally purchased systems, software, etc.

When you look at it from that perspective, yes, there is a need for broader standards and, whether you look at them nationally or globally, they do need to apply.

The challenge here is, the industry is nowhere near mature enough to be able to go jump on that and try and solve that problem.

Roger Bottum:

The challenge has been that things like defining service levels, availability standards, security standards.

The dialogue I’m familiar with has to do with . . . less the semantic of — what does cloud mean — and more a set of criteria by which customers of cloud applications and providers of clouds can speak in a common vernacular about the capabilities and possibly a hierarchy or a set of approaches that means something to both sides.

Right now, you have organizations, like ourselves and some of the other cloud players — Salesforce and others — where they’ve taken approaches on their own to communicate to customers things like service levels.

Those approaches are based on our internal best practices and us serving our customers. There isn’t a single, common standard for those kinds of things.

I think, whether it’s government or business, that there definitely will be an evolution of some sets of standards to help people better understand what it is and the basic capabilities of the kinds of cloud applications or cloud services that they’re buying.

I think also . . . if you look at the analogue in the corporate world, up until very recently — and still today — but the early consumer of cloud services in the corporate world were actually line of business people, not IT.

It’s really been in the last 12 to 18 months that CIO’s have really taken an ownership of and included a portfolio view of all manner of cloud services throughout their core IT strategy.

What that means, in part, is that the business buyers have a different set of expectations about what it’s like to acquire these services that is different than the traditional IT approach to buying hardware and software.

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