The move to the cloud is daunting for large organizations that must balance departmental and centralized control. Organizations attempting their cloud journey alone quickly discover that top- down migration strategies that work for some departments can be counterproductive for others. On the other hand, allowing each department to make their own move to the cloud means a lack of centralized control and visibility, along with limited support for small departments that do not have the resources to develop their own migration plan.

While this can feel impossible, complex cloud migrations do not have to be. A perfect example of this is how CDW helped the Department of Transportation (DOT) transition to the AWS Cloud.


The challenge

In 2018, the Department of Transportation (DOT) approached CDW for assistance with cloud migration. The DOT wanted a centralized cloud setup to support its entire organization — but the many agencies comprising the larger DOT umbrella organization were in diverse stages of cloud adoption. Smaller agencies within the DOT needed help getting set up in the cloud quickly, while some larger agencies had already migrated and were using their own cloud solutions. With fully operational, independent networks, these larger departments had no interest in another migration — or the desire to change a system that was already working for them. To solve this problem of moving a patchwork of departments, competencies, and apps over to one centralized solution, the CDW team developed a migration roadmap that worked for all stakeholders. 


The solution

CDW initiated a readiness assessment — a "portfolio discovery" report card that indicated how ready the DOT's system was for cloud migration. 

Without the right tools, a portfolio discovery is labor intensive. It requires searching through an organization's existing tools and systems looking for gaps, redundancies, and required patches. To simplify the process, CDW leveraged SkyMap, our versatile cloud migration planning software. 

SkyMap utilizes tool-based discovery, crawling an organization's network to identify gaps before creating a holistic report of current system capabilities. Using SkyMap, our team was able to efficiently identify redundant or defunct apps that the DOT could immediately eliminate to save money. SkyMap was also able to identify over- provisioned systems that could be sized-down. 

Though the SkyMap readiness assessment was an invaluable first step, human usage of applications is not always reflected in system data. So, our teams augmented the assessment with staff conversations about how and when tools are utilized. CDW's portfolio discovery process was able to save the DOT countless hours of time and research. Along with SkyMap's readiness assessment, our team's deep knowledge allowed them to serve as a guiding hand, bringing two or three top options to the table to solve specified pain points, rather than forcing DOT staff to sift through and differentiate between dozens of possible solutions.

Security underlies every part of CDW's services. For a government agency like the DOT, which requires earning an Authority to Operate and Authority to Test (ATO/ATT) before operating, security is not just important — it's essential. The DOT anticipated that proving ATO/ ATT compliance would be a huge part of their migration process. The CDW team sped up and simplified this process, providing 80% of the material the DOT needed to achieve their cloud infrastructure ATO - ahead of time.

The CDW team leveraged agile best practices throughout the training and migration process, ensuring effective and practical knowledge transfer. Part of upskilling staff was showcasing agile as a model and encouraging agile implementation across departments — particularly for future rollouts in the cloud.



With CDW's help, the DOT transformed from a decentralized patchwork of disparate departments
without internal transparency to an upskilled, security-compliant setup operating efficiently on the AWS Cloud. Some of the highlights of the migration success include:

  • The transformation took only six months - including a six- week government shutdown in the middle of the migration.
  • At the time of launch, the DOT had five active AWS accounts. A year later there are more than 60 open accounts, and that number is still growing.
  • With help from CDW, the DOT was able to not only migrate to the cloud but establish an efficient system for growth — for example, the organization can now generate new accounts in as little as 45 minutes, a process that formerly took months.

This partnership between CDW and the DOT is demonstrative of our capabilities not just for complex government projects, but for any large organization's migration to the AWS Cloud.

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