Federal Agencies Moving To The Cloud: Bellwether Report

Federal Agencies Moving To The Cloud: Bellwether Report

Federal Agencies moving to the Cloud: Bellwether report shares Feds’ progress and collective wisdom.

In December 2010, the U.S. Government’s Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra issued a 25 Point Implementation Plan to Reform Federal Information Technology Management, designed to streamline and modernize the Government’s use of IT, primarily by shifting three “must-move” services to the cloud within 18 months. Now, more than three years later, a comprehensive report has been released by the Government IT Analysis organization MeriTalk which reviews the progress being made by the agencies who were able to comply with the mandate.

Report chart

The report entitled Cloud First Consumer Guide, provides valuable insight from 15 federal agency IT heads, each of whom has had to analyze various cloud deployment approaches, work with a variety of cloud service providers, and assess the pros, cons, costs and benefits of large-scale migration to the cloud, on behalf of the American taxpayer.

The report contains some highly valuable insights, both positive and negative, but with an overall conclusion from all agency heads that moving to the cloud makes sense.

Some of the problems highlighted in the report focus on “soured relationships” with vendors as well as ever-present cash flow and budgeting challenges, which were exacerbated by sequestration and government agency shutdowns, both threatened and real.

Skepticism and Discovery

Skepticism as to actual cost savings was a recurrent theme among many agencies at the start of the project, but many clear examples of tangible improvements were later recorded, whether the migration focused solely on email management, as was the case with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), or more complex Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) migration, as performed by the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board (RATB). Agency heads were able to identify benefits in both cost savings and cost avoidance.

The agencies discovered that cloud migration was not merely a cost-saving opportunity, but that there was significant opportunity for innovation, both in terms of deployment as well as the economics of maintenance. As MeriTalk puts it, “cloud delivered cost savings plus a new level of agility in meeting mission demands,” specifically in areas such as reliability, accountability, mission focus and flexibility. Interesting developments in this area included NASA, who opted for cloud-based disaster recovery options to “geographically expand its resilience without paying for independent infrastructure,” and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which saw a benefit in using a “pay-as-you-go model” in place of a more traditional investment-return scheme.

Making things meaningfully simple.

One of the greatest learning opportunities from the Cloud First report comes from the agencies’ approach to implementation and vendor selection. As the report states, “most Federal decision makers aren’t looking for complex – they are looking for meaningfully simple.” From this MeriTalk was able to categorize Cloud First offerings into five groups: Cloud Company, Cloud Offering, Cloud Broker, Specialty Vendors, and Systems Integrators.

Ultimately, the report delivers some sound takeaways for companies of any size considering a similar migration to the cloud, as delivered by those agencies who have already taken the plunge. Firstly, you must define your objectives beyond simple compliance with a mandate. Secondly, do the math – plan and budget thoroughly. Third, perform a reality check on your business case and your project plan. Fourth, take a more hands-on approach to managing suppliers and procurers. And fifth, expect challenges along the way.

Steve-o'keeffe

Steve O’Keeffe, founder of MeriTalk, hails the results of the plan to date as a great step forward in both the sharing of collective wisdom and the realization of significant cost savings for the many branches of the US Government. “The Government has 777 supply chains,” he says, “and cloud provides an opportunity to break up some of the silos and their inefficiencies.” He points to the fact that $80 billion is spent annually on federal IT infrastructure, with 70% of this spent just to maintain legacy systems. A move to SaaS offers an opportunity to streamline processes significantly.

Similarly, the prospect of increased transparency in the knowledge-sharing sphere is starting to become more appealing to the country’s various agencies. “None of us is as smart as all of us,” O’Keeffe states, “and mutual access to information, suppliers and best practices allows the various agencies to make better use of every tax dollar.”

Ultimately, as O’Keeffe points out, the US Government represents the largest customer in the world for almost every product and service imaginable. The report concludes that migration to the cloud is a worthwhile endeavor for Government organizations. The challenges encountered during the migration are matched and exceeded by the gains achieved, and ultimately, the trail blazed by the agencies who participated in this undertaking may actually help streamline the process for organizations that choose to follow, in both public and private sectors around the world.

By Steve Prentice

CONTACT CLOUDTWEAKS

 

Steve Prentice

Steve Prentice has dedicated his career and energies to pinpointing the perfect juncture of productivity between humans and technology in the workplace.

Steve is an acclaimed author and professional speaker who delivers timely, relevant, entertaining and informative keynotes dealing with technology, people and productivity in the workplace. As a mentor, he works with executives in one-on-one discussions, delivering answers and guidance to issues dealing with technology, personal time management and other practical skills. In addition, Steve is also a technology writer and consultant for CloudTweaks Media.

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.

Join Our Newsletter

Receive updates each week on news, tips, events, comics and much more...

Can I Contribute To CloudTweaks?

Yes, much of our focus in 2015 will be on working with other influencers in a collaborative manner. If you're a technology influencer looking to collaborate with CloudTweaks – a globally recognized leader in cloud computing information – drop us an email with “tech influencer” in the subject line.

What is the 12/12 Program?

This program is designed to better handle the thousands of requests we receive from people looking to submit articles. The 12/12 program is the commitment of 12 articles delivered over a 12-month period.  

Wait! What if I just want to submit one article?

Our popular pay as you go sponsorship program provides the flexibility to submit as you wish and is designed for all budgets.

Contributors

Cloud Infographic – Wearable Tech And Preventative Healthcare

Cloud Infographic – Wearable Tech And Preventative Healthcare

Wearable Tech And Preventative Healthcare There are so many exciting new opportunities available to utilize wearable technology in the future.  Areas such as nanotechnology disease monitoring, crowdfunding to wearable accessories are some excellent examples of the potential. Estimates vary, but appear to suggest that the market will produce between $14-50 Billion over the next few years. Included below

Ten Tips For Successful Business Intelligence Implementation

Ten Tips For Successful Business Intelligence Implementation

Ten Tips for Successful Business Intelligence Implementation The cost of Business Intelligence (BI) software goes far beyond the purchase price. Time spent researching, implementing, and maintaining your BI investment can snowball quickly and mistakes are often expensive. Your time is valuable – save it by learning from other businesses’ experiences. We’ve compiled the top ten

Knots And Cloud Service Providers

Knots And Cloud Service Providers

How Do These Two Compare? In Boy Scouts, I learned how to tie knots. The quickest knot you can tie is the slipknot. It’s very effective for connecting one thing to another via the rope you have. It was used in setting up tents, mooring boats to docks temporarily and lifting your food up into

Big Data

To Have and Have Not: Big Data Initiatives In Developing Countries

To Have and Have Not: Big Data Initiatives In Developing Countries

Big Data Initiatives In Developing Countries The poor of the developing countries are becoming increasingly connected, to the point where they too are part of the Big Data revolution that’s happening across the globe. It didn’t come with laptops, though, as some supposed it would. Whereas it costs a fortune to connect broadband to a

Big Data In Your Garden: Initiatives For Better Understanding Nature

Big Data In Your Garden: Initiatives For Better Understanding Nature

Big Data in Your Garden Big Data and IoT initiatives are springing up all across the globe, making cities, protesters–and just about everything else–smarter. However, thus far there’s been little attention paid to the interactions between these bizarre technologies and living things other than humans. Biology, that is, human biology is one field where Big

Who Holds the Key to the City: Big Data and City Management

Who Holds the Key to the City: Big Data and City Management

Big Data and City Management Cities like New York, Madrid, and especially Rio de Janeiro are augmented with Big Data-powered initiatives that range from combating crime with predictive analytics (New York & Madrid) to providing real-time data for improved management. Although Big Data is no panacea and is mainly used in conjunction with a greater

Internet of Things

Where’s the Capital of the Internet of Things?

Where’s the Capital of the Internet of Things?

Where’s the Capital? We all know the capitals of fashion are London, New York and Paris, while the capital of film is Hollywood (or Bollywood!) – but what’s the new capital of the internet? Specifically, the internet of things? The answer – according to new research by Ozy – might surprise you. It’s not Tokyo, Seoul,

Smart Cities – How Big Data Is Changing The Power Grid

Smart Cities – How Big Data Is Changing The Power Grid

Smart Cities And Big Data As Anthony Townsend argues in his SMART CITIES, even though the communications industry has changed beyond recognition since its inception, the way we consume power has remained stubbornly anachronistic. The rules of physics are, of course, partially to blame, for making grid networks harder to decentralize, as opposed to communication

Aggregated News

Popular News Sources

Why Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella Loves What Steve Ballmer Once Despised

Why Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella Loves What Steve Ballmer Once Despised

“I don’t want to fight old battles,” says Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. “I want to fight new ones.” It’s Sunday evening, and Nadella is sitting in a glass-enclosed room at the back of a Japanese restaurant in San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood, eating sushi with a few reporters. The post Why Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella Loves

Apple sales soar after record-breaking iPhone 6 and 6 Plus launch

Apple sales soar after record-breaking iPhone 6 and 6 Plus launch

The US tech giant reported a 16 per cent jump in iPhone sales between July and September, and the strongest growth in Mac computer shipments in years. Read the source article at dailymail.co.uk About Latest Posts Steve PrenticeSteve Prentice has dedicated his career and energies to pinpointing the perfect juncture of productivity between humans and

Q&A: Intel’s Take on Chinese Startups, Innovation

Q&A: Intel’s Take on Chinese Startups, Innovation

Intel’s venture-capital arm on Tuesday said it would be investing $28 million in five Chinese startups that work on new technologies ranging from wearable devices to iris detection. It is Intel Capital’s first infusion from a $100 million China fund launched in April … Read the source article at WSJ Blogs About Latest Posts Steve PrenticeSteve Prentice has dedicated his career