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Government Agencies Struggling to Meet Objectives of Cloud First Mandate
Procurement red tape and a lack of trained personnel continue to plague federal departments and agencies in their efforts to comply with the directives of President Obama’s Cloud First mandate.
The policy, issued by the federal government three years ago, requires all federal entities to utilize cloud-based services wherever possible to reduce costs, optimize capacity utilization, and enhance information technology and responsiveness. Although the United States General Services Administration has programs in place to help government units conform to the Cloud First mandate, staffing and purchase issues are slowing the process for many departments and agencies.
According to a recent study by Accenture on behalf of the Government Business Council entitled “The Road Ahead: 3 Years after Cloud First,” nearly 70 percent of governmental agencies find that hiring personnel with skill sets in cloud technology is the major obstacle to compliance. In addition, more than 30 percent of the 286 federal executives who responded to the survey report that the lengthy government procurement process also proves a major hindrance to conformity with the policy.
The Cloud First policy was designed to increase information technology efficiency in and amongst government agencies and departments. The General Services Administration (GSA) offers guidance about such cloud solutions as Email as a Service, or EaaS; cloud-based telecommunications service; and Infrastructure as a Service, or IaaS, which involves web hosting, virtual machine solutions, and cloud storage. In addition to federal agencies, the GSA allows local, state, and tribal governments to utilize its Cooperative Purchasing Program for cloud services.
Despite the availability of assistance, the General Accountability Office recently reported that just one of 20 cloud migration proposals submitted to its offices in 2012 has been achieved. Accenture notes that only a minute percentage of federal agencies have successfully migrated a majority of their technology functions to the cloud and only one-third of the respondents to the recent study are using cloud strategies at all.
By Glenn Blake