Federal Cloud in FY15: Old Roadblocks, 3 New Opportunities

Photo of Chris Wiedemannby Chris Wiedemann, Senior Analyst

The Government Accountability Office Here is A Snapshot of Cloud in FY15(GAO) recently released a report tracking the progress of seven agencies’ in achieving their cloud computing implementation goals; unfortunately parts of it made for quite a nostalgic reading. The report profiled seven agencies – including HHS, Treasury, and USDA – and noted while each of these agencies increased their cloud spending between FY12 and FY14, the grand total of agency-reported cloud investments was only $529 million (averaging 2% of evaluated IT budgets). In other words, despite the 25 Point Plan instituting a Cloud First policy in 2011, federal agencies appear to have made very little progress in meeting their cloud goals; some reasons cited for slow adoption sound awfully familiar as well – with security concerns and cultural resistance to cloud computing coming up yet again.

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FY15 Defense IT Budget Forecast: Cloudy with No Chance of Sequestration

Lloyd McCoy_65x85by Lloyd McCoy Jr., Consultant

The FY15 base DOD budget request came in at $495.6 billion, (about even with FY14) but more importantly, it’s under OMB’s budgetary caps, meaning sequestration isn’t in the cards for this year. Diving into the DOD IT budget, we see a 6% drop from FY14 to about $36.4 billion; fortunately, much of this decline has to do with a shrinking workforce and cost-savings generated by earlier IT investments.

Soldier with Flag Draped in BackgroundYes the budget is down 6% from last year, but before you go running for the hills, it’s important to remember the following: while the IT budget is reduced from FY14, agencies that purchased software are continuing to purchase software— and with no sequestration and government shutdown in sight, we’re positioned to see a better FY15 than we did FY13.

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How to Sell Your Products to the Army in FY15

Stephanie Headshot 65x85by Stephanie Meloni, Senior Analyst

Despite declining budgets, the Army remains one of the largest IT organizations in the world, and it still has the largest IT budget of all the services. Army’s FY15 budget request represents about a 10 percent reduction in funding US Army Logofrom FY14 enacted levels. Many of the IT initiatives the Army is implementing to modernize their systems and networks deal with consolidation, simplification, and standardization – and this accounts for some of the reduced funding levels, since there aren’t as many costly legacy systems to maintain. So, for the COTS community, this reduction in funding isn’t all bad news, especially if your products can help the government operate more efficiently. In FY15, many of the IT modernization efforts will focus on making systems interoperable as well.

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Continuing Resolution On The Horizon for FY15

Christopher Wiedemann_headshot-65 x 85by Chris Wiedemann, Senior Analyst

FY14 is quickly coming to a close, and vendors and customers are both scrambling to get the ball rolling on September deals. With all that’s slated to happen in the next few months, and some industry analysts predicting a record-setting Q4 this year, it can be tempting to write off FY15 until October in favor of focusing all your attention on last-minute FY14 sales opportunities. However, it’s always important to keep the big picture in mind. If you don’t spare some thought for the beginning of next fiscal year, especially what the overall appropriations situation looks like, you run the risk of getting left out – or at least failing to properly plan for the first half of the year, when you should be targeting enterprise sales opportunities.

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DRAS 2 Offers More COTS Sales Opportunities

Rick Antonucci_65x85By Rick Antonucci, Analyst

The Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) is soliciting a replacement to its outdated Defense Retiree Annuitant Service (DRAS) program. This will offer opportunities for COTS vendors to sell into DFAS.

PSBA - DFASSealDRAS is responsible for maintaining military pay account for the military’s retirees as well as former spouses and
survivor beneficiaries, but is in dire need of replacement. The Performance Work Statement states “DRAS is built on
antiquated mainframe technology dating back to 1980 that has exceeded the end of its planned lifecycle. The system is highly complex and many of the pay calculations and computations are difficult to understand and implement. DRAS consists of 2.3 million lines of custom COBOL code, 40 internal interfaces between subcomponents for data file transfers and over 220 external interfaces…”

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Government & Industry Talk Cyber, Mobility & Big Data

Lloyd McCoy_65x85by Lloyd McCoy Jr., Consultant

Yesterday industry and government met during the Security Through Innovation Summit in Washington D.C. This forum brought together several hundred government and industry technology leaders to discuss technology verticals such as big data, virtualization, and cybersecurity. In addition to keynote speeches, breakout sessions allowed for a more intimate discussion of various technology developments. The FY 2015 budget was recently published and so the timing of this venue could not have been better. It proved valuable for fostering interaction with top federal C-level executives to gain insights into their priorities for the remainder of this fiscal year and the next.

Here are the top five things you should know.
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3 Big Opportunities in the FY15 Budget

Stephanie Headshot 65x85by Stephanie Meloni, Senior Analyst

With the unveiling of FY15 Budget requests this week, the news has been inundated with ominous (though not surprising) stories surrounding further reductions of forces within the DOD, terminations of modernization programs/acquisitions, retirement of aircraft, etc. The overall message is that DOD has been forced to stretch their resources in an increasingly complex threat environment.

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