Cloud and Mobile: Opportunities Abound, but Patience is a Virtue
May 14, 2012 1 Comment
My last post addressed the federal government’s digital strategy, and its future investments in cloud and mobile computing, and I’d like to pick up where that post left off. Back in October of 2011, immixGroup delivered its annual budget briefing, identifying $20 billion within the government’s $80 billion IT budget as a potential target for cloud and mobile technologies. Despite the difficulties of confidently projecting future government spending in a defined area, it does appear as though federal agencies will be supporting more and more cloud investments in the future.
If you don’t see where these investments are through the haze of anxiety over budget cuts and sequestration, all you need do is look a little closer. When the government says it needs to reduce and cut back, they are not referring to eliminating cost effective technology. Rather, the focus is on waste and redundancy – and while many agencies are painfully slow to adapt to new technologies and resist change, OMB is attempting to force the acceptance of efficiency through technology. Federal CIO Steven VanRoekel noted earlier this week that agencies will be required to use the IT Shared Services Strategy to improve portfolio management, eliminate duplications of effort, and consolidate redundant systems. DOD agencies seem to be ahead of their Civilian counterparts in this arena (albeit out of necessity). Consider the Air Force’s AFNet – or Navy’s CANES, which are those services’ efforts at standardizing their infrastructure and unifying disparate networks. Seeing investments like these should open your eyes, and help you understand that the government actually is capable of “doing more with less.” Despite perceived fear in the market of shrinking budgets, you can all remember two things: (1) agencies will always need to accomplish their missions, and (2) IT products that help agencies consolidate and run more efficiently will always be needed.
Now back to mobile and cloud specific investments, VanRoekel stated earlier this year that, “to fundamentally change the way we do things in government, we need to seize on this mobile opportunity both in how we serve the public and in how government employees work,” and that within a year, he expects, “the government to change the way we work — to start embracing mobility-enabling technology across the federal workforce in a coordinated way, and to start working on plans to deliver mobile-accessible content and services to the American people.” This is great news for IT product manufacturers, as this shift to cloud and mobile solutions will require a slew of new technologies. For example, as the military moves toward a “bring your own device” model, the underlying security architecture will have to cut across multiple vendor and telecom providers. Not only will security vendors, but manufacturers of products related to data management, infrastructure, middleware, and application development will all find increased demand.
As a former sales person myself, I sympathize with those in the product community who are tired of hearing about strategy and just want to see quick wins. But I can say with confidence that now is the time to position yourselves for some major FY13 and FY14 investments, if your solution offers your customer cost savings, redundancy elimination, and increased efficiency.