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.

However, parts of the report indicate some real areas of opportunity for industry to help their federal customers move the needle on cloud adoption. Specifically, three areas for cloud-conscious COTS vendors to keep in mind are:

  1. Legacy network infrastructure
    It’s not news that many mission-critical applications reside on old, outdated, and stove piped infrastructure. This can provide a barrier to cloud transition for those applications, since migration would often require a lengthy redesign process – and in many instances, the applications in question cannot (either for business or legislative reasons) allow the downtime associated. COTS vendors that sell data migration, application integration, and application lifecycle management tools should look for opportunities to assist in legacy application migration.
  2. Bandwidth
    Even in areas where application migration is possible, government end users are expressing new concerns about the capability of their infrastructure to handle the volume of data inherent to cloud implementation. This represents an obvious opportunity for COTS networking manufacturers to assist in the cloud transition.
  3. Post-acquisition support
    Several of the agencies surveyed, expressed a new concern: once cloud technology is purchased, there is very little precedent for managing the post-award process – and giving acquisition personnel the necessary training is time-consuming and expensive. This is an area where industry can really help their customers by providing innovative pricing and services structures. We often hear from government end users that they want industry to act as “trusted advisors,” and this is a great opportunity to assume that role.

If you want to learn more about the challenges and untapped opportunities in the federal cloud, join us at our Government IT Sales Summit on November 20th. immixGroup’s Market Intelligence team will break down the FY15 IT budget, identify key decision makers at major federal agencies, and discuss opportunities for the COTS IT industry in FY15. Also the “Clouds in the Forecast” session will specifically cover cloud products and services the government is likely to buy in the next 12 months, and how you can position your sales strategies to best advantage. View the full agenda here.

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