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Modernizing Federal IT: Has the Cloud Arrived at Last?

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Modernizing Federal IT: Has the Cloud Arrived at Last?

June 06, 2014
By Michelle Amodio
TMCnet Contributor

Consumers get it: The government just isn’t up to snuff when it comes to technology use. If agencies really want to help the citizens they serve, they need to get with the program.

It is expected that government agencies enter the modern era -- particularly in a tech-heavy age where people are always-on – always connected. Consumers are looking for technology to improve their experience, give feedback through technology channels, and reduce the number of times they have to call a respective agency.

Remember the government’s “cloud-first” policy?

“The GSA (News - Alert) is the first federal agency to make the Internet switch, and its decision follows the Office of Management and Budget’s declaration last month that the government is now operating under a ‘cloud-first’ policy, meaning agencies must give priority to Web-based applications and services.”

Cloud computing is slow to appear considering the size of the government IT, the long procurement cycles, and lack of cloud computing talent within both government IT and the current array of government contractors. The Obama administration has said that cloud computing will allow more people to share a common infrastructure, cutting technology and support costs.

All this is well and good, except we are only now seeing the fruits of this policy. In the beginning, there was a lot of resistance from certain federal IT teams. Now we’re seeing a shift, with plenty of federal cloud computing competition.

Even organizations like TechAmerica Foundation are getting on the cloud bandwagon. The organization just recently issued the Cloud Buyer’s Guide for the Federal Government, which is designed to assist departments and agencies with their transition to cloud-based service models, a strategic priority for federal government under its Cloud First initiative. 

The guide highlights industry best practices and case studies to provide guidance on successful implementation models and a clear path for adopting cloud services.

It was forecasted that federal agency spending on cloud computing will grow from $2.3 billion in fiscal 2013 to $6.1 billion by fiscal 2018. This forecast clearly raises the importance of what we’ve come to learn, that implementing cloud-based best practices requires an immense and continuous effort, but that change is good, as technology investments could improve service and help save money when it comes to the government. 

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