Federal IT Landscape Part I – Cloud Computing

It has been two and a half years since the White House introduced its Federal Cloud First policy, which is intended to dramatically reduce the cost of Federal IT, while also helping agencies utilize technology more efficiently.

Several private sector studies show that the Cloud first policy was successful in migrating some government services to the cloud. According to a survey conducted by Meritalk, 82% of Federal and 77% of State and Local Government IT professionals stated that their agency has implemented some form of cloud virtualization. According to the survey, this has already led to $15 billion in savings across the government. As more agencies move towards cloud technology, the savings are projected to increase to 23.6 billion by 2015.

The Cloud First policy mandated the migration of at least three services per agency to the cloud, but the movement towards cloud should not stop there. There are even more savings to come from adopting cloud technology. Approaching cloud migration from a business process management perspective with Appian Cloud provides a secure and effective route for accelerating Federal cloud adoption.

According to a TechAmerica survey of Federal CIOs in May, an average of 76% of IT spending still goes into infrastructure, operations and maintenance (O&M) alone. Given that the overall federal IT budget is nearly $80 Billion, that is a huge amount just to “keep the lights on.” Cloud changes this model – freeing up budget for innovations in how agencies do their work and deliver services to US citizens.

So why is the transformation taking so long? The answer is simple: budget. Across the board, budget constraints are inhibiting cloud adoption. According to the Meritalk survey, only 48% of Federal IT executives believe they have the funding to meet their cloud goals.

However, the faster the moves towards cloud technology, the quicker the savings are realized. A study done by Booz Allen found that “because of the cost of parallel IT operations…the shorter the server migration schedule, the greater the economic benefits.” Business Process Management (BPM) in the cloud can help by rapidly deploying mid-level agency processes to the cloud within 4-6 weeks, and core processes in about 6 months. By utilizing BPM, agencies will be able to quickly and easily tap into huge savings from cloud adoption.

A number of federal agencies have already implemented the FISMA-accredited Appian Cloud BPM Suite, reducing time to deployment by 60% over on-premise installations, and enjoying millions in cost savings in the first year of use. Learn how the US Department of Treasury, Department of Education, the General Services Administration, the Library of Congress, and other government agencies are meeting the Cloud First mandate with Appian.

Ben Farrell

Director of Corporate Communications