OMB Puts the Cloud First for 2012 Federal IT Budgeting

It’s one thing when technology leaders talk about the cloud. When the newly minted Chief Performance Officer for the federal government joins the conversation, you know the cloud is truly here to stay.

Jeffrey Zients, the deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) – and the above-mentioned federal Chief Performance Officer – recently described a “cloud-first” policy for the fiscal 2012 budget. Government IT managers will need to look first at distributed IP-based systems when selecting software applications, according to Zients.

“Government agencies too often rely on proprietary, custom IT solutions. We need to fundamentally shift this mindset from building custom systems to adopting lighter technologies and shared solutions,” Zients said. OMB will require that agencies default to cloud-based solutions whenever possible, he added.

For forward-thinking agencies, the strategy of moving to the cloud is already old news.

The Department of Education recently issued an Authority to Operate (ATO) certification  to Appian for the company’s Appian Anywhere process solution. Built on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) platform, this is the first cloud-based business process management solution to be granted an ATO by a federal agency.

Now that OMB is stressing a cloud-first policy for IT applications, the assurance of an ATO certification can greatly simplify the budgeting and planning process for agencies government-wide. That signals a bright future for the combination of cloud and BPM in helping to create a more efficient government.