The challenges of shifting US Government IT into the Cloud

By David Bicknell

Good piece from Federal Computer Week (FCW) in the US about the challenges of shifting Government IT systems towards Cloud delivery.

Alan Joch’s piece, ‘Is government procurement ready for the Cloud?‘ points out that although cloud computing will offer speed and agility with agencies anble to take IT services up or down as necessary to quickly support new mission plans or workload changes, the reality – for now –  has yet to hit procurement practices.

As Joch says, “Many IT procurement practices and contracting vehicles were designed to help managers provision hardware and software, not on-demand services. Can the current acquisition practices translate easily to the dynamic world of cloud computing?”

Not really, says Barry Brown, executive director of the Enterprise Data Management and Engineering Division at Customs and Border Protection. He echoed a view shared by others in the federal government, and told FCW that for cloud computing, “The technology delivery model has changed. What has not changed is the procurement model.”

The US government has a Cloud-first policy which seeks to reduce costs and increase IT acquisition flexibility by pushing federal IT systems towards cloud environments. Each agency has until May to identify three IT resources that it will move to the Cloud.

But, reports FCW,  the move is straining traditional procurement departments. Rather than promoting speed and agility, in some cases Cloud initiatives are spawning extended contract negotiations and legal challenges that are making it take even longer for agencies to get the resources they need.

US Government Cloud First Policy

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