Tag Archives: Federal Computer Week

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

Some good IT project news from America

By David Bicknell

It’s always good to be able to write about IT project success. So I’m following up on Steve Kelman’s report in Federal Computer Week in the US about an October 2011 GAO report called Critical Factors Underlying Successful Major Acquisitions, which details seven recent government IT systems acquisitions – costing from $35 million to $2 billion – that have met their targets in terms of schedule, cost, and performance.

Aside from its conclusions on the critical success factors, the report says this about Agile software development: 

“….the use of Agile software development was critical to the success of the program. Among other things, Agile enhanced the participation of the end users in the development process and provided for capabilities to be deployed in shorter periods of time.”

As Steve suggests, the report should get wider circulation to show us what we might learn from success instead of from failure.

We’d be interested in your views.