Mandated by the federal “cloud first” strategy, federal and state government is working to migrate more mission critical applications and processes to the cloud. However, talk to any of the major IT vendors and cloud services are defined differently by each. Meritalk is out with a new report that ranks cloud services programs and aims to provide a consumer guide for IT shops working through the migration.
The study, was underwritten by Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google, and provides 15 use cases from federal IT officers. With funding tight, cloud is paying off with big savings. For example, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) saved $11.5M in one-time replacement costs and the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board saved $854,800 in two years.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) harnessed cloud-based disaster recovery to geographically expand its resilience without paying for (and managing) its own infrastructure. Several agencies noted that they benefit from cloud’s flexible “pay-as-you-go” model, scaling service up or down based upon regular versus peak demand.
Beyond just compliance with Office of Management and Budget (OMB) mandates, agencies need to specifically outline their objectives for moving to the cloud in clear, specific, and measurable terms. Even though a budget bill is making its way through Congress, IT shops will still have to do more with less. That means realizing cost savings from a move to cloud – or at least achieving cost neutrality isn’t enough. Cloud programs will have to show measurable success metrics.
Given that, IT shops will have to plan for implementation challenges that resemble other procurement projects – instead of set and forget, they’ll have to launch and measure. Those moving to cloud now, can and should make a study of the first movers – achieving impactful but simple milestones. Report data shows that programs like email or documents management are often good first steps.
“The Cloud First agencies have cheaper, more flexible, and more resilient IT. Their leaders also have a better sense of how to manage cloud migrations – experience that will pay off down the road as they are able to take more expensive and critical applications to the cloud to deliver even greater benefits. Other Federal agencies will also benefit from the experience of the first adopters,” the report says.
“Cloud is not a concept, it’s an operational reality in Federal agencies,” said Steve O’Keeffe, founder of MeriTalk.