Why Federal Government is Still Behind the Cloud Curve

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2015-03-02 Print this article Print

Most federal goals won't be reached this year

In updating and migrating software services to the cloud, only 19 percent of federal agencies have actually done it or are in the process of doing it. The goal: 41 percent. Forget that one, too, for this year.

In platform services, 27 percent of federal agencies have migrated or are in the process of migrating now. That goal: 49 percent by end of year. Not a chance.

Federal IT administrators are not yet comfortable turning IT services and applications over to cloud providers. The survey indicated that 11 percent are "very uncomfortable"; 33 percent are "uncomfortable"; 24 percent are neutral; and 10 percent are very comfortable.

Why is this?  Since Amazon Web Services launched its cloud storage in 2006, it may have taken a few years, but cloud storage, platforms-as-a-service and other functions are now in common usage at all sizes of enterprises and in numerous military, scientific and educational organizations. What's the hesitancy with the federal government?

"In years following the recession, government really had to rethink how to serve citizens and do more with less in the face of shrinking budgets and reduced staff," Maury Blackman, CEO of Accela, which builds civic engagement platforms for government agencies, told eWEEK. "While they began to adopt mobile and workflow technology, they were slow to embrace the cloud.

"In the last two years, as the private sector has really embraced cloud technology, the public sector has taken notice. By moving government services to the cloud, the playing field is leveled and now we're seeing agencies of all sizes, from large cities and counties to small towns, shifting to a cloud approach. It is a great way to reduce capital expenditures, keep staffing levels consistent and implement quickly. And as they choose to add more services, we can help them scale."

Other metrics from survey

Here are some other metrics from the MeriTalk/NetApp survey:

--71 percent of IT administrators say access of data stewardship is managed by the agencies themselves; 29 percent of data stewardship is managed by cloud vendors.

--56 percent of federal IT admins say their agencies are currently in the process of implementing data stewardship or a more formal data governance program for their cloud services and vendors.

--Less than half of IT pros (44 percent) believe their agency has "mature" data governance practices in the cloud.

--Federal IT admins are missing key elements in their data governance policies: 61 percent do not have quality, documented metadata; 52 percent do not have well-understood data integration processes; 50 percent have not defined/ identified data owners; 49 percent do not have known systems of record.

That last one is astounding. What is a federal agency if not a system of record for the public to utilize?

A couple of other points that indicate that once they get past the initial fear of change and actually get into the integration project, IT admins believe efficiencies will come to the fore:

--84 percent of federal IT admins who are comfortable moving IT services to the cloud say doing so makes data management easier.

--62 percent of federal IT admins who use a cloud brokerage service are significantly more comfortable moving their agency's IT services and apps to cloud providers than those who do not.

You can download the entire "The Data Fabric Strategy" PDF infographic here (registration required).

Chris Preimesberger

Chris Preimesberger is Editor of Features & Analysis at eWEEK. Twitter: @editingwhiz
Join us for our next eWEEKChat March 11: "Cloud Services: Who Runs Them -- Business or IT?"


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