Trade Group: Government Needs to Ramp Up Cloud Adoption


A recent Professional Services Council survey found only 8 percent of federal CIOs progressed as much as they wanted to with cloud-based technology.

Four years after the Office of Management and Budget issued its “cloud first” policy, the federal government is still lagging in cloud adoption, according to a trade group representing technology contractors.

A Professional Services Council survey recently found about 8 percent of federal chief information officers had progressed as far as they had wanted to in implementing cloud technology. This week, the group made several recommendations to federal technology buyers who want to expedite the transition to cloud.

One major stumbling block is that federal contracts are overly specific and limited in scope, “in a way that does not allow industry to offer the best solutions” on the market, PSC Executive Vice President David Wennergren told Nextgov.

Another is a tendency among federal buyers to fixate on a particular end goal for cloud projects, and then use the wrong metrics to measure their success, Wennergren said.

“If you’re going to buy an outcome, you need to have a way to measure whether you’re getting the outcome you desire . . [sometimes] they don’t recognize the difference between routine administrative [metrics] and mission critical stuff," he said.

The PSC recommendations also encourage federal buyers to employ an agile approach not only to software development but to major tech projects, Wennergren said, referring to a method of breaking large projects into smaller chunks or “sprints.”

Here are a few of PSC’s other suggestions:

  • Use a “phased migration” into the cloud, beginning with low-risk efforts and working up to higher-risk ones
  • Move to a “service-centric” from the “infrastructure-centric” approach -- instead of paying for separate application, storage and networking, the organization should consider “integrated offerings that can be accessed directly by the agency.”
  • Avoid “cloud sprawl,” a phenomenon in which different parts of the organization have their own cloud environments without any common strategy
  • Use a performance-based contract that has measurable outcomes
  • Sketch out broad roadmaps instead of poring over granular details that could change as the project evolves

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