Cloud migration increasingly important to federal agencies’ missions

Two-thirds of federal executives in a new survey say moving to cloud-based IT services will free up funds to reinvest in IT modernization, though obstacles remain.

Agencies rank “the ability to better deliver on mission” as a top priority for adopting cloud IT services, according to a new FedScoop study.

About half of federal civilian agency IT officials polled in the study also reported they are currently implementing mission support and business systems in the cloud, not just more basic applications that once characterized the governments earlier efforts to embrace cloud computing.

FedScoop study on moving mission IT services to cloud

Download the full report.

Cost savings ranked as the No. 1 motivation for cloud migration. Two-thirds of respondents believe adopting cloud-services would free up IT budget to reinvest in other areas, with more than estimating it could represent savings of 10-to-29 percent of their IT budgets.

Those savings would undoubtedly help fund agencies’ plans to modernize their IT. Six in 10 respondents in the study said their agencies have increased budgets for IT modernization in fiscal 2018, suggesting a shift may be underway to address urgent IT needs.

Among other top-ranking benefits associated with adopting cloud services:

  • 53 percent believe it would lead to greater security.
  • 53 percent also believe it would improve employee’s internal IT experience.
  • 46 percent see it leading to better insights into business outcomes.
  • 37 percent say it would lead to improved citizen end-user experience.

The online survey, conducted by FedScoop and underwritten by Salesforce, provides insights to what matters most for federal civilian agency IT leaders and mission, business or program managers at those agencies.

Some perceptions about the benefits of cloud computing varied, depending on where in the agency leaders sit. Mission, business and program managers, for instance, were significantly more inclined to see “fast modernization” and “scalability” as benefits of cloud adoption than their C-suite and IT and data management counterparts, suggesting those who rely on IT may be the strongest proponents for adopting cloud services.

Yet while cloud adoption is clearly on the rise at many federal agencies, more than 1 in 4 officials say their agency has yet to plan for more common cloud IT services such as email, office tools, IaaS or PaaS. The findings suggest gaps remain as agencies undertake IT modernization and shared services initiatives.

The study identified a variety of constraints officials say are serving as barriers to cloud adoption. Among their top operational concerns:

  • Employees lack the training or expertise necessary to move applications to the cloud.
  • Demands of maintaining legacy systems leave too few human resources to work on cloud adoption or migration projects.
  • Inadequate funding for IT transformation or new technology.

Additionally, there is a potential disconnect in cross-agency support for IT initiatives, the study found. Respondents who identified as mission, businesses or program management reported that they are less informed about their agency’s IT modernization budget than their IT counterparts.

Despite challenges to intra-agency collaboration, internal demands for modernization continue to drive agencies to the cloud.

Officials ranked faster modernization, reliability, automation of services and scalability across a large ecosystem among the top technical benefits of cloud-based services.

For more information, read the cloud modernization report, “Moving mission IT services to the cloud” for detailed findings and guidance on how agencies are implementing IT modernization and shared services. 

Learn more about Salesforce and trailblazers in government.

This article was produced by FedScoop and underwritten by Salesforce.

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