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Despite acquisition challenges, agencies report push for cloud adoption
A growing number of federal agencies and offices are moving IT workloads to the cloud. However, a new survey shows that among the impediments to cloud adoption, acquisition issues play an important factor.
More than half (55 percent) of federal IT leaders surveyed said their agency’s ability to acquire cloud services is inadequate or only average; and 6 in 10 rated available contract vehicles “difficult to use” or only average at best.
Additionally, when asked about the helpfulness of GSA’s FedRAMP to speed cloud efforts, 1 in 3 IT executives found the program helpful in speeding cloud security authorizations.
Those and other findings are contained in a new “Federal Cloud Readiness Report,” which explores federal agencies’ progress in adopting cloud computing for a variety of enterprise workloads. The study, produced by FedScoop and sponsored by VMware, Intel and Carahsoft, was based on responses from 150 prequalified senior federal government IT decision makers at civilian agencies.
“While technical solutions are clearly available, IT leaders continue to express concern about the capability of their agencies to acquire cloud services using current contract vehicles. That suggests more must be done to update and streamline cloud acquisition practices,” said Wyatt Kash, senior vice president of content strategy for Scoop News Group.
Despite the impediments, 60 percent of those surveyed said most of their agency’s IT spending over the next three years will go toward a combination of cloud models — including government-only cloud services, public and commercial clouds or a hybrid approach. Only 4 in 10 believe their agency will invest most of their IT funding toward onsite, government-run data centers.
The findings suggest a shift in perspective by IT leaders who, until a year or two ago, saw security and complexity as serious obstacles to cloud adoption. While those concerns remain, fewer executives challenge the feasibility of cloud computing.
Indeed, a growing minority are already to make the leap, with one-fifth of respondents reporting that their agency is now ready to provision cloud services or operate cloud environments at scale for mission support applications.
Agencies are still moving up the learning curve in establishing virtual data centers, the study found. Only 1 in 3 IT executives say their agency has relatively high or advanced ability to provision a virtual data center. This capability is seen as a measure of agencies’ ability to systematically migrate applications to the cloud.
Cloud adoption practices, however, are occurring at different rates for different cloud-based applications and workloads, the study found.
For example, nearly a quarter of respondents’ agencies are also able to provision and operate enterprise business applications, as well as data analytics tools, in the cloud. And about one third say their agencies are at comparable stages in supporting public-facing websites and office productivity suites.
However, many agencies are still getting out of the starting blocks: Forty percent or more of IT leaders surveyed say their agencies are still assessing their readiness, or which cloud service providers to work with, for various workloads and applications.
Download the full report, “Federal Cloud Readiness Report,” for detailed findings of federal agencies readiness to move to the cloud and ability to meet cloud adoption challenges.
This article was produced by FedScoop and underwritten by VMware, Intel and Carahsoft. Please visit the Innovations Heroes website to learn about our federal IT modernization champions.