The overwhelming majority of Federal agencies agree that the future of cloud is multi-cloud, yet they also agree that multi-cloud will prove to be one of their top challenges going forward, according to new research from MeriTalk.

In a survey of 100 Federal IT decision-makers, MeriTalk found that 92 percent say multi-cloud environments will be the foundation of modern government IT. It won’t be easy getting there, though. Four out of five IT pros said that managing a multi-cloud environment will be one of their agency’s top challenges over the next five years.

Notably, 93 percent of Federal IT decision-makers still face difficulties as their cloud portfolios expand. Some of those challenges include data management, security concerns, increased architectural complexity, difficulty managing services across hybrid environments, and reduced visibility.

Despite these challenges, most Federal agencies – 68 percent – say that multi-cloud is critical to the delivery of citizen services and other government operations.

The research illustrates that in order to better optimize multi-cloud environments, Federal agencies should seek opportunities to simplify management and increase automation.

One respondent said their organization needs to “establish an automation framework and optimize data access for applications and end users,” while another said their organization should “integrate and automate workloads across multiple platforms from a single point of control.”

Training and talent will also be crucial to managing a multi-cloud environment. While 78 percent of Federal IT decision-makers say their agency has a defined multi-cloud strategy, only 35 percent have a dedicated cloud management leadership team.

At the same time, educating IT staff is at the top of many agencies’ – 40 percent – multi-cloud to-do lists for the next two years.

As for cloud investments, 86 percent of Federal IT decision-makers expect their SaaS investments to increase over the next two years; three out of four say the same for IaaS and PaaS. The majority of respondents also plan to bring cloud-based enterprise management tools – 71 percent – and IoT devices – 54 percent – into their cloud ecosystems.

Overall, 60 percent of Federal IT decision-makers feel “very optimistic” about the future of government cloud, followed by 32 percent who feel “somewhat optimistic.”

To learn more about the Feds’ multi-cloud forecast, check out the complete research report, which includes benefits to date, management efforts, FedRAMP’s influence, incoming technologies, and more recommendations from Federal IT decision-makers. Download the report here.

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Grace Dille
Grace Dille
Grace Dille is MeriTalk's Assistant Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.