Even with 85 percent of Federal IT spending going toward the maintenance of legacy systems, 78 percent of Feds believe DevOps will help their agency innovate faster responses and services, according to a new MeriTalk.com survey.

The survey found that agencies are in need of an efficiency jump-start. Legacy systems are slowing agencies down–and new app development just adds to the inertia.

DevOps also gives Federal agencies a leg up to migrate to the cloud.

The survey found that 76 percent of respondents said that improving app speed and performance is very important. Nearly 75 percent already using DevOps said it reduces costs and risk of project failures.

Many agencies are using DevOps: All the U.S. Digital Services teams (General Services Administration, Office of Management and Budget, Veterans Affairs, Department of Homeland Security, Environmental Protection Agency, etc.) use a version of it. There are teams in Department of Defense, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and Health and Human Services that use DevOps.

It’s really starting to take hold in many corners of Federal IT, according to Gartner Inc.’s Katell Thielemann, a research director specializing in the Federal government market.

But there are still obstacles in getting DevOps embedded into an agency’s IT system, she said.

“Culture is the No. 1 issue, followed by skill sets and acquisition practices,” Thielemann said.

An experimenting, fail-fast, sharing culture is not what government is typically known to achieve. Top leadership strength is also key in order to attract people who think this way and can grow within the constraints of a traditionally risk-averse organization, she added.

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Judi Hasson