Agencies have made cloud progress over the past year – identifying workloads they can move to the cloud, reducing costs, increasing data availability, and supporting maximum telework. At the same time, over the past year – we’ve seen growing awareness that procurement modernization is possible and can help to transform Federal IT infrastructure.

What are some of the most important cloud lessons? We spoke with industry experts working across the Federal government, to understand the trends and possibilities.

  1. Implementing cloud models – public, private, and on-premise – offer the greatest capability to modernize while leveraging the promise of each platform.
  2. There has been a movement within a growing number of agencies to have consumption-based IT on-premises within the government data center. These agencies are foregoing capital expenditure (CAPEX) purchases in favor of consumption-based services for compute and storage.
  3. IT and procurement teams need education around purchasing consumption-based services. Agencies are learning to manage workloads in the new cloud reality, and they are using lessons learned to innovate on how they buy and consume technology within their data centers. (See U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Army Enterprise IT-as-a-Service programs)
  4. Agencies report successful on-premise private cloud deployments, with benefits including faster access to technology and the ability to scale up or scale down without penalty
  5. Agencies want real-time data about their IT environment; more distinction between operational tools and management tools will help. Operational tools help to monitor systems and networks, and perform root cause analyses when something goes wrong. Management tools that collect, correlate, and report information vital to the business of data centers.

Forty-two percent of Federal leaders say at least half of the technology they regularly use for work needs to be updated or replaced, according to research from MeriTalk, ACT-IAC, and the Partnership for Public Service.

One of the top recommendations is transitioning data to multi-cloud environments; one in two Federal leaders say a cloud model should be among the most important technologies in their agencies. Analyst firm Deltek, projects Federal government investments will continue to grow, given factors including accelerated adoption rates, Trusted Internet Connection (TIC) reform, and improved cloud data management capabilities.

“Changing IT buying practices for government data centers is the first step towards improving measurable outcomes,” says Andy Flick, director of cloud services, ViON. “The impact we’ve seen in agencies that have moved to as-a-Service or consumption-based models is huge … The agencies are now working with service providers whose contracts are directly tied to the outcomes needed to support mission requirements. Information is power, and having real-time information about cost, quantity, availability, service levels, and quality is a powerful asset.”

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