Cloud Rising?

2014 is a tipping point. For the first time, IT will serve more pages to phones than PCs. So, aren’t phones cloud devices? Sure we’ve wrestled with Hunger Games horrors, but most everybody’s dialed into the mobile cloud. Hold the phone. According to two new GAO reports, Uncle Sam is still struggling for cloud dial tone – although seems to be getting through in data center savings.

Why Be a Box Hugger?

GAO’s cloud report looks at seven civil agencies – gauging cloud progress since 2012. The numbers speak for themselves – while the branches have a total of 80 new cloud services, the uptick in cloud spending is just one percent.

Why so low? Two reasons. GAO tells us that agencies aren’t up for legacy migration – they’re only considering new build for cloud. That means 67 percent of the IT spend is off the table before you start. Second – and I’m adding this to GAO’s analysis – cloud is too hard to buy. Acquisition ache surfaced as a constant theme at the recent Cloud Computing Brainstorm.

Seems Terry Halverson’s falling in with these issues. Interesting to watch him strafe the DISA cloud last week – encouraging the agencies to go AWOL to get the cloud they need.

Caucus and the Cure?

That brings us to tomorrow’s Cloud Computing Caucus Hillversation. Join the Air Force, DHS, GSA, and NASA SEWP on the Hill for a lively discussion on cloud acquisition. We’ll also preview a new Independent Government Cost Estimator tool for the cloud. While the FedRAMP OnRAMP shows you what’s available, the IGCE takes you deeper – to understand how to buy FedRAMP-compliant cloud and how much it’ll cost. This gizmo’ll put some pep in your COTR’s Cloud step.

CIO Cloud Connection?

And, if you need more cloud in your life – and GAO says most Feds do – here’s an early flag for a gathering of CIOs on the Future of the Federal Cloud. November 18 – a half-day session, featuring Fed CIOs, with real dialogue about what’s working and what’s not in Federal cloud. Sorry this program’s government only. Feds register here.

Is FDCCI Dead?

Not to forget cloud’s twin sister, GAO put out an eye opener on Data Center Consolidation. While cloud’s dealing with hang ups, seems data center consolidation’s dialing direct to the bank. GAO looked at 24 agencies’ FDCCI efforts, 19 reported a total of $1.1 billion in cost savings and avoidance 2011-2013. Three – DoD, DHS, and Treasury – contributed 74 percent of that lettuce.

But, as you’ll remember, the goal for FDCCI was to save $3 or $5 billion by 2015. GAO looked downstream between here and 2015 – and further to 2017. Altogether 21 agencies plan to save $2.1 billion by 2015 – and another $2 billion by 2017. Which takes us to $5.3 billion in cost savings and cost avoidance.

So, seems FDCCI’s far from dead. That said, here’s a stat and a source for you.

As of May 2014, agencies reported a total of 9,658 data centers – approximately 6,500 more than reported by OMB in 2011.

All part of a successful consolidation push. And, people think I make this stuff up…

Hope to see you tomorrow at the Rayburn Building, Room 2168, on the Hill for the Cloud Computing Caucus Hillversation. And on November 18th for Cloud Connections.

Do you think cloud is rising or sinking? Is there enough cloud in your life? Is cost avoidance the same thing as cost saving?

Steve O'Keeffe
About Steve O'Keeffe
The most connected executive in the government technology community – O'Keeffe is an accomplished entrepreneur and tech-policy expert, with 30 years’ experience as an innovator at the crossroads of government and industry. He founded MeriTalk, O'Keeffe & Company, 300Brand, among other entities. O'Keeffe is a fixture on the Hill, in both the House and Senate, testifying on IT, budget, government workforce, and the requirement to modernize government IT to enhance outcomes for the American people and government employees. He is a champion for change, simplification, transparency, and clear communication of IT value without jargon. A committed philanthropist, O'Keeffe has served for 15 years on the USO-Metro Board of Directors – Vice Chairman of the Board and Chair of the Annual Awards Dinner. He started his career as a journalist – O'Keeffe has contributed to The Economist, Government Executive, Signal Magazine, The Washington Post, and, of course, MeriTalk.