Cloud First’–An Important Move in the Right Direction


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Federal CIO Vivek Kundra’s 25-Point Implementation Plan to Reform Federal IT Management, is an important move in the right direction. With cloud technology positioned prominently at the center of the initiative, we are beginning to see a real shift toward recognizing the major benefits, including significant cost savings and decreased implementation times, that government can realize from cloud-based solutions.

The plan outlines a ‘Cloud First’ policy, which mandates that each agency identify, within three months, three ‘must move’ IT services and move one of those services to the cloud within 12 months. The remaining services should transfer to the cloud within the next 18 months.

Additionally, approval is reserved for major IT programs that utilize a modular approach, with new customer-facing functionality provided every 6 months.

This is an important component and also addresses President Obama’s Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government, issued on January 21, 2009. In this memo, the President outlined the Administration’s commitment to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government and instructed the heads of executive departments and agencies to work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration. Cloud technology can help federal agencies comply with this mandate.

To deliver on the promise of open government and the plan to reform federal IT, agencies must identify services to transfer to the cloud. Specifically, Web Self Service applications and Pilot Programs are a good starting point to identify the best solutions for specific agency needs.

Coupling cloud solutions with Web self-service applications is an effective means to simultaneously improve constituent services and reduce overhead costs. With Web self-service, constituents can find information that they need on an Agency website quickly, without having to contact a live person. Additionally, the cloud provides Federal agencies with several benefits:

  • Lower total cost of ownership
  • Benefits from frequent solution innovation
  • Increased reliability
  • Speedy, measurable results on open government initiatives

Whether in the public or the private sector, identifying the appropriate IT solutions can be a daunting task. For this reason, working with vendors that provide pilot programs is a critical component in the decision making process. One of the unique things about cloud computing is the ability to test the solution first—before signing a contract. Identifying proof points and results up front, prior to making a large investment, is critical to ensuring success.

Cloud solutions provide the scalability that government agencies require to meet constituent needs—eliminating digital capacity limitation worries. By transitioning to the cloud, agencies tap into an infrastructure that is as flexible as their needs are varied. Undoubtedly, these are some of the primary reasons why cloud is positioned as the center stone of the Administration’s plan.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Kevin Paschuck
As Vice President of Public Sector, Kevin leads all RightNow sales activity which includes Federal Civilian Government, Department of Defense, Intelligence Community, Higher Education and State & Local Government. He has been a leader in information technology sales and sales management for more than 12 years.


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