TechAmerica’s first cloud buyer’s guide for federal agencies, released just three years ago, is already obsolete.
But the industry trade association unveiled a significant update May 29 designed to provide the latest best practices and case studies from the private sector that can better help federal agencies navigate future cloud investments.
The 30-page “Cloud Buyer’s Guide for Government” identifies strategies and techniques agencies should look for while researching and considering potential investments in cloud technologies and services.
“Cloud computing remains a challenge with the federal government,” said Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., a founder and co-chair of the Congressional Cloud Computing Caucus, during an unveiling ceremony on Capitol Hill. “It is certainly my intention to continue to encourage it.”
Keith Trippie, former Homeland Security Department executive director for enterprise system development, said a guide that can help agency program managers and contracting officers coordinate during cloud investment decisions is critical.
“To have a document that served as a bridge between the program – trying to get something done – and the contracts office that was responsible for obligating the funds, it was a very helpful instrument in that path,” Trippie said. “I strongly encourage everybody to take a read of it.”
The federal government could save up to $2.5 billion by switching to a series of platform-as-a-service solutions, according to TechAmerica. The guide also features a map of cloud services agencies could look into, as well as an entire section devoted to security concerns agencies must consider when moving to the cloud.
Agencies, however, often hesitate to move to the cloud because of the impact that savings could have on future budgets, said Yogesh Khanna, vice president and chief technology officer at Computer Sciences Corp.
“Right now the way budgeting is done in the federal government, it’s almost a disincentive to reduce costs of delivering services, because if I do it at a lower cost today, I’m going to have less budget next year,” Khanna said.
Trippie said he agreed with Khanna’s statement, and an audience member called on TechAmerica to work with Congress and the Office of Management and Budget to restructure how federal agencies can retain and reallocate some of the funds they save by moving to the cloud.
OMB issued a cloud first policy in December 2010 that requires federal agencies to implement cloud-based solutions whenever a secure, reliable and cost-effective cloud option exists.