A new Accenture Federal Services and Government Business Council report says that federal agencies grappling with implementing Cloud First mandates face staffing challenges and lengthy procurement processes, making it hard to take advantage of cloud technologies.
The report, “The Road Ahead: 3 Years After Cloud First,” covers the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of 286 federal executives regarding cloud services. Survey respondents agreed that cost savings and budget reductions are the primary drivers behind cloud adoption strategies, but agencies are struggling to develop and implement those strategies, in part, due to a lack of necessary staffing (69 percent) and lengthy procurement processes (31 percent).“While there are initial challenges in the adoption of cloud computing, it holds the potential to play a major role in increasing government efficiency and service delivery,” said Accenture’s Technology Solutions Managing Director Annette Rippert, and leader of the company’s federal cloud work.
“When properly executed, government agencies have much to gain in transitioning to the cloud.”To comply with the 2011 Federal Cloud Computing Strategy known as “Cloud First,” federal agencies must evaluate cloud options before making new IT investments, Accenture said. However, a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report shows that of 20 cloud migration plans submitted by agencies to the GAO in 2012, only one was complete. In fact, only 10 percent of agencies have migrated more than half of their IT portfolio to the cloud.
More than two thirds of respondents said their agencies don’t have the necessary skills staff to execute its cloud strategy and 31 percent said they would need to hire at least one new employee, according to the report. Forty-five percent of the survey respondents said training is necessary to develop those skills, estimating the cost at between $25,000 and $50,000.
Only 30 percent of survey respondents are implementing cloud strategies, and only 4 percent of those agencies are building new cloud environments, the report noted. An additional 10 percent are integrating new and legacy systems to a cloud platform and 4 percent reported implementing “other” strategies. Fifty-eight percent were not aware of any cloud strategies taking place at their agencies.
Still, federal executives see the benefit of cloud adoption and noted better data security, bigger storage capacity and reduced IT costs as the top three benefits. The surveyed executives expect email (40 percent), agency performance data (34 percent) and data analytics (36 percent) to be most secure in the cloud.
Accenture Federal Services, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Accenture LLP. The company serves every cabinet-level department and 20 of the largest federal organizations with clients at defense, intelligence, public safety and civilian agencies.