US gov agencies slowly embrace the cloud

According to research from IDC, US government agencies are increasingly looking towards cloud services and there is a growing demand for enterprise architecture resources.

In a best practices report IDC looked at the progress of cloud in government agencies. In it, IDC noticed that although there is a growing demand for cloud services, IT managers are not fully clued up on their organisation’s overall cloud strategies, nor the resources available in purchasing and implementing the cloud.

Government employees are recognising that the cloud is increasingly important to IT strategies, but they are having to evaluate what cloud services mean specifically to them and their organisations. A third of those surveyed lacked knowledge of cloud budgeting, according to IDC.

IDC found that, across the US government, 90 percent of respndents do expect cloud services to have a significant impact on infrastructure. It was local government respondents who were most skeptical about cloud computing. 14.7 percent were skeptical about the cloud, dismissing it as not important at all. Of all those surveyed, 15.2 percent said they would allot between one and 10 percent of their IT budget to the cloud.

In the US, the government agencies who were included in the survey leant largely towards big IT vendors over smaller, speciality providers. Whether there is much wisdom in this will remain to be seen: at least outside of the US, worries about company data prone to interception by passing through US servers has worried some critics. Meanwhile, a procurement drive in the UK aims to level the playing field somewhat by introducing the public sector to SMBs and small enterprises, including in the cloud.

According to IDC Government Insights research director, Shawn McCarthy, the outfit’s survey shows that there has been significant progress in cloud services, however, overall progress will only pick up the pace when several important challenges have been appropriately looked at.

These include a lack of knowledge on funding available to them for cloud, as well as enterprise architecture changes that must take place if the agencies are to move into the cloud more aggressively.

“By focusing on greater outreach efforts to bring all IT employees in line with enterprise cloud plans,” McCarthy said, “government agencies acn begin to benefit from cloud computing services”.