Two years ago, the federal government’s Office of Management and Budget established a policy requiring federal agencies to give first preference to the cloud with all new IT spending. But according to a recent investigation by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), compliance is not going so smoothly. As noted in this TechTarget article, “These findings are particularly interesting to cloud providers, as they provide a glimpse into the adoption barriers even where cloud adoption is mandatory. These potential customers don’t need to be sold on the benefits of using the cloud, and yet its traction still lags.”
The challenges identified by the GAO include several common barriers: security, finding the right solutions, gaining the needed IT expertise, certifying vendors, ensuring data portability and interoperability, cultural barriers and procuring the services in a pay-as-you-go model. Most of these don’t surprise me at all – after all, we have talked before about the lack of cloud IT expertise on the market, as well as ongoing security hurdles. Plus, while most businesses can turn to the channel for guidance with cloud, some federal agencies don’t have that luxury, so finding out what solutions are available and the right fit is more of a challenge. What is interesting, and goes hand-in-hand with the guidance issue is the certifying vendors – a barrier to adoption rooted in trust.
The article goes on to discuss how you can help: “Cloud providers should help government agencies define practical, realistic goals and guide them toward effective execution of the Cloud First policy. The success of these customers is important to the continued pursuit and adoption of cloud-based service delivery across the enterprise market as well.”
For many of you, government has been a long-term investment; you have worked diligently to identify and groom government IT decision makers to lean on you, a solution provider, for assistance with their needs. You invest time and effort into staying abreast of government requirements and needs, and you have secured the paperwork that allows you to do business with government agencies. Don’t drop the ball now. Familiarize yourself with the Cloud First policy, and start investigating appropriate cloud solutions for your government customers. Offer them the guidance they need, and enjoy further success in this lucrative vertical.