U.S. federal agencies are continuing their expansion into cloud-based services, with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announcing a deal with Microsoft to transition e-mail and other services to the cloud. InformationWeek reports that the deal is expected to save the agency approximately $12 million over four years and will cost $9.8 million to deploy. The EPA’s project is expected to be completed by early 2013.
This continues the trend in government toward adoption of cloud services, including spend management applicaitons like invoice management and e-procurement, communication services, and military applications. All of the activity, however, does not accurately represent some of the issues agencies are dealing with while converting to the cloud, according to a recent survey. 50 percent of federal agencies report they are in the midst of adopting cloud services, with the primary motivation being cost reduction through reduced need for equipment and maintenance. Currently, the most common obstacles include experience with cloud services, confusion over standards and lack of government structure.
The Office of Management and Budget has been spearheading the Obama Administration’s cloud-first movement with good results, though the process is taking longer than anticipated and is compounded by some pushback from agencies who feel the deadlines put into place by the OMB are too strenuous.