Can The US Government “Lead by Example” in Cloud Computing Adoption?
The US Government and cloud computing have been the subject of many of my articles over the last few months. From coverage of former Federal CIO Vivek Kundra’s efforts to accelerate cloud computing’s adoption by the Federal government (See: The Architect of the Official Cloud Computing Revolution – CIO Vivek Kundra ) to discussing the aftermath of his proposed departure (See: Will Vivek Kundra’s Departure Affect Government’s Flight to the Clouds? ), from exploring the possibility of cooperation between the government and private sector (See: Knowledge Sharing on Cloud Computing Between Government and Public Sectors) to some causes for concern (See: Update: What Do Government Officials Think Of Cloud Computing? ), the government has always been in focus. What makes the government so important with regards to cloud computing?
For one, there is the simple matter of the enormous amount the US government spends on Information Technology – $80 billion! It is obvious that the greater the proportion of this that is spent on cloud computing, greater is the benefit to the industry. However, personally, I believe the government’s importance lies more in its position as a standard-bearer for conservativeness. Since cloud computing is a new technology that still has a lot of doubters, acceptance by the government which has the reputation of being staid, conservative, old-fashioned and resistant to change will definitely make the technology more acceptable to businesses and the public alike. That is why the statement by a cloud computing initiative that the US government can “lead by example” to increase the spread of cloud computing is not unexpected.
On 26th July, The TechAmerica Foundation released recommendations from the Commission on the Leadership Opportunity in US Deployment of the Cloud (CLOUD2). The commission, headed by Salesforce.com Chairman and CEO Marc Benioff and VCE Chairman and CEO Michael D. Capellas, recommended ways to accelerate government and commercial adoption of cloud technologies. About 70 companies and 300 people participated in drafting the TechAmerica report, accompanied by a cloud computing buyers guide, aimed at government agencies.
“The debate around cloud computing is over – everyone agrees the shift to the cloud is inevitable,” said Benioff. “The Cloud First Buyers Guide for Government provides the best practices for how agencies can evaluate and deploy cloud services, helping them make huge gains in productivity and efficiency.”
“Today’s recommendations by the commission will help further accelerate adoption of cloud computing within the government infrastructure,” said Capellas. “Faster adoption of cloud computing will strengthen the United States’ leadership position in the global marketplace and ignite creation of jobs that will be in high demand over the next decade.”
“We brought together 71 of the greatest cloud thinkers in our country to develop the blueprint to continue American leadership in cloud computing and what they’ve created will set the pace for the rest of the world,” said Phil Bond, president and CEO of TechAmerica. “The Commission has delivered that blueprint to the Administration and Congress and we are committed to working with them to make it a reality.”
In order to be impartial, I feel it necessary to point out that the spearheads for the report are those who have a vested interest in the spread of cloud computing, even though the body was created under the aegis of the US government. That being said, their assertions are not without merit. Whether the government responds positively, especially after Kundra’s scheduled departure later this month, is the million, nay, multi-billion dollar question.
By Sourya Biswas