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The Federal Government Embraces the Cloud

Recently, some federal offices made the switch to the cloud to increase internal efficiency and practicality. Obama made it a goal to modernize federal IT deployments so he encouraged the move to cloud computing. The General Services Administration (GSA) switched 15,000 email boxes to the cloud. Other federal agencies that embraced the world of cloud computing include the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) and the Social Security Administration (SSA).

Vivek Kundra, the White House CIO, reported this information in addition to a detailed case study of how the federal agencies are using cloud computing. The agencies are increasing efficiency with email and knowledge management and cloud deployments. They are now able to streamline operations and connect with citizens because of their move to the cloud.

The SSA set up a cloud database to handle inquiries better. Now, people can search for the answers to their questions by keyword, category, or phrase. Individuals can look up how to file for benefits, get a Social Security number, where to find a field office and more. The SSA can provide many more answers with the cloud database than before. In 2009, the office was able to answer 34 million questions, which would have been nearly impossible to answer even 10 percent of the inquiries via traditional staff responses.

Case management became easier at the FLRA with the new cloud system. The FLRA’s new case management tracking system allows citizens to access documents electronically, file cases and track the status of the case. The updated system was a big improvement from the FLRA’s outdated and pricey internal system. The agency’s IT infrastructure completely changed for the better. The system was easy and fast to implement and dramatically reduced the overall cost of ownership.

The GSA also transformed its system with the implementation of cloud technology. The GSA replaced its outdated system with an advanced email archiving system. The new system meets e-discovery requirements. Also, the GSA was able to maintain storage easier while saving money. The agency expects to save around 30% in the first two years.

Since the implementation of cloud technology in the FLRA, SSA and GSA agencies was such a success, it is likely that many more federal agencies will start to follow in their footsteps. The modernization made business processes faster and easier while saving the agencies a lot of money. Cloud computing is an economical and smart decision.

[Photo courtesy of arstechnica.]