US govt adopts “cloud-first” IT strategy

The US government has revealed details of its latest IT procurement strategy, which includes the introduction of a “cloud-first” policy from 2012.

“We are reducing our data center footprint by 40 percent by 2015 and shifting the agency default approach to IT to a cloud-first policy as part of the 2012 budget process,” Jeffrey Zients, deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, wrote in a blog post earlier this month.

Other reforms to the government’s IT procurement strategy include introducing a formal career track for “program management” and “aligning the IT acquisition process to the technology cycle”.

Zients also outlined how the Office recently cut $1.6 billion in cost from US government IT projects.

This involved cancelling two projects but also “pulling forward meaningful functionality in two other projects, “resulting in almost $230 million in budget reductions”, and decreasing the scope of three others.

In January 2010, US government CIO Vivek Kundra introduced a scheme called TechStat, in which ongoing projects are reviewed by agency heads and staff from the Office of Management and Budget, along with “input from the American people”.

“TechStat sessions enable the government to turnaround, halt or terminate IT investments that do not produce dividends for the American people,” Kundra wrote at the time.

“We’ve held dozens of TechStat review sessions,” Zients wrote this week, “resulting in faster deliverables, terminations of projects that didn’t work, and most importantly turned around projects that were in trouble.”

Pete Swabey

Pete Swabey

Pete was Editor of Information Age and head of technology research for Vitesse Media plc from 2005 to 2013, before moving on to be Senior Editor and then Editorial Director at The Economist Intelligence...

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