IDC recently released a study that resulted in interesting coverage from GigaOm. They found that the folks in government that could benefit most from cloud computing are actual those with the highest degree of resistance – local governments. States were not far behind. This release happens at the same time that the Federal Government is staring down a fiscal cliff that promises to reinstitute a deep recession that will damage our economy for years to come but also will result in significant service shortages throughout the country for those who can afford such delinquency the least.
I have been preaching about the cloud for years. And for multiple vendors. As well as inside government as a Chief Information Officer. I have met all the resistance from security to privacy to job elimination to control. The excuses have gone on and on for years. But this past few years, the game has become very real. And not just within IT. The pain is being felt, in terms of budget pressures, at every level and layer of government. The missions that folks were trying to protect are now simply under fatal assault as they moved too slowly to adopt more efficient technology to accomplish their goals. The time is certainly upon us, to demand an end to governments paying for hardened silos, underutilized infrastructure, poor security, massive data center expenses and an operational budget that is embarrassing.
The data is screaming for us to do this now. The report above from GigaOm is joined by the now infamous Forbes article showing $12B that could be saved in the Federal Government (enough to fund NASA), or Winvale’s piece showing that DoD could save $37B with the cloud, TechAmerica showing that all government could save between 25% and 50 %. Or the Brookings Institute showing that the savings could range from 37% to 99%.
At the same time all layers of government are facing huge budget shortfalls. In their current accounts alone, States are seeing budget shortfalls across the country from .8% in Virginia ($145M) to nevada with a 36.2% shortfall ($1.2B). On a pure dollar basis, California is topping the bunch with over $15B in gap to makeup.
According to Deltek, the State of Florida will spend nearly $900M on Information technology in FY13 and is facing a budget shortfall of over $1B. On the conservative side, if they could save 50% they would nearly cut the shortfall in half. What could they save?
The proposed and actual budget cuts were deep. Here are some examples. $300M was cut from the University System. The Florida Clerks of Courts were cut by $31M and the eligibility age for state sponsored tuition for foster care students was proposed to be lowered to save $11M. Budget cuts have also caused a $4M shortfall to cover Floridas Infectious Disease Control Efforts (while TB was on the rise).
Those are just SOME of the examples in one state. And remember the potential savings would top $450M! The suffering that is being felt, across government, and more importantly by citizens not being served, is now a much deeper one. The objections that have masked other intentions simply cannot stand. The protection of favorite vendors that create and sustain this unfair budget situation must end. Those advocating for a move to the cloud need to embrace the comparison of objections to these cuts in citizen service, environmental protections, educational attainment and economic growth.
All levels of government have a set of secure tools, across multiple vendors, providing incredible potential, huge flexipbility and the budget savings that budget directors need. And that citizens are dying to have.
It can no longer be just cloud first, it must be cloud now!