That’s why the recent defense authorization bill included clear guidelines for cost cutting. As a post on Internet Evolution pointed out while most of the attention on the bill involved the indefinite detention provision, there was more to the bill than that controversial component.
In fact, it included provisions that requires plans for data center consolidation, cloud computing and desktop virutalization. Now as it turns out, Congress is just the tail wagging the dog, because the DoD has been way ahead of it in this type of planning.
FierceGovernmentIT reported last month that the DoD was well along to the planning path when it came to consolidation and that included plans for much of what this legislation dictated.
That’s great of course because if the DoD can save billions by moving to the cloud and consolidating data centers that’s going to save all of us, the tax payers, money. But there’s a bigger lesson here than for Enterprise IT.
Now I know the Congress is an easy target, but if even they can figure out that you can squeeze cost savings through consolidation, then maybe it’s something you should be looking at in the private enterprise.
The fact is though that if you are big organization with data centers spread out across the world, you too might be looking for ways to reduce the real estate, the maintenance costs, the cooling bills and so forth that go with running large data centers, and the US government could be a model for you in your approach.
When Vivek Kundra came on board as the US CIO in March 2009, he started the government on this path to consolidation, seeing the cloud and virtualization as a way to cut the cost of running IT in the government. One of those ways was to shut down some of the data centers.
You might want to be thinking about this too. At the very least look at the public plans that the DoD and the Office of Management and Budget has put together. Perhaps you can learn from them and put your tax dollars to work for your organization.
I won’t guarantee those cost savings of course, because how much or even whether you actually save money by going to the cloud is subject to debate, but you can use the Federal government as a lab of sorts. Watch what they do. The goals are ambitious and will be implemented in fairly short order (especially when considering this is the government we are talking about).
So take advantage of this and see where it takes them. You might find there’s something in these moves and your company can learn from that. You would be foolish to ignore it.]]>
The government spends a ridiculous amount of money on IT. According to a chart supplied by Kundra at a recent press event on the fiscal 2012 IT budget, US IT costs have been steadily rising since 2001 when the cost was in the neighborhood of $45 billion. This went up each year until it plateaued in 2009 at just under $80 billion.
That coincides to when Kundra came on board and began instituting plans to slash inefficient programs, but over the long term, Kundra is looking to the Cloud to help generate sustained savings. In fact, he hopes to shift $20 billion of the total federal IT budget to the Cloud over the next several years.
As part of his cost-cutting plans, Kundra is hoping to close at a minimum (he stated specifically this was the floor) 800 data centers by 2015. Part of the way he hopes to do this this is by shifting resources to the cloud.
He also sees the move to the cloud as part of the budget cutting process, not as a parallel track, so that cloud initiatives should be funded by savings being generating by other cuts. If you think about that, it’s not unlike the situation that IT departments have found themselves in over the last couple of years, being asked to cut costs while looking for new ways to do the same for thing for less.
Kundra sees cloud computing and virtualization as a way to use resources more efficiently. The government has never been an entity that moves very quickly, and that’s why their plans stretch out over years, yet OMB has mandated that each agency adopt at least three cloud services by June, 2012. Large enterprise IT shops can be similarly bureaucratic, but very few (if any) approach the scale of the U.S. federal government. If the government can make the shift this quickly, your company should be able to as well.
Despite the fact that the federal government is just at the beginning of its cloud journey, Kundra cited many ideas already under way for moving services to the cloud — many of which are familiar such as email, Web hosting and CRM, and several which aren’t such as grant management and security management.
It seems to me if the US government, which has much greater concerns than your company about ensuring the security of information, is looking to the Cloud, you have to be as well. If you haven’t started exploring the Cloud, the time has come. You have to figure that the concerns and costs of the US IT infrastructure are at much greater scale than yours, and the possible benefits and payback are simply too good to ignore.
Special thanks go out to FierceGovernmentIT reporter Molly Bernhart Walker who patiently answered all of my questions while writing this post.
Photo by The Planet. Used under Creative Commons License. ]]>