Cloud First Government Buyer’s Guide

Against the backdrop of the debt ceiling debate in Washington, the TechAmerica Commission on the Leadership Opportunity in U.S. Deployment of the Cloud (CLOUD2) released a first-of-its-kind cloud roadmap today that outlines how the federal government can reduce spending, increase efficiency and promote collaboration through cloud computing.

Salesforce.com chairman and CEO Marc Benioff co-chaired the Commission, and was the driving force behind the Cloud First Government Buyer’s Guide. Here are a few observations on what’s behind the government’s transition to cloud computing:

  1. The Cloud Is Here to Stay: The report out today, combined with the Obama Administration’s “Cloud First” policy, validates the federal Government’s keen focus on cloud computing and recognizes that a public multi-tenant cloud is the most viable, practical and cost-effective option. Within a few years, every major government agency and service will be operating in the cloud. The near-term potentials for innovation, collaboration and efficiency are just too compelling to ignore.
  2. Specifics and Priorities Matter: The Commission included an official Buyer's Guide that government officials can use in making purchasing decisions.  In particular, the Commission put forward a priorities checklist (viewable at the bottom of this post) that highlights the core characteristics of true clouds (automatic upgrades, collaboration, scale, speed, and transparency, just to name a few) and will allow government agencies to distinguish them from false cloud offerings.  This checklist is a major step forward and marks a clear shift in thinking by traditional on-premise software companies.
  3. Reducing Cost Pressures Is Key: The report cites a Brookings study that concluded cost savings associated with cloud computing generally average between 25 and 50 percent.  These cost savings will be critical to government agencies coping with budget cuts.  The fact that cloud computing reduces costs while improving productivity and performance will be essential to the effort to innovate, grow our economy and compete globally.
  4. It’s Time to Adopt What’s Working in the States: For decades, state and local governments followed the lead of the federal government. The reverse is now true.  There's a genuine opportunity (and imperative) to take a page from Main Street and state capitals and bring a strategic focus on cloud computing to Washington. Today’s report will help make this a reality.

The federal government, in partnership with the private sector, has a unique and time-sensitive opportunity to accelerate adoption of the cloud. With the release of the Commission’s recommendations and official Buyer's Guide, a new era of government cloud computing is upon us.

In what ways do you believe the cloud can help accelerate change and innovation in Washington?  We’re always interested in your feedback and would love to hear how we can continue to build on our progress to date.

CLOUD FIRST BUYER’S GUIDE FOR GOVERNMENT

A SIMPLE CHECKLIST

☑ Automatic Upgrades and Patches . . . cost-effective maintenance, clear upgrade processes, and transparency around pricing for substantially new functionalities.
☑ Collaboration . . . secure tools and social networking applications that connect people and their underlying information.
☑ Compliance . . . fulfill the necessary compliance requirements, such as HIPAA.
☑ Development . . . industry standard frameworks and tools.
☑ Ease-of-Use . . . high utilization and satisfaction rates.
☑ Energy Efficiencies . . . significant energy savings from shifting to the cloud.
☑ Integration . . . integration between cloud applications and in-house applications.
☑ Interoperability . . . widely accepted open standards.
☑ Mobility . . . quickly deployable comprehensive mobile platform.
☑ Portability . . . extract and move data in an accepted standard format.
☑ Price . . . documentation and predictable pricing structure of total cloud services and solutions.
☑ Scale . . . validate performance and reliability of the cloud service and ask about real-time monitoring tools.
☑ Security . . . meets variety of security requirements.
☑ Speed . . . implement pilots and include deadlines in cloud service contracts.
☑ Sustainability . . . cloud provider’s strategy, mission, roadmap, financial stability, and ability to address needs in a timely fashion.
☑ Transparent Performance . . . real-time Web dashboards. Examples of such dashboards can be found at www.cloudbuyersguide.org (e.g.trust.salesforce.com)

This post was written by Dan Burton, SVP Global Public Sector of salesforce.com inc.

   Licensed Under Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0.