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Department of Education Gets High Marks in Federal IT Reform Using BPM Software in the Cloud

Ben Farrell
June 15, 2011

One of the first big success stories in the Obama Administration's push to reform Federal IT is the Department of Education, which is using Appian's cloud BPM software to collect survey data as part of the "No Child Left Behind" program. By the Dept.'s own estimations using the application in a cloud environment streamlined collection operations by 15 percent.

The Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC) process, powered by Appian in the cloud, collects data on key education and civil rights issues in America's public schools, including enrollment, educational services, and academic proficiency. The resulting data is used not only by the agency, but by policymakers and researchers as well.

Dept. of Education's success is an important first step in realizing the benefits of the Obama "cloud first" policy, issued in December 2010. Under the 25 Point Plan to Reform Federal IT Management, agencies were required to identify at least three services to move to the cloud.

In reporting on agency cloud-related activities, ñ the website of the U.S. CIO and the Federal CIO Councils ñ provided the Dept. of Ed's own assessment of current and projected operational efficiencies from moving to the cloud.

"By moving to a cloud solution, the CRDC was able to survey over 15% more school districts and make the surveys easier for districts to fill out by tailoring each survey so only applicable information was requested," the report stated.

The Dept. of Education is also using private cloud capability for internal Infrastructure-as-a-Service applications. By consolidating its IT infrastructure in this private cloud environment, the report continues, the agency "is expecting improved asset utilization by 60-70%, a reduction in overall costs, improved service to its users, and greater agility in demand across the agency."

Much has been said about the current administration's push to change the way IT is handled in the federal government. These new findings show that business process management software in a cloud environment can create real, substantive and measurable improvements in the way federal agencies do business.

-Ben Farrell, Director, Corporate Communications