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Government Survey: Cloud Computing Will Be Dominant for New Applications, and Aging Systems Replacement

Ben Farrell
May 13, 2011

"Within a decade, [government] will have a nearly complete cloud infrastructure."

That's according to Deniece Peterson, manager of industry analysis at government research firm Input. Peterson was quoted in a special feature in Washington Technology magazine, promoting a December 2010 survey of 460 government officials by the 1105 Government Information Group.

The survey indicated that 90 percent of government officials surveyed consider the cloud to be the real deal - not merely a passing fad. That said, adoption continues to be hampered by lingering concerns, particularly over security. The article points out that "leading cloud vendors are in the process of getting their clouds certified as safe and secure by the federal government during the next several years." As a cloud platform and application solution, Appian's cloud BPM software is way ahead of the pack in this regard.

Appian on Amazon Web Services (AWS) was the first cloud process solution to receive the federal government's official Authority to Operate (ATO) designation under the FISMA Act. The Department of Education's use of our solution demonstrates an understanding of how to put federal CIO Vivek Khundra's "cloud-first" mandate into action.

While these type of success stories will help overcome the techie concerns of agencies skittish about the cloud approach, there's another big stumbling block: simple fear of changing the way agencies do business.

As an average citizen, it's hard for me to have too much sympathy for this position. Clearly, there are many facets of government operations that are broken, or at a minimum, outmoded. Federal acquisition and procurement is a big one. So is agency employee on-boarding and security processing. The list goes on.

The primary value proposition of cloud computing for government is to create new, better, shareable and more easily consumable processes that deliver better service to constituents at lower cost.

To further that effort, communities of interest are springing up around business process management software users to provide "templatized" processes. For example, our Appian Forum online community offers application templates and components that can be shared. The advantage is better collaboration in and among agencies.

Such communities, along with FISMA security clearance, are helping to show government agencies that are still sitting on the fence how to successfully bring the cloud to their own mission and business processes.

-Ben Farrell, Director, Corporate Communications