If you thought that private enterprises are more flexible in their approach to cloud adoption than government agencies, then you need to think again. Five years after the announcement of cloud first initiative that made it mandatory for government agencies to focus their IT spending on cloud adoption, the policy seems to be bearing fruits.

The speed of moving to cloud by leaving traditional data center environment is faster in government agencies than in private enterprises. This is confirmed by large number of tech companies and integrators.

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Background of Cloud First Policy

Cloud first policy was aimed at streamlining excruciatingly incompetent technology environment at government departments, which resulted in unmanageable and duplicative systems. These lead to inexplicable delays and waste of effort and money while delivering associated services.

According Vivek Kundra, ex CIO at US government, the ineptness resulting from legacy systems impacted ability of government to deliver efficient services to American citizens. It is expected that agencies that are engaged in managing their own IT gear must effectively deal with software, hardware, data center security, patching, and updates on the same lines such as major providers including Google and Amazon. By offloading these functionalities, the agency is able to deliver features that are needed to be provided.

In spite of initial teething troubles and slow moving infrastructure of government, the response to cloud first policy has been remarkable in last couple of years. It is encouraging to note the presence of pre-qualified cloud providers such as Amazon Web Services, Google and Microsoft Azure to name a few. These are backed by HP and CGI Federal as integrators. These integrators facilitate security and contracts so that government agencies can easily choose cloud providers.

Excellent Contribution by Major Provider of Cloud Services

By building an exclusive platform named as AWS GovCloud, Amazon has achieved a whopping growth of more than two hundred percent and Microsoft is also following the similar growth track. Microsoft sponsored cloud for government is being used roughly by 5.2 million people. The exclusive cloud initiative comprises of Dynamics CRM Online Government, Office 365 Government, and Azure Government.

The huge volumes of data make it impossible for any small enterprise or even a group of entrepreneurs due to the costs that are involved in setting up of a colossal infrastructure. It is interesting to note that these major cloud providers as well as government agencies are individually exploiting benefits of economies of scale.

Renting and computing services in public cloud have been adopted by other agencies following the selection of AWS to build secure cloud in 2013 by CIA. Now government agencies count on capabilities of cloud server hosting including networking, storage, and computing rather than relying on traditional data centers. Interestingly, NSA has chosen to design and develop its own secure cloud.

The boom in proposals that are associated with big data analytics is being experienced by integrators as well as contractors. There is an amazing interest in natural language processing and deep learning that will be useful for facilitating automation of information analysis that will constitute tons of information.

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Big Data and Need for Efficient Data Analytics Solutions

Task of data processing of such mammoth scale is beyond human capabilities. The sifting through troves of data must be executed by specially designed software programs. The issue of expert workforce in data analytics is further aggravated since government agencies tend to engage analysts or experts whose skills are related with specific subject matter only.

With easy access to tools such as Tableau and Zommdata, which are capable of handling terabytes of data, it is now possible for federal executives to get their hands on answers that would have taken months for legacy systems to come up with. According to Fontecilla, VP at federal system integrator UNISYS, there is a noticeable rise in requests for projects that are focused on big data projects. Finally, the government has appreciated difficulties of implementing these solutions with help of traditional systems.

Similarly the huge demand for natural language processing originates from the vast amount of data. There is also a considerable requirement for machine learning, and artificial intelligence to help analyze and examine the data to identify anomalies, and patterns.

These trends have collectively boosted cloud boom as far as government is concerned. It is really encouraging to notice shift from legacy infrastructure to more agile and flexible cloud infrastructure that can handle multiple workloads and expedite delivery of government services.