Getting Out of the IT Business (Part 1)

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Here’s the premise for this post: government agencies should get out of the IT business to improve service delivery and enhance mission success. In round numbers, our federal government plans to spend $86B on official IT categories in FY 2016 (and realistically a lot more than that on IT that is not in official IT-spending categories). I was just reading this morning that something close to 80% of this budget is being spent on support of legacy systems. That doesn’t leave much funding for moving forward to modern IT solutions.

IT costs the government too much. A good alternative is moving IT resources to the cloud and getting out of the IT business. Cloud providers do IT efficiently. Really, really efficiently. And they do it effectively. Amazon Web Services is projecting $6B in revenue this fiscal year alone, with $1B profit on that income. A pretty good business, no? Eventually, the efficiencies, effectiveness, and financial pressure of cloud will both allow the government to get out of the IT business and force it to do so.

But this is about much more than the promised cost savings of moving to the cloud. It is about being able to provide effective and efficient services. Cloud-based IT will take the burden of IT off government agencies so they can focus on the services and data they need to offer, manage, and protect. That’s a business/mission focus.

With cloud, subscription fees cover the details, and that subscription fee will eventually cover more of the IT solution, allowing government agencies to focus on business/mission needs instead of maintaining legacy solutions. This is the path forward to reduce that 80% percent of IT budgets dedicated to support of legacy solutions to 70%, 60%, 50%, and lower.

By now, you’ve realized that my premise of getting out of the IT business is hyperbole. No one is getting out of the IT business. Commercial and public sector interests could not survive without IT. But getting out of the IT infrastructure business is realistic and valuable. Get out of the data center business. Get out of the IT hardware business. Get out of the dreaded technology refresh business. And reduce the high cost of maintaining legacy solutions.

I think some folks believed that government agencies would be flocking to the cloud by now, myself included. Instead, it is happening slowly. Yes, the concerns of handing your IT operations over to a largely unknown entity gives many pause. But it’s more than that. The fact is, it’s much easier to build a new solution for the cloud than to move a legacy one there. The next part of this post will identify some lower-risk approaches to moving your IT crown jewels to the cloud to begin reaping the mission benefits that can be found there.

Post Date: 4/3/2016

default blog image Barry Westaway

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