Kundra: Agencies on path for transition to cloud

Monday - 4/11/2011, 6:25pm EDT

Federal CIO Vivek Kundra at Cloud Computing Forum and Workshop

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John Buckner
Federal News Radio

Federal Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra says every agency has identified the three systems they will move to the cloud as part of the administration's cloud-first policy.

"Over the past two years, especially within the federal government, we have seen a massive scale-up in terms of deploying cloud technologies across the board," said Kundra during the third Cloud Computing Forum and Workshop at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. He made the comments during a question and answer session with Alan Marcus, senior director and head of IT and telecommunications industries for the World Economic Forum, USA.

The Office of Management and Budget announced the cloud-first policy last year and Kundra says that all agencies are in the beginning stages of acquisition for the movement of their first systems.

"[The] broad categories that they have identified include moving literally entire infrastructure over to the cloud and looking at collaboration, which happens to be a top category," said Kundra.

The General Services Administration and the Agriculture Department already have begun the process of moving more than 137,000 people to the cloud through collaboration.

The USDA moved 120,000 employees to Microsoft's Enterprise Messaging Service (EMS) last year and GSA finalized a deal with Unisys to move to Google Apps for Government around the same time.

The Department of Labor last month decided on letting the USDA host its GovBenefits website.

However, Kundra did say both the government and the private sector are behind the curve when it comes to Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) where all aspects from financial management to human resource management are connected.

"We are looking at these ERP systems and asking the question 'how can we provision them as a service?'" said Kundra. "I would argue that there is a lot more activity that you are not hearing about across the federal government."

While Kundra did not go into details about what the government is doing with ERP systems, he did explain where he wants the government to go in terms of cloud technology.

Kundra said the government has spent too much time on complicated infrastructure as opposed to focusing on higher value work. As part of the cloud-first policy, Kundra is analyzing the gaps between how people interact with the private sector and how that differs from how people interact with the government.

The focus on higher value work "is making sure that when a student goes online and is applying for student aid, that that experience is as simple as going online and buying an airline ticket," said Kundra.

John Buckner is an intern with Federal News Radio.

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