Cloud Market Headed for Shakeup?

The federal market for cloud services could undergo a significant transformation over the next couple of years, as a growing number of agencies make the transition from “Cloud First” to an enterprise approach to cloud.

The prime example, of course, is the Defense Department, which has shaken up the market with its $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Initiative. But it’s not alone.

In recent weeks, the State Department has issued requests for information for two programs aimed at shifting applications and services to a cloud environment spanning its global operations.

One RFI is for enterprise infrastructure- and platform-as-a-service capabilities. State aims to “transform its IT portfolio with the ability to purchase a broader range of IT services using a utility-based model that provides economies of scale and greater efficiencies that foster cost avoidance,” the RFI states.

The other RFI is for outsourcing its global wide area network and its overseas managed cellular and wireless services. As part of this program, State requires a WAN architecture that provides “high performing secure overseas connectivity to the cloud”—what the RFI describes as “optimized global transport layer as a service.” 

Although not on the same scale as JEDI, State’s IT modernization initiative is another example of a major department taking an enterprise approach to cloud. Its plan calls for a “rapid expansion of cloud services,” with an initial focus on e-mail, real-time collaboration, customer relations management and process flows. 

On the one hand, these kind of enterprise programs mean that more agency dollars will be going into cloud and related services. On the other hand, as cloud initiatives are driven at the department level, rather than at the program or bureau level, cloud spending is likely to become more concentrated—with bigger but fewer opportunities. 

Stay tuned.

John Monroe
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