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FCW : September 30, 2015
September 30, 2015 FCW.COM 23 office applications to a cloud-based, shared-services model that supports 17,000 employees. “The benefits are clear,” Greer said. “Shared services drive standard business processes and result in operating with fewer errors, the delivery of better customer service and, most importantly, significant cost savings through eliminating redundant operations.... We came up with an estimate of $20 billion in savings if all federal agencies were to migrate to shared services on back- office operations.” Off to a slow start Accelerating the deployment of shared services has been a priority of the Obama administration for five years. They are part of the president’s 25-Point Implementation Plan to Reform Federal IT Management, which was released in December 2010. Cloud services and shared solutions “will result in substantial cost savings, allowing agencies to optimize spending and allowing agencies to reinvest in their most critical mission needs,” the plan states. In 2012, the White House released a follow-up report called the Federal IT Shared Services Strategy, which was designed to eliminate waste and duplication. The strategy identified 34 areas where federal agencies provide similar services and could adopt a shared-services model. Agencies need to use shared services to deliver solutions “faster, for less money and with fewer resources,” the strategy states. Since then, several agencies have successfully adopted cloud-based platforms for email, collaboration, mobile device management, software testing, websites and web services. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration moved its 25,000 users to Google Apps for Government as did the National Archives and Records Administration with its 5,000 users. The Army, meanwhile, has licenses for 50,000 Microsoft Office 365 users. A handful of back-office migrations are also under way, with the Treasury’s Administrative Resource Center running an Oracle-based cloud platform and the Agriculture Department using SAP’s cloud-based infrastructure. Nevertheless, Greer said agency CIOs are concerned about giving up control over their back-office systems and information security due to auditing and regulatory requirements. “We did a survey with the Association of Government Accountants, and we talked to 200 government officials,” he said. “Seventy percent of the people were very afraid of migrating to the cloud not knowing if their data is safe or met security requirements. That’s one of the major concerns.” The survey identified other barriers to cloud-based shared services, including concerns about effective “We came up with an estimate of $20 billion in savings if all federal agencies were to migrate to shared services on back- office operations.” — KEVIN GREER, ACCENTURE 0930fcw_012-028.indd 23 9/9/15 10:24 AM
September 15, 2015