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FCW : September 30, 2015
governance, paying for the transition, the lack of providers that meet federal regulations and the need to develop a strategy for employees. Agencies “don’t want to be the first mover,” Greer said. “They are very skeptical and question the amount of successful implementations. Forty-two percent of respondents said that it is not in their culture to give up a function if done cheaper or better.” And even when an agency wants to adopt cloud-based shared services, standardizing data and processes is a time-consuming prerequisite. “It’s about getting ready for central or shared services. That’s the big issue,” said Bill Beyer, a partner at Deloitte who is responsible for shared-services projects. “You can’t go from vision to implementation without setting the table properly. You have to do data cleanup before you throw everything up into the cloud. You can save anywhere from 17 percent to 30 percent in the cloud, but you don’t want to throw junk up into the cloud.” Another issue is funding. For example, federal agencies already consolidated 26 payroll systems into four back in 2009, an initiative that the Office of Personnel Management said would save $1 billion in a decade. Now those four payroll systems must be migrated to the cloud, but funding is necessary to pay for that upgrade. “The government didn’t bank these savings from the payroll systems,” Beyer said. “Now they have antiquated payroll systems that need to be upgraded and migrated to the cloud. They don’t know where the money is coming from.” He added that migrating to the cloud requires agencies to staff up and run duplicative systems for a period of time. So extra funding is needed until the savings of a cloud- based system kick in. “There is a funding issue, and [the Office of Management and Budget] is trying to address it,” Beyer said. Human resources applications are likely to be the next to migrate to the cloud, he added. Pilot projects involving Salesforce.com and Oracle are under way; both companies have received approval under the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program. Pushback for Peace Corps’ email upgrade The Peace Corps One offers one example of a cloud-based shared- services project that went awry. The agency came under fire for moving too quickly on a plan to migrate its email, collaboration and document management systems to the cloud through the General Services Administration’s shared-services model. GSA’s own cloud-based email system has been extremely successful. In 2011, the agency adopted Google’s applications for email and collaboration in a move that is expected to save the agency $15 million over five years. By swapping a legacy IBM Lotus Notes system and replacing it with Google Docs for its 17,000 users, GSA cuts its email costs in half. Under pressure to migrate its own aging email system to the cloud, the Peace Corps decided to piggyback on GSA’s procurement and adopt Google’s platform. Sheila Campbell, the Peace Corps’ director of digital integration, won a 2015 Federal 100 award for driving that pilot project. However, the Peace Corps’ Office of Inspector General issued a report in March questioning whether the agency had followed federal acquisition rules when it signed a memorandum of understanding with GSA to use its cloud-based email service on a pilot basis. “Before the Peace Corps pursued and entered into a shared-services model, a technology platform should have been researched and identified by the [Office of the CIO],” the IG report states. “There should have been a broad analysis of the different types of cloud platforms... and an analysis to determine if these different platforms would meet the needs of the Peace Corps.” Auditors recognized that the shared services model is beneficial to the government and is being promoted by the Obama administration, but they asserted that the agency did not take the time to evaluate whether the cloud pilot met federal regulations regarding email 24 September 30, 2015 FCW.COM 20 15 Federal List Shared services 0930fcw_012-028.indd 24 9/9/15 10:24 AM
September 15, 2015