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Feds Poised to Up Cloud, Big Data Investments

The evolving private sector is driving monumental changes in the IT landscape, forcing public agencies to keep up or leverage antiquated technologies that don't necessarily provide the same results as more innovative solutions. Federal agencies in particular are taking this philosophy to heart because administrations are investing in some of the most sophisticated tools on the market, despite an otherwise unpredictable economy.

A new Deltek report highlighted how cloud computing is a major investment opportunity for many federal agencies because spending on the hosted services is forecast to increase from $2.3 billion in 2013 to $6.1 billion in 2018. This increase is largely due to the fact that the cloud lets organizations of all sizes embrace a highly scalable and agile infrastructure, which is needed for the other endeavors that executives plan to pursue.

In addition to the cloud, Big Data is also receiving added attention as agencies plan to up their spending on solutions that support these initiatives during the next several years. Specifically, Deltek revealed that federal Big Data services investments are poised to grow from $5.2 billion in 2013 to $5.8 billion in 2018. When decision-makers combine their use of the agile cloud and find better uses of increasingly large volumes of information, they can make more targeted investments in the future.

"These solution areas are priorities for agencies individually," says Alex Rossino, principal research analyst at Deltek. "But in tandem, these solutions work together to facilitate the cost savings and improved performance that every agency seeks."

At the same time, however, the financial pressures from today's economy is forcing federal administrators to prioritize IT initiatives, causing agencies to differ in their approach to better decision-making processes.

Capabilities will determine success
Similar to private enterprises, federal organizations often encounter challenges when implementing new technologies due to the fact that the workforce is either misinformed about the solutions, feels capable of leveraging advanced tools without permission, or lacks the skills needed to properly launch and maintain sophisticated services. Deltek noted that the continued focus on data center consolidation, mobile, cloud, and Big Data projects is encouraging executives to think outside the box and find new ways to procure, deploy, and maintain these endeavors without encountering challenges.

"Agencies will continue to approach investments with caution and look for creative ways to fund and implement these programs," says Angie Petty, senior principal research analyst at Deltek.

A separate Gartner report highlighted how roughly 75 percent of government IT budgets were estimated to be either flat or increasing in 2013. Nevertheless, analysts predict these spending habits will experience a modest compound annual growth of 1.3 percent through 2017, suggesting that federal executives are beginning to embrace a more positive outlook for the future, despite struggling in the past.

"After years of being told to 'do more with less,' many government CIOs report that budgets have stabilized or are increasing, placing them in a better position to deliver and manage IT services more effectively and efficiently," said Rick Howard, research director at Gartner.

Although the government sector isn't necessarily as competitive as the business world, federal administrations still need to be efficient to keep costs down and meet their long-term objectives. This requirement has forced executives to invest in innovative tools like cloud computing, Bg Data, and predictive analytics solutions. When these services are integrated into a uniform strategy, agencies can make more informed decisions and improve their ability to experience positive long-term outcomes, allowing them to stay productive in a complex and unpredictable economy.

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