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Overview

Federal agencies are not migrating to the cloud as quickly as anticipated—in fact, the U.S. Government Accountability Office says agencies have increased their cloud investments by just 1 percent in the last two years. Still, most Feds agree that moving to the cloud is critical to meeting growing demands and delivering public service for the future. So, what’s the hold up?

Beyond budget and security, agency cloud concerns include manageability and lack of control. How do we mitigate these management challenges? Bringing development and operations closer together—DevOps—could be part of the solution.

To find out more, Accenture Federal Services commissioned research with MeriTalk, which surveyed 152 federal IT managers. The resulting report examines cultural and structural barriers to cloud adoption and the role that DevOps may play in overcoming these obstacles.

How do you believe DevOps can help your agency succeed in the cloud?

Bringing the groups together into one true team will help speed up the release cycle and troubleshooting

Background

DevOps is a software development and IT management method that brings software engineering, quality assurance and IT operations together as an integrated team to manage the full application lifecycle collaboratively.

MeriTalk, on behalf of Accenture Federal Services, conducted an online survey of 152 federal IT managers in February and March 2015 to get their thoughts on cloud technology and DevOps. The report has a margin of error of ±7.92 percent at a 95 percent confidence level.

All of the respondents are familiar with their agency’s adoption of cloud computing and represent a fairly broad segment of government IT workers, including CIOs, CTOs, deputy CIOS and CTOs, IT directors and supervisors, IT systems engineers, software and application development managers, and IT operations managers. Most of the agencies polled—55 percent—were civilian agencies, and the remaining agencies were DoD or Intel agencies.

Key Findings

Among the top findings, MeriTalk discovered the following:

  • Just 13 percent of Feds say they can deploy new systems as fast as required

  • And 66 percent believe their agency needs to move IT services to the cloud faster to meet mission and constituent needs

  • Feds say more than just security and budget hold back cloud adoption—top concerns include infrastructure complexity (42 percent), fear of change (40 percent), and inflexible practices (40 percent)

  • Feds are also constrained by organizational silos—only one in 10 fed IT managers say developers and administrators are highly collaborative

  • A majority of feds—68 percent—believe DevOps will help improve collaboration between development, security, and operations teams, while 63 percent anticipate it will speed application delivery and migration

  • To implement DevOps, feds would need to train personnel (55 percent), launch a new vision for the future (41 percent), and incentivize a cultural change (40 percent)

Analysis

Cloud’s true potential is in enabling more adaptive, scalable, cost-effective and secure systems. However, as federal agencies move mission systems to the cloud, they have also discovered that more integrated approaches are required to capitalize rapidly on these flexible and powerful environments.

Building off the value that highly aligned cross-functional teams deliver within agile software development, DevOps extends this model across the entire application lifecycle. DevOps encompasses new philosophies, processes, tools and organizational models to foster a highly collaborative culture focused on continuous innovation and dynamic operations.

Given the need to move to cloud more rapidly, many believe DevOps can provide a model for enabling these necessary changes. This survey outlines the steps agencies are taking and can take, and their potential to drive new levels of innovation.

Recommendations

Based on the survey’s findings, several key recommendations emerged for agencies to move to cloud technology more effectively:

Clarify the Goal: IT managers should consider what the cloud means for their agency; how it should inspire structure, culture, and policy changes; and what their vision for the future should include.

Focus on Communication: IT managers see greater collaboration and eliminating silos as critical to advancing cloud adoption. Bring stakeholders to the table and prioritize action.

Consider DevOps: Feds believe DevOps may move cloud into the fast lane. It brings increased IT automation and better collaboration to streamline software delivery and cloud migration. To prepare, educate key stakeholders on the approach and potential benefits—and make sure they know they are coming along for the ride.

Author

Author

Ira Entis
Chief Growth Officer

Ira Entis is Accenture Federal Services’ Chief Growth Officer, working with other senior leaders to drive sustainable, profitable and consistent high-growth across the company.

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