Cloud first is about delivering value, not counting services, says OMB official

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Cloud first, a cornerstone of the Office of Management and Budget's 25-point plan to reform federal information technology, continues to be a priority for OMB and will be addressed in agency PortfolioStat sessions this summer, said Scott Renda, cloud computing portfolio manager at OMB.

As one of the deliverables under the 25-point plan, which launched in December 2010 and concluded in June 2012, agencies were asked to migrate three services to the cloud.

"It's very important that it's a service, not necessarily one system or one solution. It's a service because we're talking about a service-oriented approach to IT," noted Renda, who spoke May 30 at the Federal Cloud Computing Summit in Washington, D.C.

Going forward, Renda said it will be less about the number of cloud services at agencies. OMB will be "placing less emphasis on counting services and more emphasis on business value," he said.

"I don't anticipate, at this point, coming out with a new target about 'move X more services to the cloud,'" he said.

Instead, OMB plans to use PortfolioStat meetings to tie together a cloud-first approach with data center consolidation efforts. In PortfolioStat meetings this summer, Renda said OMB will meet with chief financial officers, chief information officers, chief human capital officers and performance officers to discuss where enterprise systems currently stand and identify opportunities to move to the cloud.

PortfolioStat will challenge agencies to think about optimizing and consolidating the data center operations. OMB also plans to look at exhibit 53s and conduct cloud-first evaluations, said Renda.

"It's more about looking at the business value and then looking at the pieces and the tradeoffs. We're also in a very tough fiscal climate. I think it's a matter of, again, thinking about how cloud best fits into thinking about mission delivery," said Renda.

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