OMB Marks Agency Cloud Migration Progress, Sets More Milestones

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The Office of Management and Budget recently released its Q3 FY 2018 progress update to the President’s Management Agenda’s cross-agency priority (CAP) goals, and for CAP goal No. 1, IT Modernization, it appears that there has been a notable progression on cloud adoption in the Federal government.

The Q3 FY2018 update found that “approximately 61 percent of civilian CFO Act agency email inboxes are now serviced by cloud-based solutions,” as of August 2018, up from the 45 percent figure in the previous quarter.

The push to move agencies to cloud-based email is one that the administration has long been touting. Federal CIO Suzette Kent indicated last month that she was closely tracking the numbers, and relayed her excitement when agencies had finally crossed the 50 percent threshold.

But the ultimate goal of moving 95 percent of civilian agency inboxes to the cloud is a lofty one, considering the expanse of the .gov domain. The PMA had set a modest timeline to get there. In Q2 FY2018, the PMA noted that it was “on track” to reach the 95 percent goal by Q4 FY2020–more than two full years away.

With the release of the Q3 FY2018 update, however, it appears the administration decided it needed another signpost along the way. The latest progress report includes a new “near term key milestone,” which wasn’t present in the previous quarter. The PMA is looking to get 75 percent of CFO Act agency inboxes in the cloud by Q4 FY2019.

That leaves just about a year to get there, and based on the progress over the last quarter, it seems that the push across the Federal enterprise could be enough to get it over the line.

But cloud email isn’t the only type of cloud-based solution the PMA advocates. The progress update, which also serves as an “action plan” for IT Modernization activities, promotes both shared services that can be accessed through the cloud, and cutting down agency barriers to cloud procurement.

One of the strategic outcomes the PMA is driving toward is to “empower agencies to utilize the full benefits of secure cloud-based computing solutions to strategically drive mission objective.” One of the milestones for that outcome has a due date that’s fast approaching.

OMB has promised the first update to its cloud strategy since 2011, due to be delivered by the end of Q4 FY2018. That’s the same deadline for OMB to institute standard cloud contracting guidance. As of this latest PMA update, the administration still says it’s “on track.” But it will need to deliver on both of those in the next 10 days if it wants to stay true to its word.

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