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Voting for a Government in the Cloud

Presidential election years are always fun for me. Amid the pomp, circumstance, and political theater is the hope that our nation will choose a capable individual to lead us into an auspicious future. In the months leading up, I do what I can to attend rallies, speak to fellow voters, and get informed on all the issues facing me and my fellow citizens.

Looking at my government’s technology, on the other hand, doesn’t spark the same excitement.

According to reports from the United States government, many federal organizations are still running on outdated technology, with 68% of budgets dedicated to supporting legacy systems. Here are a few examples:

  • The Defense Department still uses floppy disks to send information to and from its nuclear forces.
  • The Social Security Administration still manages its systems using COBOL, a coding language once popular in the ’70s.
  • The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) manages many tax returns in its system using assembly language.

In short, while these systems stand alone, they don’t allow for an open, collaborative government that’s up to speed with the modern tech world. That said, IDC predicts that government agencies are getting smart and looking to allocate 5.8% of their budgets towards the cloud this year, including $1.2 billion dollars on infrastructure projects. Software and platform projects are also of interest as well.

A Vote for Innovation

Government adoption of the cloud takes on numerous advantages for both citizens and the services they consume on a day-to-day basis. The following are some sample relevant use cases for consideration:

  • Agility in Cost: It’s often argued that government is the least efficient entity in the room. While I take no position on the elimination of government agencies, it has been made clear that there are fiscal advantages to adopting the cloud. Instead of managing legacy systems, the cloud offers any government agency the opportunity to adopt cost flexibility. In the end, that means that we can retire legacy technology while enjoying lower budgets and more money in the wallets of citizens.
  • Agency Collaboration: The unfortunate downside to legacy systems despite their reliability is that they stand alone. By moving to the cloud, government agencies stand to see more collaboration and share information more easily, which makes everything more efficient, even during changing business conditions.
  • Government Transparency: Government transparency is supported by the cloud. For example, citizens in California this November are voting on a proposition that will require that any bill up for a vote must be shared online for at least 72 hours before passage, which will include video and documents. In short, a successful passage will ultimately mean the investment in cloud solutions to store all of this content in the past and for years to come.
  • Security: The final concern for many government organizations is the security of documents. With the news of unauthorized leaks gripping the news this year, these cloud worries are valid. However, the benefit to a government agency is that moving into the cloud ultimately means keeping the cloud secure is entirely up to the partner, and not the agency itself. Handing off a technology advantage is always a good thing in this case.

In Cloud We Trust

How do you think government agencies can adopt the cloud? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below or send us an email at to set up a conversation with one of our experts.

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Albert Qian

Albert Qian is a Marketing Manager at Perficient for our IBM PCS, DevOps, and Enterprise Solutions Partners focused on cloud computing technologies.

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