GAO: Agencies' IT services moving to cloud despite poor planning

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Since the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) identified cloud computing as a major component of a government IT reform plan in December 2010, agencies have made progress implementing cloud-based services, but future efforts require better planning, according to a July 11 report published by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

The IT reform plan instituted a “cloud first” policy, directing federal agencies to identify three IT services that could be moved to cloud-based environments and calling for a complete migration of those services to the cloud by June 2012.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) was able to meet a part of the OMB’s directive, implementing one cloud-based IT service by the end of 2011 and another two by June 2012. However, the GAO report faults the HHS for failing to submit a complete plan to the OMB as required by the IT reform plan. Of 20 reform plans submitted, the OMB only received one that it deemed complete.

Based on its findings, the GAO recommended that HHS order its IT director to submit an updated plan that includes milestones and performance goals. Other federal agencies received similar recommendations.

The HHS has not yet responded to the GAO report, which is available here.