Brookings: Cloud computing can save govt agencies 25-50% in costs

If someone told you that they had an idea that could help government agencies function more productively while also cutting IT costs up to 50%, wouldn’t you take them up on the offer? That’s the kind of promise cloud computing holds, and that was the topic of a forum I just attended at Brookings Institution this morning.

I had two take-aways:

First, Darrell West of Brookings released a new paper concluding that the government agencies who have adopted cloud computing solutions have generally seen “between 25 and 50 percent savings in moving to the cloud.” For the federal government, West concludes that “this translates into billions in cost savings, depending on the scope of the transition.”

Second, federal CIO Vivek Kundra (pictured right) spoke about his new plan to streamline federal government agencies’ certification of cloud computing services, by creating a “centralized certification” board designed to speed up federal cloud adoption.

Conrad Cross from the City of Orlando was on the panel this morning as well, talking about how his city reduced IT costs by 60% by using Google Apps. And the City of Los Angeles -- which adopted Google Apps a few months ago and expects to save millions of dollars a year -- makes a cameo in Brookings’ report.

We’re big believers that governments ought to make sure cloud computing is treated on a level playing field in procurement decisions, along with desktop and server-based computing. Brookings made several recommendations in their new paper on how policymakers can do that, and we hope Congress will take up their challenge.