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September 16, 2013

What does the US Department of Interior moving to the cloud mean for midsize business?

DOI The recent announcement that the US Department of Interior (DOI) is undertaking a 10 year migration to the cloud through IBM made headlines because of its potential One Billion Dollar ($1b) value. One can read that number and immediately assume that it is a big deal for a large government agency without much appeal to the midsize market. But if you know anything about the DOI you would realize that this move has significant impact to the midmarket as well.

While the DOI collectively rivals the size of many large enterprises, it is actually comprised of over a dozen agency and bureaus. Among them are:

· Bureau of Indian Affairs

· Bureau of Land Management

· Bureau of Ocean Energy Management

· Bureau of Reclamation

· Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement

· National Park Service

· Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement

· U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

· U.S. Geological Survey

While some of these are large organizations unto themselves, others are smaller and more closely resemble a midsize organization. The fact that they are “putting all of their eggs” in the cloud is a powerful statement indeed.

The fact that IBM is providing the cloud infrastructure as an integral part of this program is perhaps one reason why the DOI has decided to shift so much of their IT infrastructure to the cloud. But while IBM assets may be an enabler, the bigger picture is that the time for the cloud has come. Companies concerns over security and visibility into cloud deployments have been answered in many respects.

Up until now it was actually the enterprise who was leading the way in adopting the cloud. Almost counter-intuitively they were quicker to move development and some non-critical IT infrastructure to the cloud. They have the in-house security resources to supplement what they need to have to trust the cloud. On the other end of the spectrum, small companies do not have the resources to supplement the cloud, but could not compete against the cost savings that the cloud offers. So they moved to the cloud quicker as well. This left the midmarket organization in a reverse Goldilocks situation. Not enough resources to make the cloud secure enough for them, but too much to lose in using the cloud in an insecure manner.

Now companies like IBM are leading the way in offerings that will allow midmarket companies to adopt the cloud in a secure manner. By having security built into the offering like the IBM smart cloud, midmarket organizations have off the shelf solutions available.

To be clear the DOI is not making this move just to ride the wave of popularity. By moving to the cloud they are not only getting a secure environment to work in, but they are also saving a ton of very precious budget dollars. In today’s economic conscious environments the dollar savings of the cloud probably make it imperative that you take a new look about moving more of your IT infrastructure to the cloud as well. The fact that you may be getting even better security capability than you do with your own premises infrastructure is the cherry on the cake.

So if is good enough for the DOI and other parts of our security conscious government, isn’t it time that you take a fresh look at the cloud? You may find that is more than secure enough for your midmarket needs, as well as adding dollars to your bottom line.


This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. I’ve been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions.


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