Spurred on by the federal "Cloud First" policy and by rapidly aging technology, government agencies at all levels have started moving certain workloads into the cloud (see "The Feds Put 'Cloud First,'" which follows this article). However, those investments will remain stalled throughout the rest of this year and into next, according to IDC's Government Insights unit, and for one big reason that should come as no surprise: sequestration.
The good news is that the stagnation in the federal sector should end by mid-2014 and cloud spending should take off after that, IDC said in a July 2013 report. "Investments should reach a critical mass around 2015 and beyond," said Shawn McCarthy, research director at IDC Government Insights. "A new emphasis on cloud solutions is expected to return within the next 18 months, and private cloud investments should approach $7.7 billion by fiscal year 2017."
This lag time could prove beneficial for channel partners thinking about adding government sales to their portfolios — there's time to prepare. Indeed, given bureaucracy's arcane processes and stipulations, thorough knowledge is a must when bidding for any public agency's contracts. There is payoff, though. "Doing business with the government is a lucrative, albeit complex, endeavor ... well worth the effort and time if the [partner] creates a proper center of competency to achieve success," said Kent Landry, senior consultant for cloud and data center managed services at Windstream Hosted Solutions.
To reach that point, it's necessary to become well-versed in the sales challenges partners face when targeting government agencies, and to know some best practices for overcoming those issues.