open doors to cloud (Sergey Nivens/

Feds choose cloud for HR apps

As federal agencies continue floating infrastructure and services to the cloud, their most mission-critical cloud-based applications relate to human resources, according to a new report from research firm IDC.

“CloudPath 2019: Government Apps Head to Cloud”( #US44344519), based on IDC’s 2019 “Worldwide Industry CloudPath Survey” of 101 federal government responders, found that about 90% of respondents rated human capital management (HCM) as the most important cloud-based apps. Enterprise asset management was a close second at more than 89%, with professional services automation coming in third at 88.5%.

The reason for the focus on HR, the report states, is that agencies “are deploying cloud-based future of work (FoW) solutions to connect devices and collect, combine and manage data from different domains to provide a unified view and enable more responsive operations by leveraging digitally connected secure information.” What’s more, cloud-based solutions can solve computational problems with processing workforce management data in real time, the report states.

An August 2019 IDC report titled “Leveraging Technology to Enable the Future of Work in Government” (#US45433119) found that 47.5% of 101 federal executives using cloud-based HCM said cloud-based HCM apps were mission-critical, while 42.4% said they are highly important.

It used to be that compliance with mandates and executive orders drove federal agencies toward the cloud, but now leaders look to the technology for modernization, transformation and re-platforming, according to the CloudPath report.

The Cloud Smart strategy that Federal CIO Suzette Kent issued in September 2018 pushes agencies to replace their “buy before build” mentality with a “solve before buy” approach. In other words, “the question shouldn’t be whether to move to a vendor-supported cloud, but what services can be provided more effectively by moving workloads to the cloud,” the report states.

Asked what the biggest trigger for cloud is, 55.4% of respondents cited the demand for more agility and/or speed from IT, followed by modernization at 47.5% and data center changes at 45.5%.

Although security remains a top concern about cloud, about half the respondents said improved security is an expected benefit from either public or private cloud. Improved business agility comes in second at almost 50% for public cloud and almost 40% for private.

In fact, 80% of respondents said they use public cloud for more than one or two small applications, while about 70% use a private cloud for those, according to the report.

IDC recommends that agencies embrace cloud as a foundation for digital transformation, identify which environments workloads work best in  and use analytics and artificial intelligence to monitor for risk and compliance in hybrid cloud resources.

About the Author

Stephanie Kanowitz is a freelance writer based in northern Virginia.

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