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Feds to cut 800-plus data centers by 2015

December 10, 2010 06:00 AM ET

More broadly, the plan doesn't offer an estimated price tag for implementation or an overall savings goal.

Ray Bjorklund, an analyst at Federal Sources Inc., said he likes the plan, but sees it as more of concept at this point that combines the White House's oft-stated IT goals. "This report summarizes many of those initiatives all together in one context," he said.

"It's not quite an action plan," said Bjorklund, but it does tie together the parts needed to make it work. For instance, in discussing the use of cloud environments, the plan talks about the need for "experienced and well-trained IT acquisition professionals."

As outlined, the plan would lead to a more economical IT environment, said Bjorklund.

It's effectiveness, though, could vary among agencies.

Federal agencies could experience trade-offs in a more standardized environment, and what may be good for one agency may have shortcomings for another. "But it will be more efficient, need less physical infrastructure," along with fewer contracts and fewer operating people, Bjorklund said.

Bjorklund said the plan's personnel cuts could affect contractors in particular.

"This is going to require major cultural shift," said Deniece Peterson, an analyst at government market research firm Input. "Who wants to work themselves out of a job?"

The government can't afford to get rid of a whole lot of people, said Peterson. However, she added, because of "the fact that it isn't stated, I think people in government will make the assumption that this will impact me negatively simply because there has not been a dedicated message. "

"You need the federal workforce and vendor workforce to buy into this in order to accomplish it, but if what you are trying to accomplish could have negative implications on them, then how much progress can you actually make?" said Peterson.

The IT plan may not be a negative, but for now it is an aspect of the plan that is "is missing from the conversation," she added.

Patrick Thibodeau covers SaaS and enterprise applications, outsourcing, government IT policies, data centers and IT workforce issues for Computerworld. Follow Patrick on Twitter at Twitter@DCgov, or subscribe to Patrick's RSS feed Thibodeau RSS. His e-mail address is pthibodeau@computerworld.com.

Read more about Government IT in Computerworld's Government IT Topic Center.



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