Agencies Must Think ‘Cloud-first,’ Zients Says

Jeffrey Zients, OMB; Photo:,

Coming hot on the heels of the administration’s announcement of a new approach to federal IT procurement, officials also announced a new “cloud-first” strategy, which some observers see as the administration’s most significant stamp of approval yet on web-based computing.

Speaking at the Northern Virginia Technology Council on Nov. 19, federal Chief Performance Officer Jeffrey Zients said the Office of Management and Budget will push federal agencies to think of cloud-computing solutions first and actually work on implementing them.

“What this means is that going forward, when evaluating options for new IT development, OMB will require that agencies default to cloud-based solutions whenever a secure, reliable, cost-effective cloud option exists,” Zients said, according to a report on Datamation.

Datamation also reports that while cloud supporters hype cloud’s opportunities for increased collaboration and productivity, deploying it more fully will likely mean cutting back on existing infrastructure.

Zients’ cloud announcement comes as part of the administration’s far-reaching plans to restructure and reform federal IT projects, including procurement reform and the closing of federal data centers.

The government will hold an open meeting Dec. 9 to detail the government’s broad IT plans, according to The Washington Post.

In a Q&A after Zients’ talk, Federal Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra, a vocal supporter of web-based computing platforms and federal tech innovation, touted cloud computing’s opportunities for “new ideas, new energy, new ways of solving really, really difficult problems.”

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