Cloud First May Be Cloud Lost

The days are growing longer as I sit in a second-floor office in northern Illinois, but barely. A rare clear, but very cold day is ending shortly after 4pm as a bright orange sun sets in the southwest outside my frosted window.

The year ends tomorrow. So may Congressional negotiations over the so-called fiscal cliff. Whether they result in an agreement or not, we now know that they will address taxation and fixed benefits (eg, Social Security) only; our “leaders” long ago abandoned any pretense of settling the tails side of the coin – fixed, dramatic cuts in spending.

The “sequestration,” as it’s called, involves an immediate cut of $110 billion in this year’s federal budget. Expect cuts of between 8 and 9 percent across the board.

The federal government has an IT budget of about $85 billion per year, so sequestration could mean cuts of around $7 billion, perhaps more. This is a big number.

Meanwhile, the government’s cloud-computing initiative seems to be as docile and inactive as it could possibly be. I wrote less than two years ago about how “stunning” the government’s Cloud First strategy was.

Meanwhile, the administration official behind it, Vivek Kundra, gathered a bunch of accolades and moved into the private sector. His replacement has been very quiet; the last missive from his office was issued in February. He tweets, but not often and not about cloud, or IT, for that matter.

I’ll keep an eye on this sequestration business and how it will in reality affect federal IT spending next year. For now, things look bleak for IT in general, and Cloud First may have become Cloud Lost.

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