Although the “Cloud First” mandate first introduced by President Obama in 2010 was the ideal first-step in moving to more virtualized IT systems, there’s still some room to grow and improve in this area.

Of course, this is no small task, with the federal government having a $80-billion-a-year IT budget. As such, recent reports indicate the federal government still maintains more than 10,000 of its own data centers. But all signs are starting to point in the right direction.

According to Deltek, federal cloud computing spending is projected to grow to $6.4 billion in fiscal year 2021 – an impressive compound annual growth rate of 15 percent since 2016.

As highlighted in this recent GCN guest article by Bob Dunn, Vice President, U.S. Federal, Juniper Networks, industry members have been leading the way by providing virtual versions of traditional hardware solutions, which include firewalls, routers and switches.

Dunn also discusses how the Modernizing Government Technology Act (MGT) is helping to enhance the move to the cloud for many federal agencies:

MGT Act specifically cites a transition to “cloud computing and other innovative platforms and technologies.” This stake in the ground will help continue to drive government cloud adoption and maturity, supported by Amazon and Microsoft’s extensive marketplaces. Agencies will have resources through which they can easily adopt solutions that will enable them to create more scalable and agile networks.

The article goes on to highlight how government-sanctioned marketplaces make it easier to purchase virtual solutions, and how they decrease overall network complexity during consolidation efforts.

Essentially, Dunn makes the case for how all of the foundational elements are now in place for any federal agency to embrace the “cloud first” mandate. This is why we are naming Dunn as this week’s GovTransformer. Stay tuned for our ongoing coverage of other federal IT leaders that are truly transforming how the government can best support mission goals through the most effective use of IT.