MIT Report Finds Cost Savings for Cloud Adoption by Small Businesses

Cloud computing has been one the main technology trends throughout the public and private sector in 2012. With dozens of agencies embracing cloud computing for improved efficiencies, the cloud has become one of the most critical tools for agencies to explore. The cloud offers the opportunity to cut costs, improve efficiencies and assist in improved service delivery.

Andrew McAfee, a principal research scientist at the Center for Digital Business at the MIT Sloan School of Management, recently shared some of his research on the Google Policy by the Numbers blog. His findings showed how the private sector is expecting significant cost savings by moving on-premise IT to the cloud. Andrew’s blog post had a lot of interesting insights that can be applied to government. The study focused on small and medium-sized business (SMBs), which Andrew states account for 99.6% of businesses in the U.S. (Government was not included in his study).

Andrew states, “SMBs lack the constraints and legacy costs of their larger counterparts, allowing them choose the type of IT that fits best; thus, SMBs are typically the bellwethers for the future of enterprise computing.” Andrew states, “To determine how the costs of the cloud compare to on-premise IT, the model allows users to select a number of cloud computing services that cover the most common needs of SMBs, including email, office productivity software, accounting and finance software, CRM software, and file and print functionality.”

It is always interesting to take a look at the private sector and what lessons learned can be found. The private sector is not alone in the push to move to the cloud to cut costs and become more efficient. Although the cloud offers dozens of great opportunities to advance the mission of the agency, there are a lot of questions about how to make the transition to the cloud. GovLoop over this year has hosted dozens of events, and I’ve written on the topic quite a bit throughout the year. The core questions to be asking are how does this solve a specific agency problem and how does this cut costs and become more efficient. Below is another great government case study about cloud adoption. The case study highlights the Idaho National Lab, and some of the success they have had with cloud adoption.

Idaho National Lab has Gone Google

Posted by Denise Stephens, CIO, Idaho National Laboratory

Editors note: Today’s guest blogger is Denise Stephens, CIO and Information Management director of the Idaho National Laboratory (INL). INL joins a growing number of government agencies that have made the switch to Google Apps for Government.

Located in southeastern Idaho on nearly 900 square miles of desert, the Idaho National Laboratory is the lead lab for nuclear research for the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE). Employees at INL work on diverse projects that include making batteries used on United States space missions, developing new technologies for nuclear reactors, protecting critical infrastructure and operating the world’s 64th fastest supercomputer
System integrator Unisys recently completed the migration of nearly 5,000 INL employees to Google Apps for Government from Lotus Notes. INL has not taken this transition lightly. We have spent the better part of a year developing requirements, engaging in internal pilots to mitigate risk and overcoming emerging challenges as a cross-organizational team to smooth our move to the cloud. Google Apps is the right investment to move the laboratory forward while meeting the lab’s important requirements.

Due to our remote location, having a reliable, redundant email system is paramount. Google Apps’ track record of 99.9% uptime gives INL employees’ confidence that their email will be there when they need it. Some INL employees work in facilities in the city of Idaho Falls, while many others work at our complex in the desert, some 30 miles away. In the past, this geographic separation made it harder for employees to share information. Google Apps is improving communications by allowing employees to work together in real-time with voice and video chat, calendar sharing and simultaneous document editing.

In this case, INL simply couldn’t afford not to go to the cloud. This move is less expensive, and allows the lab to take a flexible, nimble and cost effective approach to lab communications. Instead of managing infrastructure, INL has chosen to invest in capabilities that support the lab’s critical mission areas


Google is a public and profitable company focused on search services. It’s mission is to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful. Check out their Google for Gov group on GovLoop as well as the Technology Sub-Community of which they are a council member.

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