Critical Read

Survey says platform-as-a-service can save $20.5 billion in IT

image of man and programming code

What:MeriTalk report titled “PaaS or Play? Cloud’s Next Move,” underwritten by Red Hat Inc.

Why: The government spends more than $80 billion on IT every year, but close to three-quarters of it is spent maintaining outdated legacy systems.  

The MeriTalk study, released Nov. 20, surveyed 153 federal IT professionals – 75 percent from civilian agencies and 25 percent from defense and intelligence agencies – and found feds believe platform-as-a-service has the potential to cut federal IT costs by $20.5 billion annually by speeding up software development.

The study suggests that current software development processes are slow and expensive, with software application development cycles average 3.5 years. Feds believe platform-as-a-service offerings can reduce that lag time by 31 percent, resulting in hugely more efficient development at cheaper costs.


  • 92 percent of feds say PaaS offers vital support for cloud computing
  • 90 percent say it offers support for data center consolidation
  • 92 percent of feds say PaaS offers vital support for cloud computing
  • 79 percent of feds believe using PaaS will help their agency take advantage of shared services
  • 77 percent say new application development is vital to their agency’s ability to meet mission objectives
  • 73 percent of feds believe using PaaS will help their agency take advantage of Big Data
  • 69 percent of feds believe using PaaS will help them take advantage of mobile  computing
  • 42 percent of feds believe a PaaS transition will improve security
  • 50 percent of feds feel they are missing out because they are “locked in” to current technology contracts
  • Feds estimate 41 percent of their agency’s software applications need refreshment or replacement


About the Author

Frank Konkel is a former staff writer for FCW.

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Reader comments

Thu, Nov 21, 2013 Cowboy Joe

Well, I guess it depends on how you define "IT" ... inclusive or exclusive of those things they call "National Security Systems". PaaS may make a lot of sense for routine admin systems, maybe even for some development environments, but as soon as y' start talkin' warheads on foreheads PaaS might sink into a few sticky mudholes with regard to profiteering and mercenary warfare.

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