IDC Government Insights has announced a first of its kind forecast that examines how the US Federal government is spending part of its IT budget on cloud-based solutions.

According to the new report, Perspective: Growth and Slight Contraction – Government Cloud Spending by US Federal Agency, while spending increases for cloud have been scarce across federal agencies for two years, IDC Government Insights expects to see an acceleration after fiscal year 2014. This boost is helped along by enterprise architecture standards and rules, which in turn helps to create a commodity approach to cloud solutions.

For the past three years, the US Federal CIO Council has been urging government agencies to move away from stand-alone computing solutions and toward cloud-based solutions. That effort is slowly having an effect on agency-level cloud spending. Government lags behind the private sector when it comes to cloud investment, but even as a latecomer, its consumption will accelerate.

Key findings of the report include:
• The leading category of government cloud service is private.
• Federal private cloud services spending will reach $1.7-billion in FY2014. IDC Government Insights expects to see this market reach $7.7 billion by FY2017.
• Across other industries, Software as a Service (SaaS) is the leading type of cloud. But in government, it’s Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). Between now and 2017, IaaS will grow to $5.4-billion, SaaS will grow to $2.4-billion and Platform as a Service (PaaS) will grow to $1.1-billion.
• The Treasury Department is the leading consumer of public cloud, while the Social Security Administration (SSA) is the leader for private cloud, and the Justice Department is the leader for community cloud.
• From a technology standpoint, the Justice Department is the leading consumer of SaaS while SSA leads for PaaS and IaaS.

Cloud investments have been stalled in 2013 and 2014 by sequestration, by a slowdown in system consolidation efforts, and by other government-wide issues, such as the complexity of establishing enterprise architecture standards.

But IDC Government Insights expects to see this stagnation end by mid 2014, and federal cloud spending resume, especially after 2015.