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Federal-Focused MSP Finds Groove In Hybrid Offering

‘A vast minority, like 5 percent of the workloads in the federal space, are in the cloud today, so that means up to 95 percent are in the queue to be moved,’ says Brendan Walsh, senior vice president of partner relations with 1901 Group.

The federal government's push to transform on-premises systems to cloud and hybrid solutions is giving one solution provider, 1901 Group, a significant opportunity by helping to build out those systems for customers, said Brendan Walsh, senior vice president of partner relations at the Reston, Va.-based firm.

“A vast minority, like 5 percent of the workloads in the federal space, are in the cloud today, so that means up to 95 percent are in the queue to be moved and the art of the next 5 to 10 years, both for the agencies and the providers is how do you, how does the customer categorize applications, workloads or infrastructure, that are going to be retired versus retained on-prem, just kept alive, versus rehosted – sort of a lift and shift – versus replatformed, versus, refactored, versus rewritten,” Walsh told CRN. “Those categories of potential complexity versus simplicity, that to me is the art.”

With years of experience working with clients in federal government, Walsh said 1901 Group sees that one reason those customers are still managing workloads on prem is that no one has provided these agencies an assessment that can articulate the benefits to cost and manpower of shifting some work to the cloud.

“The lack of that assessment information is the biggest obstacle,” he said. “The ability to sit with a prospect or a customer and for them to really have a granular, organized, assessment of their infrastructure, their applications, the dependencies, the use case, the user experienced, they just haven’t been built to run that way in the past.”

1901 Group has created its own assessment tool, which it’s rolling out to government clients, but one holdup is the stake holders in the agencies to buy in. He said that is key whether 1901 Group is dealing with customers at the federal level or private sector.

“I do think it’s getting better, he said. “There’s less abject fear of cloud and automation today then there was a year ago, or two years ago, or three years ago. Folks see that it’s coming, whether you like it or not, it’s a fact. It’s reality. This is not an easy sale. Even if a government purchase card holder could use their card and purchase a $25,000 assessment, to actually successfully perform the assessment they have to buy in from their organization. This isn’t like buying a stapler and handing them out.”

Walsh said the nature of their niche in working with government will likely see the company shift who it works for, from civilian workloads to military workloads in the near future.

“There’s so much opportunity in DOD, and across DOD, that firms like ours have to be there,” he said. “The federal civilian is still going to be our sweet spot, this year, year two and three, but if you’re looking five, 10 year horizon, in defense, there are thousands of workloads. And the firms that can handle the security issues and handle the complexity of the assessment and the organizational challenges of working across really massive systems, whether it’s weapon system building, or the system integrator body shop, or it’s the cloud migration, as the next big thing, DOD is just a huge potential.”

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