The Department of the Interior (DOI) has completed the migration of its SAP-based financial and business management system (FBMS) to the cloud, making it the first Federal agency to do so, according to an announcement made Monday by Unisys, the contractor on the project.

The move has allowed DOI to achieve flexibility, while maintaining the department’s “stringent requirements for the high availability of data and applications,” Unisys officials said in a news release. The Unisys team collaborated closely with the DOI to orchestrate a coordinated migration to the cloud and to manage the services once live, Unisys said.

The project has also helped DOI meet criteria established in the Office of Management and Budget’s Cloud First Policy of 2011, mandating that Federal agencies take advantage of the cost savings and efficiencies of cloud computing.

The DOI migration to the cloud follows a recent Government Accountability Office study, which found little progress among seven Federal agencies toward moving to the cloud.

“The Department of the Interior’s migration of its financial management system to the cloud marks a milestone in the U.S. Federal government’s push to harness the benefits of cloud computing,” said Casey Coleman, group vice president for the civilian agencies at Unisys Federal.

Unisys conducted the migration under a task order awarded under DOI’s Foundation Cloud Hosting Services (FCHS) contract. FCHS serves as an essential component of DOI’s five-year IT Transformation Strategic Plan, issued in 2011, to significantly cut costs with “a 21st century service delivery organization that provides innovative technologies at lower cost to support our mission areas.”

FBMS gives the DOI and its component bureaus exceptional abilities to plan, budget, allocate, account for, analyze, and report on all their budgetary, appropriation, expenditure, acquisition, grant, and property activities. The system uses SAP and Compusearch core business management and reporting components, and integrates with supporting payroll, procurement, and travel systems.

Unisys will help manage the DOI cloud environment using standard and proven processes and monitoring tools, the company’s officials said. “This approach simplifies management of the SAP and Compusearch cloud infrastructure and tightly aligns with DOI and its internal processes,” they added.

Unisys partnered with Virtustream on the project, with Unisys providing an Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) solution. Unisys also provided Virtustream’s SAP in the Cloud hosting services.

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Diana Manos