New Study: Cost of Slow Provisioning in the Millions for Federal Agencies - (Archived)

The slow provisioning and de-provisioning of government employees can be costing the federal government millions of dollars each year, which is a key finding of a new Market Connections study, commissioned by Dell Software.

With the federal workforce totaling more than 4.4 million employees, users need instant access to technology to maintain productivity—starting the first day on the job.  With federal government turnover of approximately 80,000 personnel per month, agencies’ ability to provision and de-provision users can have a tremendous impact on operational costs.

According to the survey of 200 federal IT decision-makers, agencies are slow to move messaging and directory services to the cloud, which can play a significant role in mitigating this problem. Almost half (41%) of respondents say their agency takes one week to more than two weeks to fully provision a user, while more than a quarter (28%) take four business days to two weeks.

Forty one percent of agencies take one to two weeks to provision an employee.

Forty one percent of agencies take one to two weeks to provision an employee.

“In today’s environment, it is costly and unnecessary for agencies to take a number of weeks to fully provision new users,” said Paul Christman, vice president for public sector sales and marketing, Dell Software.Often, agencies throw people at the problem to solve this issue, which only creates additional costs and increases the risk for error. Automated directory and messaging services offer an easy solution to this challenge, requiring only 5 minutes of human interaction to fully provision a user.”

Key research findings include:

  • 41 percent of respondents say their agency takes from one week to more than two weeks to fully provision new users. Every day of lost work costs nearly $200 per new hire, costing large agencies up to $20M a year.
  • 54 percent of all agencies take more than a day for de-provisioning.
  • 26 percent of respondents have moved messaging services and 15 percent have moved directory services to more efficient cloud environments.
  • 61 percent of respondents believe their organizations are adequately staffed to de-provision users in less than 24 hours; however, more than half of all agencies take longer than one day to de-provision users.
Forty seven percent of agencies take 24 hours to de-provision and employee.

Forty seven percent of agencies take 24 hours to de-provision and employee.

A white paper detailing the poll findings also suggests increased cyber security threats as a cost of slow de-provisioning.  “Anything slower than 2 hours to de-provision a user is too slow and exposes the agency to increased security risks,” Christman said.

While almost half of poll respondents (47 percent) reported de-provisioning users within 24 hours, more than a quarter (26 percent) take one to three days, 11 percent take four to five days and 17 percent reported taking one to two weeks.  With data leaks and breaches among the top cyber security concerns, according to the 2012 Cyber Security and Transformational Technologies Study from Market Connections and Lockheed Martin’s Cyber Security Alliance, slow de-provisioning represents a significant liability for agencies, according to the white paper.

Dell suggests moving messaging and directory services to the cloud to address slow provisioning and de-provisioning and lack of sufficient staff for related tasks.

Fifty two percent of agencies are in the process or have fully implemented messaging in the cloud.

Fifty two percent of agencies are in the process or have fully implemented messaging in the cloud.


Christman said, “[Cloud] technologies reduce inefficiencies that government agencies do not have time for and mitigate unnecessary security risks introduced by slow de-provisioning of users.”

The poll found that more than half (52 percent) of agencies are in the process or have fully implemented messaging in the cloud, while more than a quarter of agencies (28 percent) either have a plan but have not started, or are assessing the opportunity but do not have a plan.

A greater proportion of civilian than defense agencies have fully implemented messaging in the cloud.

A greater proportion of civilian than defense agencies have fully implemented messaging in the cloud.

Download the full study.  Check out FedPulse’ earlier Q&A with Paul Christman about the future of government IT in today’s austere times.

For our government agency readers, what is your plan to move toward cloud-based systems to help aid in the provisioning and de-provisioning of federal employees?

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