Government agencies continue to adopt the cloud, with the Department of Health and Human Services providing the latest proof point. HHS has tapped Acumen Solutions, a business and technology consulting firm, to provide cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM). Here are some quick details.

Specifically, Acumen will roll out a CRM/project management solution from Salesforce.com. Acumen, a Salesforce.com consulting partner, also pursues cloud projects with Google Enterprise and SpringCM among other cloud platforms.

In Acumen’s HHS deal, the speed of cloud deployment was key. The department is funding a network of regional extension centers that will help healthcare providers deploy electronic health record (EHR) systems. Providers who demonstrate “meaningful use” of EHRs will receive financial incentives. The dollars become available next year, so the extension centers need to get operational fairly soon to help out the doctors.

Donita Prakash, CMO at Acumen, said the customer’s main CRM challenge was getting the system established quickly. In her view, only a cloud-based application could meet HHS’ needs.

The regional extension centers will use the Salesforce.com offering to “manage all interactions with medical providers related to their selection and implementation of an EHR solution,” according to Acumen.

Deadline pressure isn’t the only thing drawing governments to the cloud. The lower upfront costs also appeal to budget-constrained agencies. If you’re inclined to pursue SaaS/cloud solutions in the federal sector, keep in mind the difficulty of accessing this market. A relationship with a General Services Administration Schedule 70 contract holder is probably a must.