Cloud catalysts in government

Cloud catalysts in government

Five agencies provide an alternative to 'snakes and ladders' development of ICT capabilities in the public sector.

Cloud services have been debated for many years, but it is now time to stop discussing theory and start discussing the actual experiences of early adopters. In Ovum’s report Why Government Agencies Need the Cloud, we concluded that agencies should consider using cloud services as an alternative way to access the ICT capabilities required to boost innovation and cut costs. We observed that many government agencies are stuck in a game of ICT snakes and ladders, unable to sustainably develop strong ICT capabilities because of funding, resource, and skill constraints.

Governments' demands for ICT-enabled policy and service innovation are outstripping their capacity to fund the ICT capabilities of agencies.

Mature, enterprise-grade cloud services provide a solution to this dilemma. They deliver a cloud innovation edge to agencies, enabling them to benefit from access to world-class ICT capabilities at a lower cost than would otherwise be possible.

Five case studies reveal that cloud services can be better, faster, less expensive and less risky than traditional ICT projects

This report examines the experiences of five public sector organisations that have found success with the three main categories of cloud services: Infrastructure-as-Service (IaaS), Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS).

Employment Plus, Salvation Army (Telstra Dedicated Hosting – IaaS)

Employment Plus helps people to gain workplace skills and to find employment. It employs around 750 employees in 80 office locations across Australia. It needed access to up-to-date ICT infrastructure that could scale up and down depending on business needs. Telstra’s Dedicated Hosting IaaS solution met the business needs and reduced Employment Plus's ICT costs.

The Torres Strait Islands Regional Council (Telstra Utility Hosting – IaaS)

The TSIRC serves a population of around 6,000 residents in 15 island communities spread across 42,000 sq km in Far North Queensland. The expiry of a managed service contract provided the council with an opportunity to move to Telstra’s Utility Hosting IaaS service. Service quality, reliability, responsiveness, and integrity have all improved after the move to cloud services.

Monash University (Google Apps Education Edition – SaaS)

Monash University is Australia’s largest university, with approximately 15,000 staff and 63,000 students spread across six Australian and four international campuses. Its business strategy called for stronger collaboration and innovation. Google Apps Education Edition transformed the way staff and students interacted and reduced costs while providing better ICT services.

The Department of Environment and Resource Management, Queensland (Microsoft Dynamics CRM – SaaS)

DERM is the lead agency for policy and services to conserve, protect, and manage Queensland’s environment and natural resources. A business unit needed to put in place a system for managing regulatory interactions. Microsoft’s Dynamics CRM was implemented in three months, satisfying the business need and providing flexible support for a rapidly evolving regulatory requirement.

The Department of Business and Innovation, Victoria (Salesforce - SaaS/PaaS)

DBI, as Victoria’s lead agency for economic development, is involved in many hundreds of thousands of interactions each year with many stakeholders. DBI deployed Salesforce for its global engagement management system and for grants management. The project created a single department-wide process and systems platform and reduced project and operational costs.

Detailed case studies are provided in the report. The case studies illustrate that benefits were greater than expected while risks and difficulties were lower than typically experienced by traditional ICT projects. These proof points reveal that cloud services do actually live up to the promise of better, faster, less expensive, and less risky ICT.

The Ovum Cloud Services Catalysts Framework reveals the organisational characteristics of early adopters

The case studies of early adopters, however, reveal more about leadership and decision-making than they do about the abstract benefits of the cloud delivery model. Early adopters are to be admired for their leadership in embracing new technology to drive policy and service delivery innovation.

While early adopters are experiencing success with the adoption of cloud services, the fact is that the majority of agencies have yet to experience the benefits of the cloud innovation edge. Indeed, many appear to remain skeptical of the cloud delivery model. What factors explain the propensity of agencies to avail themselves of cloud services? We propose a framework to analyse the catalysts that led some agencies to become early adopters.

The Ovum Cloud Services Catalysts Framework defines the key leadership decisions, business needs, and internet-age-thinking catalysts that empower agencies to embrace the cloud. These catalysts include: an imperative or willingness to act; an acknowledged mismatch between business needs and ICT means; an opportunity for a fresh "greenfield" start; willingness to use a service with no/minimal customisation; the need for a scalable solution (up and down); the need for ubiquitous access (any device, any location); the preparedness to access iteratively evolving functionality to drive innovation; and the enthusiasm to embrace an agile and flexible platform and an ecosystem of solutions.

The catalyst framework provides a tool for thinking about the degree to which a cloud service is a good fit for the characteristics of an agency. It also provides a diagnostic tool for thinking about the catalysts that may need to be created or nurtured in order to enable agencies to understand and embrace the cloud-innovation edge.

Dr Steve Hodgkinson is Research Director IT – Asia Pacific for Ovum.

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