Governments across the Asia Pacific region are likely to have the ability to build their own private clouds in order to improve on service delivery. This is according to a recent survey of IT decision-makers across Asia/Pacific excluding Japan, undertaken by IDC Government Insights.
The survey found that 59 percent of public sector respondents are confident in the ability of their internal IT departments to deploy private cloud environments.
Like most organisations, governments will be seeking cloud-based solutions to deliver cost advantages and better manage resources. However, cloud implementations need to be about inter-department collaborations and citizen relationship management, IDC Government Insights said, in order to reap the full benefits of its capabilities to deliver optimal citizen services.
This is particularly important for key initiatives like data classification for security purposes. For instance, if agencies do not align their security levels, it would prove to be a massive obstacle for future joint efforts.
IDC Government Insights cautions that high levels of private cloud adoption may not bode well for a collaborative and citizen-engaging government and pre-emptive measures should be taken for collaboration to take place across organisational boundaries.
According to Frank Levering, Research Manager for IDC Government Insights Asia/Pacific, an efficient and productive internal IT department is an asset to any organisation but the confidence to go it alone in building private clouds might run contrary to other constructive solutions.
"A department that is highly confident in running its own private cloud environment may run the risk of not reaching out to other internal departments to collaborate on cloud opportunities," he said.
To counter this possibility, IDC Government Insights recommends that whenever possible, governments should consider cloud-based collaboration services rather than independent private cloud solutions.
One positive sign is that governments across the region are increasingly recognising the need for collaboration within the cloud space.
To realise the full benefits of cloud services in the public sector, IDC Government Insights recommends that governments shoud evaluate all aspects of cloud computing. Apart from acquiring knowledge from suppliers regarding cloud computing, they should also develop security profiles for all suppliers who are being considered.
Next is putting in the right service-oriented architecture (SOA), which should come first before cloud. The right SOA needs to be in place to facilitate a smooth connection to external cloud services. Government agencies needing to build a robust SOA require a plan to tackle the transition in bite-size pieces while solidifying long-term migration to the shared services architecture.
Challenges like security concerns and decentralised data storage will be blocking issues until they are acknowledged and appropriately addressed. Many of the more complex scenarios, like customer/citizen relationship management and inter-department collaboration will depend on a government's ability to get the basics right.
Lastly, an inventory of the current environment should provide a good indication of whether systems contain sensitive data, including taxpayers' personally identifiable information and/or mission-critical data and (legacy) applications. This will provide an excellent start to planning for cloud.