Written in collaboration with Aaron Erickson, Director Government Innovation, Oracle Public Sector North America
There is no doubt that the move to cloud computing is here. But many organizations still struggle with an essential question: What is the best way to get there?
Public service agencies, including those in government, education, and healthcare are always looking for lower-cost and more flexible ways to improve the efficiency, flexibility, operational agility and integrity of their systems. Cloud computing has come to be recognized as both a business and deployment model that enables public sector organizations to achieve these aspirations.
U.S. federal government agencies are implementing cloud computing with the support of the Federal CIO, the Office of Management and Budget and the General Services Administration. Meanwhile, worldwide, governments and local agencies, burdened by budget cuts, a rapidly aging workforce and increased service demand, particularly in health and social care, have initiated several strategies. In the UK, the Digital by Default strategy estimates that moving services from offline to digital channels will save between £1.7 and £1.8 billion a year (nearly $2.5 billion USD) while in Australia officials plan with their Digital First policy that by 2020, four out of five Australians will choose to engage with the government through the internet or other types of online service. Similar initiatives are underway in Canada, Japan and many other nations.
Public Sector organizations are facing increased public expectation to access services quickly and conveniently, when and where it suits them. By developing an agency culture that puts citizens' needs first forces government leaders to plan and design services focused on specific user tasks, and using digital technology to drive improved services at lower costs. Today's modern agencies are consistent in their approach as they move toward the cloud, and often start by examining two important components:
Government Journey to Cloud:
If you're reading this blog then you most likely have already started the journey. Hopefully, you have a complete plan that takes into account short- and long-term objectives. The most successful early cloud adopters were able to mix rapid uptake with thoughtful, long-term planning. Cloud computing should be tackled as a strategic plan within your organization to ensure there is the right level of support and business alignment to be successful. I recommend this approach:
Moving to cloud does not mean that agencies must replace every single system. Cloud is complementary to existing IT infrastructure. The goal should be to identify which functions and systems could be more efficient in the cloud and would provide the greatest return on investment, and deliver the most business value to users. It is an iterative process.
Everyone's journey to cloud is slightly different and is typically based on their business and technology environment. Certain steps inevitably will be more challenging than others. Learn from your peers by reading about their successes and challenges. The new GovLoop cloud guide offers a variety federal and state and local examples of agencies successfully making the journey. Creating a blueprint and gaining upfront support is a key part of ensuring you make it across the finish line.