This is not the case only in Romania. Other governments have been faced with the same problems and have had to act to transform themselves and create value. Even though it is new and still maturing, Cloud services have proved to be an alternative to consider and many governments have already decided to take advantage of the benefits of Cloud.
A study undertaken by KPMG on Cloud exploration from the public sector perspective revealed that government adoption of Cloud is happening slowly, but is poised to accelerate. Cloud environments are already at work today reducing operating costs. Such models are enabling optimization of asset utilization and flexibility in both the scale and scope of IT services.
The results of the survey indicate that already a large number of government entities are taking steps to better understand the advantages offered by Cloud. As such, 29% of the respondents from the public sector say they have developed a Cloud strategy, 24% have tested the Cloud concept, while 19% have a partial Cloud implementation.
Among the economic drivers to migrating to Cloud, both public and private sectors share several common preferences: cost reductions (50% of the respondents from each sector) and obtaining a better interaction with customers/citizens and suppliers, (39% of the respondents from each sector). However, the companies from the private sector also see improved time to market as an important economic driver (35% of respondents), while governments consider improved transparency as a critical economic driver (37% of respondents).
“Budget deficits and austerity programs in many countries, including Romania, provide a compelling reason for governments to take a closer look at the potential savings”, says Aurelia Costache, Management Consulting Partner at KPMG in Romania.
Also, according to the study, almost three quarters (73%) of government respondents said that cost reductions represented an important incentive for their organization to move to a Cloud environment. However, the problem that remains is that many of the respondents were not yet convinced that the cost savings of Cloud were real, accessible or even sustainable.
Ensuring security and building trust
Even though governments’ concerns over security only slightly exceed those of the private sector (47% versus 44%), large government organizations have a different view, placing security as a critical factor for implementing Cloud, with a response rate of 56%, higher than that of large private companies or smaller size government organizations (45% and 33% respectively).
One of the explanations for having such a focus on Cloud security is that besides personal data held by governments, which is often quite sensitive, governments are also the favorite target for hackers.
“The advantages of adopting Cloud can be profound for government IT departments, through process efficiency and redirection of on-site IT staff to value added activities, as well as the ability to access IT resources and infrastructure as needed.” says Aurelia Costache. By implementing the Cloud, Governments can direct resources towards accomplishing their true goals and, as the adoption of Cloud shifts from concept to implementation, innovation is very likely to emerge as a by-product of the process. As Cloud reduces the footprint of IT operations, agencies are free to focus more on the effectiveness of their programs, and less on IT management.
The Cloud could be used to increase interoperability between various government agencies, reduce redundancy, as well as to track / monitor the effectiveness of government schemes. Transparency in Government can be achieved at a faster pace through the adoption of Cloud.
Adopting the Cloud in the Healthcare sector will facilitate the provisioning of healthcare products and services to patients located in remote areas and those that have limited access to quality medical services.
Also, the Cloud promises to make the education system more interactive and innovative with unique resources readily available to all students. This could change the way in which education is delivered and financed.
Governments from all around the world are already taking steps into Cloud. An example is Ontario, Canada, where a private Cloud pilot project was tested. The pilot project centers on accessing and managing coming shared services like email and cooperation tools and, according to the project coordinators, now “they are better informed and in a position to harvest some of the learning to see what potential exists for the cloud in the Ontario Public Sector.”
What awaits us in the future?
“Governments around the world are seeking to digitize their economies to connect all members of society through access to – and the sharing of – digital content via the Internet from anyplace at anytime to work, play, consume and learn”, says Aurelia Costache. “Cloud is a platform that, when combined with the Internet and a growing access to powerful personal devices, will make the Digital Economy truly possible. Moving towards a Cloud-enabled government may generate significant opportunities for government to innovate and appropriately transform both processes and services. Considering the transformations Romania is currently going through, now is the time to open access to the Cloud and innovate.”
About the Survey
This survey of 429 government executives as well as 808 private sector executives was conducted in 10 countries. Also, one-on-one interviews were conducted with a number of government leaders around the world. Countries included in this survey were: Australia, Canada, Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, the UK and the US. The survey took into account three different factors: the size of the organization, the level of government and title, and the selected countries, covering all continents.
More than half (53 percent) of government respondents worked at the national level, and 31 percent of respondents had C-level titles within government. Almost half of the government respondents (46 percent) had budgets of US$1 billion or more and 23 percent had budgets of US$10 billion or more.