May 13 2016

Arizona Makes Cloud Computing a Statewide Priority

Legislation that awaits the governor’s signature will see the Grand Canyon state put its cloud-foot forward.

While some states are still sampling the cloud, Arizona has opted to skip the appetizer and head straight to the cloud buffet.

The state’s legislature has successfully drafted and submitted a law, S.B. 1434, for Governor Doug Ducey’s approval that would require state agencies to shift their IT resources and operations to the cloud. The section that mandates cloud migration reads:

The department shall adopt a policy that establishes a two-year hardware, platform and software refresh evaluation cycle for budget units that requires each budget unit to evaluate and progressively migrate the budget unit’s information technology assets to use a commercial cloud computing model or cloud model as defined by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The policy must direct budget units to consider purchasing and using cloud computing services before making any new information technology or telecommunications investment.

It’s certainly a bold step for Arizona to not only encourage cloud adoption, but mandate it and require two-year refresh and evaluation cycles to assess whether those assets that aren’t in the cloud should remain that way.

It’s the sort of move that will undoubtedly make Arizona a cloud champion among state and local governments.

Keeping Up with the Pace of Business

Given the strength of the legislation that Arizona is attempting to pass, it makes you wonder, why so much cloud so fast?

Arizona CIO Morgan Reed says it’s because the state wants to be as agile and accelerated as the private sector.

“Governor Ducey has a vision for Arizona to move at the speed of business. So the question should be, why not the cloud? The private sector has been leveraging cloud technologies to securely deliver some of the most trusted services we all use on a daily basis,” says Reed. “Government needs the same benefits that the cloud provides to the private sector: agility, scalability and reliability, as well as an operational expense model that allows us to only pay for what we are using every month.”

Reed’s experience in the private sector is worth noting: He became CIO of Arizona in October last year after serving as director of data center services at Expedia. So when Reed speaks of the benefits of moving at the pace of the cloud, he does so with prior experience.

While cost, speed and efficiency are all solid reasons for making the cloud a priority, another practical reason to switch to the cloud is to refocus the state’s IT resources where it’s needed most: on delivering services for the state.

“IT is woven into the business processes of the state, so including cloud in our IT strategy will free the state to focus on our core competencies of managing applications and delivering services,” says Reed. “It will also reduce total cost of ownership and increase our ability to respond faster to the needs to the citizens. Additionally, it will accelerate new opportunities for collaboration and data sharing between agencies and state employees.”

Once Gov. Ducey signs the legislation, Arizona’s IT can officially declare itself cloud country.

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