Mar 05 2019

How State and Local Governments Can Use the Full Potential of the Cloud

The manner in which government agencies use the cloud should determine how they acquire services.

State CIOs and IT leaders identify many elements of a successful cloud migration strategy, StateTech reports. But how state and local government agencies decide to deploy the cloud may best depend on why they deploy the cloud, as demonstrated by popular uses for government.

State and local government leaders maximize their investments in cloud platforms by using them in various ways. And some of the biggest vendors in public sector cloud highlight those use cases.

For example, IBM touts its cloud capabilities to modernize applications and leverage data wherever it may reside. Under a 10-year contract with IBM, Ohio migrated the data centers of 26 cabinet-level agencies into a central computing center. In so doing, it also developed a disaster recovery plan. “Consolidation efforts alone improved each state agency’s disaster recovery systems. Some agencies had an unorganized DR system; others didn’t have a system at all,” GCN reported.

Microsoft hails the capabilities of its Azure cloud platform to drive digital transformation, providing states with collaboration tools that increase the efficiency of existing systems

“Utilizing the cloud gives state and local governments the opportunity to do more with limited budgets, freeing up resources to focus on new initiatives that can improve citizen services, increase the agility of government employees, optimize operations, and ensure agencies are prepared for the unexpected,” says Microsoft.

In one case, Microsoft cites the flexibility of workers at the California Department of Social Services to work remotely in the field.

“CDSS is empowering its employees to work remotely, collaborate seamlessly, and communicate easily without getting tied up in red tape,” Microsoft states.

MORE-FROM-STATETECH: Find out the cloud certification state and local government employees need. 

State Agencies Turn to Cloud for Fast and Lean Operations

Cloud continues to weigh heavily on the collective minds of state government leaders. In their 2018 Technology Forecast, the National Association of State CIOs and the Public Technology Institute highlighted growing investment in X-as-a-Service among state governments.

A recent article in Government Technology, Todd Gustafson, president of HP Federal LLC, cites a $219-million deal where the Georgia Technology Authority moved its digital services to the cloud as an example of the appeal of Device-as-a-Service to state government agencies.

“Unlike the older Low Price Technically Acceptable procurement approach, Device-as-as-Service (DaaS) offers these agencies a way of limiting costs, assuring regular access to the latest technology and maintaining a deep bench of experts to manage and secure their endpoint fleets,” Gustafson says.

And of course, states agencies might seek cloud support in their pursuit of lean and efficient operations throughout government. In GovLoop, Peter O’Donoghue, vice president of Applications Services at Unisys, defines DevOps as “the application of lean thinking across the entire IT value chain.”

Chatting with Information Week, Wisconsin CIO David Cagigal spotlights the power of cloud computing for DevOps. “We need to be fast, nimble, and responsive,” he says. Resilient security, data privacy and disaster recovery are all top concerns for DevOps within the state, he says.


Government Procurement of Cloud Depends Upon Goals

How state and local governments will use the cloud should guide how it approaches cloud adoption, as experts remind in a CDW•G white paper, "Making the Transition to the Cloud."

“Cloud-based solutions promise efficiency and cost savings, but each state and local agency should consider its own unique requirements when planning to migrate. The array of cloud services appropriate for one agency may not be a good fit for another. Each agency must consider its needs, limitations and risk tolerance,” the paper states.

Often, state and local governments can begin a limited cloud pilot based on its needs, turning to services such as email, collaboration or telephony.

This article is part of StateTech's CITizen blog series. Please join the discussion on Twitter by using the #StateLocalIT hashtag.


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