Wednesday, October 3, 2012

How Government Early-Adopters Use Cloud Services

What are the best practices for deploying managed cloud services? Case studies have now confirmed that cloud services can be a better, faster, less expensive and less risky way to source Information and Communications Technology (ICT) solutions, according to the latest market study by Ovum.

Results from recent research conducted by Ovum details the experiences of five public sector organizations that have successfully deployed cloud services -- either with Infrastructure-as-Service (IaaS), Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) or Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS).

Highlighting the known benefits and the catalysts that empower organizations to embrace the cloud service delivery model, Ovum says they have developed a framework to assist government agencies in understanding the organizational factors associated with early adoption of managed cloud services.

Moving Beyond Analysis Paralysis

"Cloud services have long been debated across the globe, but it is now time to stop discussing theory and start discussing the actual experiences of early adopters,” says Dr Steve Hodgkinson, Director of IT research and advisory services at Ovum.

According to their assessment, many government agencies are stuck in a mode of perpetual cloud service evaluation. Meanwhile, they're unable to sustainably develop strong ICT capabilities because of funding, resource and skill constraints.

That being said, we know that mature enterprise-grade cloud services will provide an innovation edge to agencies -- enabled by ICT capabilities delivered at a lower cost than would otherwise be possible.

The five case studies included in this research reinforce this key fact. Each of the agencies used cloud services to overcome constraints in their ICT capabilities, and the results were compelling.

Cheaper, Faster and Better ICT Solutions

These organizations found that the benefits were greater than expected while the risks and difficulties were lower than typically experienced with traditional ICT projects.

"These proof points reveal that cloud services do actually live up to the promise of better, faster, less expensive and less risky ICT," states Hodgkinson.

The Ovum cloud services catalysts framework defines the key leadership decisions, business needs and forward-thinking that explain why early adopters were able to embrace cloud services.

The framework provides guidance for considering the degree to which a cloud service is a good fit for an agency. It also provides a diagnostic tool for thinking about the catalysts that may need to be created or nurtured in order to enable agencies to understand and embrace cloud services.

Ovum believes that the case studies of early adopters reveal more about leadership and decision-making than they do about the abstract benefits of the cloud delivery model.

"Why is it that some agencies embrace cloud services while others remain sceptical -- and even fearful -- of the cloud services model? Our framework is a major step forward for understanding the enablers, and sticking points, of cloud services adoption in the public sector," concludes Dr Hodgkinson.

All five case studies were conducted in Australia and include:
  • The Salvation Army Employment Plus: 750 employees in 80 locations, all applications moved to Telstra Dedicated Hosting IaaS.
  • Monash University: 15,000 staff and 63,000 students all moved to Google Apps Education Edition SaaS.
  • The Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management: a CRM application for coal seam gas exploration regulation deployed for 30 users using Microsoft Dynamics CRM SaaS.
  • The Torres Strait Island Regional Council: 350 employees, all applications moved to Telstra Utility Hosting IaaS.
  • The Victorian Department of Business and Innovation: CRM and grant administration applications deployed for over 450 employees using Salesforce SaaS/PaaS.

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