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Is government ready for the cloud?

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Private and public organisations and service providers around the world are fast engaging with the concept of the cloud. But will government take advantage of its benefits?
“Yes,” says Makano Mosidi, public sector executive: Dimension Data Middle East and Africa.
“The public sector has been ready for cloud since it was first introduced. There are sceptics in the market who still need to understand the benefits of the cloud service. But it’s up to cloud service providers to demonstrate the benefits.”
While government is one of the largest consumers of ICT and uniquely positioned to take advantage of the benefits of cloud computing, the question on the lips of some sceptics is what can government achieve by adopting the cloud?
“Government can take advantage of the benefits of the cloud, which works best with economies of scale, allowing departments to achieve significant cost savings through shared ICT platforms,” says Mosidi.
“The adoption of cloud computing will free ICT resources to service an even larger base of requirements, address the issue of skills shortages that everyone is grappling with and offer the strategic agility required to overcome challenges.”
Cloud computing will allow government to focus on creating a citizen-centric public sector and services as they will be able to optimise the risk as standardised services are provisioned and tracked, without need for specialised skills or a complex operational infrastructure.
Cloud technology presents a new consumption model for ICT solutions and services wrapped in a predictable, monthly commercial model which allows clients to optimise cost as cloud reduces the total cost of ownership of managing infrastructure and applications. Fewer assets mean less capex outlay. Governments also have the ability to adapt rapidly to new technologies and technology changes in the market.
Dimension Data and Internet Solutions’ comprehensive portfolio of cloud computing services offers a flexible, cost-efficient way of procuring computing resources.
Dimension Data’s Managed Cloud Platform (MCP), a pre-integrated and fully-managed foundation for global cloud delivery, allows governments to harness the benefits of cloud.
Governments looking for appreciable savings on prices and rates for ICT services can consolidate departments into a single large group. This can be done by consolidating departments, reducing costly idle capacity available now, either in licensing or storage or processing power because of its dynamic ability to scale up, down and sideways as and when a need arises realtime.
By doing this they’re in a position to leverage their strong collective buying power.
Cloud computing lends to government’s operationalisation capability, meaning that money can be spent over a period of time on a per-use basis, rather than paying for a capability upfront. Cloud computing leads to economies of scale where, for example, on a shared services basis, all local public sector entities can obtain and deliver the same level of service to their constituents.
Smaller municipalities will also be freed up from the necessity of recruiting and employing senior qualified ICT staff to oversee and run their systems.
This is also applicable to smaller state-owned enterprises (SOEs), where, for instance, instead of each enterprise having to build its own call centre, disaster recovery centre or videoconferencing facilities, cloud computing can allow them to share offerings at improved service levels to their constituents and at a lower cost to themselves.
“Dimension Data partners with South Africa’s public sector on a number of ICT initiatives. Following our cloud services launch in March 2012, we will focus on helping our clients assess their cloud readiness and determine what type of deployment best fits their specific needs, whether that’s a private, public or hybrid cloud and whether it’s a fully-managed or self-managed solution that is needed,” Mosidi concludes.