Cloud computing in growth markets like India

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Telecom in India is one of the oldest industries. In 1850 India got its first telegraph line, and currently it ranks second largest in the world for total number of telephone users (both fixed and mobile phones). It is the world’s second largest mobile user base and third largest Internet user base. Given India’s vast and robust telecommunication infrastructure, the Government of India (GOI) is looking at cloud computing as a viable option to serve the masses and reduce the cost of operation.

The heart of a government cloud strategy is the creation of a common, secure and flexible infrastructure that’s available across the public sector. To achieve this, the strategy sets out the vision for the following:

1.            Public Sector Network

2.            Government Cloud (Cloud First)

3.            Government Application Store (App Store)

1) Public Sector Network

The Public Sector Network will be a single, holistic telecommunications infrastructure for the whole public sector. It would replace the existing approach where each public body designs, develops, installs and maintains its own network—which has led to fragmented and expensive service delivery. Besides reducing operating costs and complexity, the Public Sector Network opens up new opportunities for information sharing and increasing local and national participation.

The Public Sector Network will contract for all their telecommunications needs, significantly reducing the costs and timescales of procurement for the private and public sectors. It will create an innovative marketplace where competitively priced, commoditized services can be obtained on a utility basis and suppliers compete to introduce innovation.

Benefits of Public Sector Network

  • Encourages the private sector to deliver Public Sector Network services and the public sector to transition to them
  • Oversees delivery of converged voice, video and data communications
  • Creates a coherent network design to facilitate market delivery of interoperable services
  • Selects the open, interoperable standards on which the network will work
  • Establishes an effective governance structure to establish trust between all participants and manage the development and application of standards
  • Ensures that Public Sector Network is appropriately secure, interoperable (supporting the transition from legacy systems), energy efficient and cost competitive

2) Government Cloud

Developments in information and communication technology (ICT) mean it is now possible for different teams, offices or even organizations to share the same ICT infrastructure. Different hardware can be brought together and used to deliver increased flexibility and responsiveness to business needs while reducing costs. Essentially, it means moving from technology that has been procured separately by organizations, to a new model in which ICT is provided as a utility. This shift is known as cloud computing.

Benefits of the Government Cloud

  • Development of new standards that will make it possible to deploy business applications on any available computer system, rather than just those that had been uniquely configured
  • Falling unit costs of computer resources and higher system utilization levels, because workload will be allocated flexibly and dynamically to any available computer system
  • Cost savings on capital expenditure and lower energy consumption

Against a public sector characterized by high levels of duplication, silos of infrastructure, fragmented and often inappropriate provision, and low levels of server utilization, Government Cloud will be very beneficial.

3) App Store

The Government Applications Store will be a marketplace for the sharing and reuse of online business applications on a pay-by-use basis. The reuse of existing solutions and a reduction in the number of applications in use across the public sector will deliver savings. In today’s approach, new business requirements almost always result in development of bespoke solutions and thus the proliferation of systems, but reuse will become the norm. Its net effect will be to increase visibility of software already owned by the public sector so that other public sector bodies, and those bidding for public sector work, can see what is available at no basic cost.

Benefits of App Store

  • Delivers reduced software costs across the public sector and speeds up procurement
  • Greater use of commodity solutions that best fit government needs, which will move government from attempting to be the architect of bespoke digital solutions to a consumer of widely available and constantly improving mass-market products
  • Optimization of data center infrastructure
  • Rationalization and consolidation of the data center estate, leading to significant cost, accommodation and energy savings
  • Greater availability of common commodity solutions; avoidance of duplicate services that cannot be shared

Cloud computing has brought about a step change in the economics and sustainability of ICT-enabled service provision.

Governments in growth markets like India are committed to the adoption of cloud computing and delivering computing resources to users as needed (an on-demand delivery model). By exploiting innovations in cloud computing, growth markets will transform the public sector ICT estate into one that is agile, cost effective and environmentally sustainable.

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