For the past decade or so, “better, faster, cheaper,” has been the rallying cry for innovation in every sector.
Cloud computing unequivocally ranks high among all three criteria. As a scalable model for enabling access to a shared pool of computing resources via pay-for-use Internet delivery, “faster” and “cheaper” is inherent to cloud. Cloud allows for enormous economies of scale, eliminating both the delays and the costs that accompany IT capital outlays.
Let there be no doubt, the need for greater efficiencies and cost reductions cannot be overstated, but the untold possibilities for cloud to drive better government are even more significant.
Cloud computing is creating an entirely new playing field for public sector agencies, and in some cases, changing the relationship between government and governed. By enabling as-needed enhancements to services and the swift creation of new, citizen-centric capabilities, cloud is serving to boost both quality of life and competitive advantage.
Around the world governments are leveraging cloud’s potential to positively impact economic vitality.
California’s CalCloud initiative is a shared services platform offered to all state and local government agencies through the California Department of Technology. The first statewide shared services model, CalCloud provides government entities with access to a common pool of computing resources and the option to scale up or down as needed. CalCloud is serving as a catalyst for business process simplification and standardization, driving improvements in delivery, quality and speed, while removing policy and bureaucratic barriers to capital procurements.
The city of Wuxi in China worked with IBM to create a cloud computing center at the Wuxi New District iPark, a municipal research campus. The Wuxi cloud offers emerging Chinese software companies the ability to tap into enterprise applications such as ERP, procurement, a B2B portal, and market analytics tools to support development activities of start-up companies.
The Karnataka Vocational Training and Skill Development Corporation (KVTSDC), serving India’s rapidly growing state of Karnataka, is harnessing cloud to help millions of citizens find jobs via their mobile devices. In a region where personal computers are relatively uncommon and mobile devices are increasingly affordable and on the rise, KVTSDC teamed with IBM to create a new cloud computing platform that fuels economic growth by efficiently matching talent with employment opportunities as they emerge. Offered through the Department of Labour in local languages, KVTSDC, streamlines the job-search process, providing relevant information on training and certifications, pointing out emerging employment trends, and providing a venue for information sharing.
In response to citizens’ requests for easier access to information about their pensions, a European government pension fund partnered with IBM on a cloud-enabled transformation that replaced two paper-based record systems with a digitized archive. Millions of password protected pension records are now accessible on-demand.
The public sector currently lags behind the private sector in adopting cloud computing. While this might be due in part to concerns about the security of sensitive data, hybrid cloud options that allow for both public and private cloud—or on premises—computing options, are proving to be the solution.
The potential for cloud to transform public sector services runs deep and wide. Now is the time to sharpen the focus on serving citizens through cloud-based innovations.
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