Govt takes to the clouds

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Wednesday, 16 May, 2018

Govt takes to the clouds

The federal government’s cloud policy has been successful in transforming attitudes to the use of cloud in government operations, but more challenges still need to be addressed, according to a study from Ovum.

A survey of 45 senior ICT executives from federal government agencies, commissioned by Macquarie Government, found that a greater maturity is emerging in the way the cloud is used in government.

The survey compared attitudes to the cloud in 2018 compared to those expressed during an earlier study conducted in 2015, uncovering a clear change in perceptions.

It found that improving security is now the number one motivation driving government departments to move their IT systems to the cloud. This is a major reversal from the 2015 survey, which found that security concerns were inhibiting adoption of cloud services.

But the survey also found that increased adoption of the cloud is leading to new challenges. The most common difficulties encountered include project complexity, cost overruns, transition delays and difficulties in finalising contract terms.

More than one in three (36%) respondents reported finding their most recent cloud implementation to be more difficult than expected due to these reasons.

The report also found that while agencies are focusing on the operational advantages of cloud technology, they are not making the connection to the broader vision for delivering government outcomes.

“Departments and agencies reported many practical positives from moving to the cloud, including enhanced security, cost savings, speed of deployment and better support and reliability,” Macquarie Government Managing Director Aidan Tudehope said.

“However, there was very little mention of the broader government digital strategy, to use cloud as a platform to transform the experience of citizens interacting with government services.”

Agencies are also facing financial management challenges associated with fully embracing cloud computing models, with the largest being practical difficulties associated with moving funds allocated for capital expenditure into operational expenditure for pay per use cloud services.

“In a sense, this is a good problem to have, as it shows cloud is now assuming a larger proportion of spending by agencies,” Ovum Chief Analyst Kevin Noonan said.

“The next challenge will be to bring greater flexibility to government accounting treatment of spending on ICT.”

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