RESEARCH REPORT

In brief

In brief

  • During the pandemic, cloud adoption and digital transformation dramatically accelerated within public services.
  • To gain deeper insights into cloud adoption, strategy and benefits in public agencies, Accenture surveyed 364 public service executives.
  • 83% of public service agency leaders agree or strongly agree that cloud is essential to fuel innovation and new business models.
  • Instead of seeing adopting cloud as the culmination of the journey, organisations must recognise that cloud is actually a future-proofing continuum.


The cloud imperative in public service

During the pandemic, cloud adoption and digital transformation dramatically accelerated within public service. The global momentum toward cloud is strong – and growing.

As part of Accenture’s wider Cloud Continuum research, analysing cloud and artificial intelligence adoption across all industries, Accenture surveyed 364 public service executives to gain deeper insights into cloud adoption, strategy and benefits in public agencies.

With cloud, the reality is that migration is just the start. Instead of seeing adopting cloud as the culmination of the journey, organisations must recognise that cloud is actually a future-proofing continuum: flexible access to a collection of dynamic, ever-improving technologies and services.

These findings point to significant progress to date. The opportunity now is to build on this momentum and continue transforming at this new pace.

57%

of public service executives believe that accelerating cloud is business-critical.

41%

of public service executives expect artificial intelligence and machine learning to be the biggest drivers for compute resources in the next few years.

83%

of public service agency leaders agree or strongly agree that cloud is essential to fuel innovation and new business models.

72%

of public service leaders expect their need for computing capacity to more than double in the next two to three years.

Pillars of success: Traversing the cloud continuum

With cloud today, there are countless approaches and solutions to choose from – but our research points to four key practices that can help organisations develop a cloud strategy that’s most appropriate to their needs, holistic and human-centric.

01. Deeply understand the power of the cloud continuum

Only 37% of public service leaders are confident in their cloud strategy for continuously delivering and measuring value to citizens and their workforce. The key to overcoming the challenges is to migrate with purpose. The journey must be planned with a clear vision of the following components:

  • a tangible vision that clearly states the core values and future aspirations
  • an identification of critical vulnerabilities
  • a clear classification of capabilities, leveraging the full extent of the continuum
  • a strong focus on employee engagement and training

02. Establish standard practices

As agencies increase their investments in cloud, it’s vital that they select and implement the right cloud solutions. It’s equally important to establish strong data governance for security and citizen trust, including compliance with laws such as GDPR. By tapping into a network of ecosystem partners, agencies can realise the benefits of cloud adoption without incurring unnecessary costs and risks.

Our research underlines the importance of forging the right partnerships:

  • 73% of agency leaders agree that partnership on cloud with hyperscalers has led/is leading to developing other strategic partnerships with hyperscalers.
  • 79% agree that their organisation relies heavily on security provided by cloud hyperscalers.
  • 59% expect to increase their total cloud spending by more than 6% between 2020 and 2024.

03. Prioritise experiences for citizens and the workforce

Citizens will continue to expect more and better digital services. Cloud solutions can help agencies meet these expectations by making services more accessible and by enabling entirely new services and citizen experiences through the ability to manage enormous amounts of data. Public service organisations must reimagine the way their employees interact with technology:

  • 48% of public sector executives have pursued increased citizen value as a key organisational goal, while 45% have pursued faster time-to-market for new services.
  • 82% agree that cloud-based tools have made technology approachable, by giving employees human-centric experiences and aggregating across different applications.
  • 87% believe technology democratisation is becoming critical in their ability to ignite innovation across their organisation.

04. Recognise the cloud continuum requires commitment

Today’s cloud solutions offer public service agencies the chance to shift their focus away from bearing down on costs – and toward a mindset of abundance where experimentation, innovation, and growth flourish. To create and embed a mindset of abundance, leaders must establish the agency’s objectives and evangelise for agility and innovation:

  • Leadership should intentionally ask, “How well do employees at all levels understand the goals and the potential of the cloud continuum?”
  • Everyone across the agency needs to be aware of the desired outcomes for cloud initiatives as well as the best practices for delivering them.
In the post-pandemic era of accelerated digital transformation, how can organisations ensure their cloud modernisation will measurably improve outcomes and services?

Continuous cloud reinvention

During the past year, public service agencies have demonstrated how fast they can pivot in the face of a crisis. Now they have a golden opportunity to maintain the momentum and continue to transform, powered by the needs of their own organisations and the citizens they serve.

After migrating legacy systems and applications to the cloud, the world’s leading agencies will continue to execute on their visions by leveraging next-generation, cloud-based technologies such as AI, IoT, edge and others to retain top talent, service communities more effectively, and surpass citizens’ rising expectations.

About the Authors

Valerie Armbrust

Managing Director – Consulting, Public Service


Ahmed Hassan

Managing Director – Health & Public Service, Cloud & Infrastructure Lead, Australia and New Zealand


Todd Kimbriel

Managing Director – Public Service, North America


Timo Levo

Managing Director – Public Service, Defence, SAP, Europe

Contributor

Alexa Jaeger

Senior Analyst – Research, Health & Public Service

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