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June 30, 2017
Three key actions to drive effective use of the cloud
By: Neil Bacon

As my colleague Kamran Ikram discussed in the previous blog of this series, our experience shows that operational agility is fast becoming a top business priority for government departments migrating to the cloud.

One of the great things about technology is all the new and exciting things that it enables; operational agility being one of them.

Everywhere you look, people and companies are using technology in truly innovative ways to fuel incredible advancements in businesses, markets and people’s lives.

Take, for instance, Artificial Intelligence (AI). Once the stuff of futuristic thinking, AI has now exploded onto the scene, spreading across virtually every industry and ushering in entirely new ways for companies to reduce costs, streamline operations and launch new businesses and services.

Without the cloud as the backbone, groundbreaking AI applications simply wouldn’t see the light of day.

The success of AI hinges on the ability to collect, process and analyse massive amounts of data—in real time. This, in turn, requires enormous on-demand computing and analytics horsepower, as well as a robust and elastic backend infrastructure.

Sound familiar? It should, because that’s basically the definition of the cloud. Cloud is the real enabler of the emerging “connected” world. It’s the thing that makes possible these ever-smarter applications and devices that are changing everything.

Cloud-enabled AI is reshaping how government do business with their citizens.

If you’re serious about embracing these new technologies, you need to get the most from the cloud.

In our experience, three key actions that can help you effectively use the cloud to drive your connected-government initiatives.

  1. Define at the outset, exactly how the cloud will support your connected organisation. 
    This includes the applications and processes you’ll move to it, as well as the cloud infrastructure that best meets your business needs while minimising complexities and risks.
  2. Take a formal and disciplined approach to cloud implementation and migration. 
    This includes carefully assessing your applications to determine which you’ll migrate to the cloud and to what type of environment. Most of your apps—especially analytics—should end up in a SaaS environment so you can take advantage of the rich features of today’s SaaS solutions. But some—your most critical and complex ones—will likely move to a platform-as-a-service environment, where you can refactor the apps in the right way while keeping their business-critical functionality.
  3. Embrace Agile and the cultural change it brings
    Migrating to the cloud—not to mention ensuring you’re continually getting the most from it—isn’t simple. It requires a lot of specialised skills, as well as a deep understanding of the cloud environment and the tools to optimise its use. That’s why many companies choose to partner with an organisation who are leaders in Agile. While a sequential waterfall approach is necessary to build things like bridges and buildings, it’s less effective for building and running services when technology changes so quickly. Government services also need to be able to respond quickly to policy changes and the needs of the public. Using waterfall methods means you may spend 18 months building a service that no longer meets government policy, can’t work with the latest technology and doesn’t meet users’ needs.

The cloud is helping to fuel some amazing innovations, which is why it’s critical for government to carefully think through the cloud capabilities they truly need to power their applications. Without the cloud, there’s no connected government.

The cloud is essential to bring to life the compelling connected-government innovations that are transforming the world and grabbing the headlines.

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