Bloomberg analysts report that cloud computing will be the top government IT spending category over the next several years. Most government CIOs say this is a welcome development. In an age of increasing digitization, government agencies are finding it difficult to support their constituents with aging infrastructure.
According to an April report from the General Accountability Office (GAO), most of the more than 12,000 U.S. government data centers are outdated and inefficient, with some relying on legacy systems that are more than 50 years old. The GAO reports that more than 80 percent of the federal government’s IT budget is spent on the operations and maintenance of aging systems that “pose efficiency, cybersecurity, and mission risk issues.”
It’s not just a federal government issue, either. State and local agencies are also battling operational complexity due to aging infrastructure. Older data centers simply weren’t built to handle the IT requirements of modern workloads.
Cloud momentum in the public sector has been building for years, with federal cloud spending increasing by 500 percent since the original “Cloud First” policy was implemented in 2010. However, the initial focus was on finding a less expensive way to collect, store, process and share data. Today, agencies understand that the cloud provides the foundation for an array of services based on emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data analytics, robotic process automation and the Internet of Things.
Most Americans are eager to take advantage of such services. According to a recent Accenture survey, 86 percent of citizens view digital delivery of public services “as equally or more important” than traditional methods of public service delivery.
The survey found that as citizens become increasingly mobile and tech-savvy, they expect government websites and digital capabilities to provide functionality and benefits comparable to those available from the private sector. For instance, more than half of respondents said they would increase their use of digital government services if they could access multiple services from an online portal.
Several surveys indicate that most agencies favor hybrid clouds that orchestrate a mix of public cloud, private cloud and on-premises services. Through this combination, they deliver the cost optimization, flexibility, scalability and elasticity of the cloud along with the control, security and reliability of on-premises infrastructure.
The hybrid approach also helps agencies become more innovative and efficient by providing access to shared resources that can be rapidly configured, provisioned and released. This type of data and application portability drives increased digital transformation. For instance, agencies can aggregate data across multiple domains for big data analytics projects that enable data-driven insights.
Another attractive feature of the cloud approach is that it allows agencies to maintain some core legacy systems onsite. That is a critical feature for many agencies that continue to rely heavily on older systems. For example, many agencies use systems that are more than 20 years old to support their unemployment insurance programs.
The increased use of cloud services is just one way that government agencies are attempting to modernize their IT operations while increasing efficiency and reducing complexity. Verteks will be on hand to help government technology professionals explore this and other emerging trends during the Florida Local Government Information Systems Association 2020 Winter Symposium.
We are among the sponsors for the event, which will be held Jan. 28-30 at the Embassy Suites Lake Buena Vista South. In addition to showcasing technology solutions and providing professional networking opportunities, the symposium offers attendees the opportunity to earn several Continuing Education Units. Click here for more information and to register.