20 April 2016

3 CIO’s tips on how to take a strategic approach to cloud integration

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In the digital world, consumer expectations have changed dramatically. Government needs to connect with the community in unprecedented ways and enable collaboration, innovative project development and coordination of data across multiple platforms, to deliver service excellence.

How are you connecting with today’s public? How can government provide a better service? And how can you do that more efficiently?

Recently, I sat down with a few Chief Information Officers - who are presenting at the upcoming 2nd Annual Cloud Services in Local Government conference - to get their tips and strategies on implementing cloud integration to better engage with the public.

Nabil Saleh, Chief Information Officer, Woollahra Municipal Council

What do you think are the top 3 biggest challenges in cloud services within government agencies at the moment?
  1. Change in mentality to adopt cloud services as opposed to on-premises solutions
  2. Ability to cost cloud services with a fair comparison with the traditional in-house models
  3. Data sovereignty and security. Ie. Where will our data reside? How secure will it be to ensure our customer’s privacy and to comply with various government legislations?

What are your council’s plans within the next 6-12 months?

This is dependent on whether amalgamations will take place, our focus will be on asset management, improving one services and mobility, systems integration and process mapping

What key strategies or tips could you share regarding cloud integration?

Firstly, understand the scope of services provided and the contractual arrangements. Educate the organisation about the pros and cons of adopting cloud services. Then evaluate cloud versus on-premises option over a minimum of 3 – 5 years period. Finally, have an exit strategy should the cloud services offering not meet service standards and performance requirements. 

Jim Barclay, Chief Information Officer, Logan City 

What opportunities, from your point of view, can cloud services bring to the public sector?

There are so many opportunities with such a service, and the ones that have been thought of so far are widely published on the internet. Cloud Business services expansion or adoption into Local Government will take the same road as previous services delivering offerings such as; Electricity, Mapping, Road Building and Office fit-out. Once good quality and business alignment becomes the normal, adoption will become the normal and the business advantages will include thing most of us have never thought of.

What are you focusing on within the next 6-12 months?

We intend to adopt clouds business services where the business need and the quality cloud business service offering match and are aligned to our priorities as an organisation.

What key strategies or tips could you share regarding cloud integration?

To ensure it is an integral part of the vendors service offering, if not ensure you allow for it as part of your business model, including the implementation and ongoing support, preferably but an external vendor with a quality track record reputation in this field.

Brian Beswick, Chief Information Officer, Sunshine Coast Council

First of all, thank you for taking some time out of your busy schedule to speak to Akolade.  What do you think are the top 3 biggest challenges in cloud services within government agencies at the moment?

Maturity of the vendor market, with many still insisting on long term fixed contracts rather than more flexible arrangement; Willingness of the business areas to move to a more “vanilla” based deployment of an application delivered via SaaS, rather than highly customised on-premise solutions; Entrenched views on the existing long term ERP type systems within the business, and thus a reluctance to consider new pure SaaS offerings.

What opportunities, from your point of view, can cloud services bring to your council?

More business agility, improved scalability and speed to marketing opportunities; Ability to handle big data in more flexible and cost effective methods; New offerings in terms of analytics, decision support solutions; Reduced vendor lock-in; Providing a means to allow an organisation’s technology staff to provide the value add benefit the business is needing the new digital age, rather than limited resources focused on “keeping the lights on” activities.

What key strategies or tips could you share regarding cloud integration?

Consider utilisation of a cloud based integration suite that utilises the micro-bus approach to service orientated architectures, and develop this in an agile approach. Look to an open industry standard approach in defining APIs and architecture.

To learn more on cloud integration and ways to improve your council’s performance through technology, why not attend Akolade’s upcoming conference Cloud Services in Local Government? The conference will be held in Sydney, from the 26-28 July 2016. 

For more information on the conference, please contact Akolade on (02) 9247 6000 or visit our website here - https://www.akolade.com.au/events/cloud_services_summit_2016/

The best part of my job as a Conference Production Manager is to create and manage my own conferences from concept to delivery, identify future conference topics as well as giving me a chance to expand my business card collection. Having a bit of a sweet tooth, you will always find me having lollies on my desk or you will catch me browsing on fashion sites during lunch breaks.

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