Embracing the cloud: digitally transforming organisations

The time has come for the public sector to adopt the cloud in earnest to deliver greater efficiency across the economy

Mick McNeil
By Mick McNeil on 16 December 2021
Embracing the cloud: digitally transforming organisations

“Updating legacy IT systems and adopting cloud services is at the top of the digital transformation agenda,” says Mick McNeil, vice president business development, leading Microsoft business unit at Logicalis

Public sector organisations have been cautious with the deployment of leading-edge technology. Once a decision has been made to proceed, these organisations tend to move slower than commercial organisations. Governments increasingly recognise that adoption of new innovations, which often sit in the public cloud, will provide efficiencies and a competitive advantage.   

As governments across the world show positive signs of cloud migration, the UK public sector has demonstrated early understanding of the need to fully migrate to cloud. The UK Government’s original cloud-first policy was published in 2013 but has been updated in recent months to produce the One Government Cloud Strategy.  

As more businesses and public sector departments begin this transition, we are seeing a significant rise in both interest and investment in the cloud from public sector organisations. But the cloud migrations of such large organisations can be tricky to manage and there are both best practices, and pitfalls, to consider.  

The need for the cloud is clear. Updating legacy IT systems and adopting cloud services is at the top of the digital transformation agenda for organisations across all industries. In fact, cloud services will soon be the largest part of the IT services market in Europe, as enterprises invest in them as part of their Covid-19 recovery strategies.   

Public sector organisations are a part of this movement as they are also operating in competitive spaces. For example, there is a call for UK Government IT systems to move entirely into the cloud by 2023. A cloud-first mindset can help tackle the financial woes many organisations have faced in recent years, many of which have been exacerbated during the pandemic. The result will be greater efficiencies achieved across the economy, with private industry no longer hampered by slow-moving government and legislative bodies.  

Many organisations, however, are still finding it difficult to make the move. Though the benefits are vast, public-sector bodies considering migrating to the cloud often face organisational and operating-model challenges, including securing the required resources. In addition, there are often privacy and security concerns – including overcompliance with the US Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data Act and the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation.  

The cloud is complex, and companies are struggling with access to the right skills and expertise to properly transition. However, the organisations that are delaying migration are already falling further behind than they realise. The gap is widening with every year of delay, which is why working with a partner can expedite the process and guarantee success.  

But choosing a partner can prove complicated for organisations as well. Technology decision makers not only have to choose the right cloud service provider, but also need to choose relevant offerings from a wide portfolio of options. This abundance of choice creates a challenge for organisations, as many are not proficient enough to know which choice is best for them and lack the expertise to guide the decision.  

Globally, public sector organisations are finding it a challenge to completely migrate to the cloud but can do this and optimise their operations with the right partner. For example, in Australia, we worked with a city council in New South Wales to produce a hyper-converged solution designed to replace the council’s existing aging data centre. Using a platform created specifically for a new community centre, migration was enabled with minimal disruption to council operations, service delivery and the day-to-day activities of staff. Additionally, it was designed to help the organisation move to a hybrid cloud in the future while maintaining its on-premises environment.  

The wireless network implemented by the city council at the community centre provides 125 secure corporate access points for council staff. For public sector organisations this is a small deployment, but it highlights how a cloud-first approach can be implemented successfully with a partner. Whether 125 access points or 12,500, the cloud can accommodate any number of users and bring advantages to any public sector organisation. Leveraging third-party expertise in cloud deployments ensures the cost and the scope of digital transformation align with budget, expectations and compliance.  

Mick McNeil is vice president business development, leading Microsoft business unit at Logicalis.  

For more information on how Logicalis can help your business harness the benefits of the cloud and succeed in your digital transformation efforts, contact info@logicalis.com

This article was originally published in the Autumn 2021 issue of Technology Record. To get future issues delivered directly to your inbox, sign up for a free subscription.

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