Everything as a Service: Future of Government
Applications, data and communication – every function of IT is transforming into a service. Applications are hosted as services, data is stored on the cloud, even communications are now hosted. For governments, moving to the cloud can have huge cost savings, but can also mean dramatic shifts in how services and IT are planned, managed and budgeted. To start, CIOs need to start thinking of everything as a service.
The Center for Digital Government has released a white paper on the topic, “Everything-as-a-Service and its Impact on the Future of Government,” authored by Ted Newcombe. Newcombe assembles an impressive array of examples of how cloud-based models are transforming government:
- Saving Money: Texas implemented a cloud-based procurement system, cutting annual maintenance costs from $11.5 million to under $3.3 million. The investment to upgrade to the cloud solution was only $2.9 million.
- Improving Communication: When Minnesota went cloud-based, it included instant messaging and video to boost communication among state agencies. In just two years, users nearly quadrupled, and inter-agency messages and videos grew from 25,000 in 2012 to 376,000 by 2014. Time and money spent on business travel and meetings was slashed.
- Operational Savings: In Ohio, the implementation of a cloud infrastructure led to the migration of nearly 5,000 servers across an array of state agencies into the state’s primary data center. Ohio expects to realize more than $100 million in software, security and operational savings.
- Better Management: Maryland Parks adopted a hosted workforce management system a few years ago, managing more than 52,000 acres of land, and employing nearly 2,000 workers. They anticipate 26 percent savings over 5 years by moving to the cloud.
- Reducing Fraud: Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) uses a cloud-based data analytics service to spot fraudulent unemployment compensation claims. “Because it’s a service, we’re not responsible for the hardware or the software — we simply provide the data … and they analyze it and send us back results in a dashboard fashion,” IWD CIO Gary Bateman told Government Technology. “It’s easy to use but didn’t require significant capital outlay to get it started or for maintenance.”
- Unlimited Scalability: Oakland, CA, police department began piloting cloud-based storage last year for body-worn camera video. City officials told Government Technology that 600 officer-worn cameras were generating almost 7 terabytes a month of video, overwhelming onsite storage resources. The cloud-based storage platform will give Oakland police almost unlimited capacity to store body camera video.
- Streamlined GIS data: Alachua County, Fla., where the city of Gainesville is located, struggled for years with its on-premises GIS, which the county maintained for itself and other local jurisdictions. The costs and resources needed to run the system were always an issue. In 2014, the county decided to move to a cloud version of the software, paying only for what it needs. Its first monthly bill was only $230.
Software as a Service (SaaS) models can allow governments to leapfrog into new solutions for a large range of needs — cyber security, open data, mobile services, portals, shared services, financial management, and community development. Even when IT systems and services have been neglected and underfunded, switching to cloud-based services allows any agency to streamline, save money, and improve services. CIOs can start this transformation by mapping their environment and challenges to create a vision tied to business objectives.
Read more about the transformations happening as governments switch to cloud-based solutions. The paper is available for free download.