So, you're thinking about the applications of Cloud technology in government. That's no surprise. Cloud computing is cost effective; having a pay-per-use model, it is scalable; allowing users to access a large amount of resources that can expand based on your needs, it's mobile with the ability to access data from anywhere and it allows dispersed offices and civil servants to collaborate and work simultaneously on the same data.
Cloud computing leverages 3rd party computing capability over a network in order to cut costs, increase scale, improve agility and access best practices.
Cost-wise, the Cloud option only incurs variable costs as part of your operational expenditure. Variable costs are controllable and is only a matter of whether you want more or less resources to use.
Traditional IT systems however have fixed costs (usually on hardware infrastructure) and appear on capital expenditures on top of the variable costs.
But in what ways can the government use cloud technology? Let's tackle it through its three service models:
1. Software-as-a-Service (Saas)
At the simplest level, governments can take advantage of the many Cloud-based platforms that can make their operations more efficient.
Some of these platforms include content management systems (which can organize and manage all documents handled by your office and eliminate filing errors), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems (which can help manage your finances projects and operations) or even your goverment portal or website.
2. Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS)
This service is more relevant for agencies with highly competent developer teams. PaaS providers provide application developer tools for clients who want to use their platform to produce their own IT solution in the Cloud.
One example of this is when Cloud.gov of the US Digital Services and General Services Administration began providing a PaaS service to all US government agencies to allow them to develop, run and manage web applications.
This lessened the burden on the individual IT departments of the agencies by consolidating the development platform into one place instead of each agency independenly developing and needing their own infrastructure and developer tools.
3. Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)
The last service model, IaaS can provide governments with physical or virtual machines and other resources. You can think about this as renting out a part of someone else's hard drive. You can do whatever you want with your side and you can access it easily.
This reduces hardware costs and will be useful if, for example, you have your own software or IT system that you'd like to make available throughout your department that is scattered in various locations. All you have to do is upload your software into the Cloud infrastructure that you rented and access it through a browser.
Hopefully, this gave you an overview of how governments can adopt Cloud technology. The adoption of Cloud technology is just one part of the wave that's overtaken the world: Digital Transformation. To learn more, download our free report: 2017 IT Trends: Digital Transformation.