Chart the right course to the cloud

Sean Grimes, Director of IT Services at Agilisys, outlines five ways the UK public sector can accelerate cloud adoption

Rising service expectations, changing demographics and tighter financial constraints are all driving public services to become more agile, efficient and data-driven.  Fortunately, cloud services enable this step change through a host of technology innovations that few organisations could ever afford to build for themselves.  Through big data, analytics, the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and low-cost infrastructure, cloud adoption has become a question of when and how, not if.

While many accept the cloud’s central role in enabling 21st Century public services, some organisations are still hesitant to make the leap. With the transfer of control and headline grabbing data breaches, the cloud can be perceived as a risky move – tempting organisations to put off change.

It’s true that planning, migrating and optimising cloud operations without disrupting the day-to-day is no small feat for an organisation that does it occasionally. However, cloud migration is now a path well-trodden; there is a proven route to success.

Drawing on Agilisys’s real-world experience of implementing solutions for over 35 public sector organisations, we’ve charted a clear roadmap to de-risk cloud adoption. Here are our top five recommendations:

1. Know what you want to achieve

The cloud offers much more than cost-savings. Go beyond financial benefits to establish a clear, upfront vision for what the migration will achieve now and how it will support your wider business strategy tomorrow. Ideally, technology investment should have a multiplier impact across your organisation, driving desired business outcomes and enabling future innovation.

2. Get business buy-in

Don’t underestimate the impact a cloud migration will have inside your organisation. For instance, it’s not unusual for users experienced with Windows XP to be suddenly thrust into the modern world of Windows 10 and Office 365.

Yet, organisations often don’t consider the disorientation a cloud migration can create. At minimum, ensure you have a robust training plan to bring your users along for the ride. Further to this, invest in thinking through new ways of working that maximise collaboration and mobility.

3. Aim for a complete approach

Be sceptical when you’re told an application or service can’t move to the cloud. As a rule of thumb, any service running on virtualised hardware can usually migrate. Accepting that something cannot move strands legacy systems that will significantly reduce your long-term agility, while increasing day-to-day costs.

Hybrid solutions may be a necessary interim state but can also create unnecessary complexity and on-going tension between IT and your business. Instead, your primary goal should be a complete solutions that leave no legacy infrastructure behind – for instance, by combining hyperscale cloud with specialist PSN services where required.  Compromise only by exception.

4. Don’t model like-for-like

If the cloud looks more expensive than existing services, chances are you’ve fallen into this trap. While it’s good practice to have spare capacity for on premise services, this doesn’t apply to cloud. Cloud services can flex with usage spikes and other requirements, making over-provisioning unnecessary and even allowing services to be suspended out of working hours to drive savings.

Additionally, with most public sector organisations running a tangled technology stack that’s grown organically over many years, rationalising on premise IT before a migration will also lower the time, cost and complexity involved, as well as the cloud resources ultimately required.

5. Don’t delay

Accelerating technology change means the need for transformation is inevitable – the later you leave it, the greater the pressure. Already, 50% of UK citizens see digital services as “very” important to their daily lives. Without the cloud, public sector organisations will find themselves steadily falling behind access and service quality expectations, while technical challenges such as shadow IT and capacity shortfalls begin to mount. When cloud transformation becomes impossible to put off, it will then need to be faced on tighter timescales, under greater financial pressure and with no margin for error.

Reaping the cost and service benefits of the cloud needn’t be risky. To help organisations make the best possible decisions, Agilisys has drawn on years of cloud migration experience to create a clear, actionable roadmap, specifically for the public sector.

Register now for early access to our Public Sector Cloud Roadmap and discover how to make cloud migration faster, safer and simpler to manage.

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