A clear view and a knowledgeable partner can help public sector bodies embrace cloud technologies, writes David Price, director UK public sector, Rackspace Technology
As the public sector makes increasing use of cloud services the environment becomes more complex, and organisations need a clear view of where their data, workloads and applications sit to fully optimise their operations.
Most are now clear on the benefits of cloud as an enabler of IT services, providing more capabilities to service teams and reducing the amount of time spent on managing applications and infrastructure, so that teams can work with their digital tools without hindrance.
When the right decisions have been made it can free them from huge amounts of technical debt and enable them to develop better ways of working. This comes down to cloud helping to accelerate the delivery of products and services without the need to build the platforms on which they run.
It can also deliver scale and reliability, provide the flexibility of ‘on demand’ services, and lay the ground for building new operating models, supporting innovation and responding quickly to changing operational needs.
But it comes with some significant challenges. One is the immense complexity in the digital environment, with the need to integrate applications and data services with infrastructure software, public and private clouds, while maintaining hardware and paying close attention to security measures.
There are also a number of non-technical demands on organisations. Some of these are familiar and steadily evolving, such as customers expecting a superior experience, the need to optimise costs and respond to new security threats. Others emerge more quickly, such as the need to develop new services and seismic shifts from external events like the Covid-19 pandemic.
It is notable that the latter can often trigger a rapid migration to a cloud service. We are aware of one example in which a hospital in Scotland, after considering the adoption of Office 365 for several years, finally made the decision and completed the migration in four weeks in response to the pandemic.
Even with the adoption of cloud there are challenges in managing technology. These include managing complex legacy applications, some of which are too difficult or costly to transfer to a cloud service, running an on-premise data centre when this remains part of the digital infrastructure, managing the changes whenever a process is moved to cloud.
There are also the factors that it is not always possible to find a cloud service to support some operating models, that change often runs into internal resistance, and it is always difficult to recruit and retain people with the right skills and experience to manage the systems.
In addition, a badly designed digital architecture can create further complexity and slow down the pace of change. We have seen that organisations’ journeys to the cloud can often move in fits and starts, where they try to implement a change, only to find it does not work as planned and need to pull back and think again. And the complexity can also create heavy costs in operational expenditure.
There are encouraging signs. Any organisations just setting up and building a digital infrastructure will not be running their own data centre, and will therefore have the freedom to choose cloud services without worrying about how they integrate with on-premise applications and workloads.
Also, there is growing familiarity with cloud environments. Many organisations have the foundation of using Office 365 and, as they transfer applications to public or private clouds, they essentially have at least two – Rackspace has estimated that this applies to about 80% of public sector bodies – and are learning how to use them together.
Over time they will increase their capabilities and do more and more in the cloud, and we expect 55% of new applications to be cloud native from now on.
A major asset in this is having a single place in which to show all the data and applications held in different clouds for a comprehensive view of digital operations. This will help to strengthen the understanding, support the adoption of further cloud platforms and help to achieve the benefits more quickly.
More to do
But there is still some way to go. Our research has suggested that, while most organisations are using cloud services, only a minority have fully embraced it, and there is still a lot of adoption to be done.
This is where working with the right partner can make a big difference, and where Rackspace comes in. As a multicloud solutions provider with extensive experience of working with the public sector help to provide the clear view of data, workloads and applications in different clouds, and guide them through the complexities.
It has the knowledge of leading technologies and multicloud environments to clarify and manage the interactions. This can help public sector bodies to solve their workload problems and create new opportunities for raising efficiency and delivering better services to the public.
It can support them in embracing the cloud for their role in working for the public good.
One of the biggest challenges to cloud adoption is the people model. Rackspace Technology has over 7000 people and over 2500 cloud platform accreditations. We spend a huge amount of time helping and supporting organisations of all sizes and at all stages of their journey to cloud. Get in touch: [email protected]