Government technology leaders understand that building a viable Cloud infrastructure in Canberra requires the support of industry — but they also recognize that they are not always the easiest customer to work with.

These issues surfaced during our research into the creation of the “Perceptions of Cloud Computing in Government” whitepaper.

A viable marketplace of services, equipped to meet the needs of government, is critical to enable the government to become more agile and innovative and to keep technologies and business processes up to date.

As such, any government Cloud strategy must address the barriers confronting industry. And while it must ensure the government’s security and accountability posture is maintained, it also needs to provide incentives for investment in the Australian Cloud market.

The Federal Government’s secure Cloud capability seeks to address some of these concerns.

According to the Digital Transformation Agency, “Whilst certifications will always be important for maintaining the integrity and confidentiality of government and citizen information, clarification of certification and accreditation accountabilities is needed. The development of a streamlined, transparent process to reduce bottlenecks will increase government responsiveness.”

The DTA says it has identified a range of ways in which industry finds working with government agencies frustrating.

These include:

  • Australian Government certification practices require significant investment, both in time and dollars, with a significant gap between the initial investment and any return being realised.
  • The Cloud Services Panel fails to keep up with the rapid release of Cloud offerings.
  • Cumbersome ICT contract heads of agreements that do not align well with the features, flexibility or nuance of Cloud.
  • There is no standardised way for agencies to compare services for both functionality and cost.

Existing funding models drive agencies to consider purchasing Cloud using Capital Expenditure (CapEx) which does not align with the service model of the Cloud.

According to the DTA, “The introduction of frameworks in the Strategy will provide greater clarity for industry, about not only the government’s appetite for Cloud, but also how the government wants to use Cloud. Initiatives in the strategy will support agencies by building capability and reducing the duplication through shared assessments.

“They will enable faster implementations through collaboration and reuse, which will reduce the siloed and sometimes fragmented approaches of government. The creation of new procurement approaches will enable a better pathway for Cloud procurement, and increase the opportunity for new markets with innovative and small-scale Cloud services to be available to the government.”

Jamie Humphrey, Managing Director A/NZ at Rubrik, said that he welcomed the new procurement guidelines but it was important for agencies to remember that not all workloads were appropriate for cloud and that a hybrid approach ensured all data and applications had the appropriate levels of security and governance.

“What I’m seeing across the entire industry is a sensible approach to hybrid Cloud. It’s about not favouring one or the other and just doing the right thing by the application and the workload. If it’s best suited for the Cloud, that’s fine, put it in the Cloud. If it’s not, that’s fine, leave it on-premise.”

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