Delivering the Digital Vision across Local Government

Councils of the future are set to be lean, agile and data-driven, delivering a wide range of seamless services to increasingly demanding consumers. But most councils have a long way to go to deliver frictionless services and fully digitise their back offices.

The same however, cannot be said for Salford City Council who have already hit a milestone step on their transformation journey. The council is already benefitting from Hyperscale Public Cloud Services from ANS which is providing the council with faster and more effective performance of its customer-facing digital systems, as well as enabling them to increase security and disaster recovery capabilities.

Salford City Council is a leader in its sector and remains ahead of the curve when it comes to providing digital services to the local community. As a forward-thinking council, access to next generation services such as big data, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning will support their digital transformation strategy and provide advanced business intelligence.

The adoption and utilisation of cloud environments are a necessity for optimising a multitude of business operations and nurturing innovation. Widespread cloud adoption could significantly reduce billions spent by the public sector on IT every year. It also has the capability to enable vast savings across government departments, agencies and councils.

Cloud services in particular are an important tool for local councils, allowing them to take advantage of both platform and infrastructure services to quickly roll out scalable new applications – both inside and outside their organisation. It’s this speed that’s key to the importance of cloud. Instead of taking years to build new applications, IT teams can deliver code in months, or even weeks, and by taking advantage of new development methodologies and tools, they can keep those systems running with regular updates. It’s a change that’s affecting both local and central government services, with the staff now able to deliver new software releases thanks to Cloud.

Combining that approach with mobile applications can also improve relationships between citizens and local councils. For instance, it can enable the council to release a basic app to enable users report potholes which can help prioritise road repairs, allowing road departments to see quickly just which issues affect the most people. Another example is an app that could be used to report missed bin collections, or report fly-tipping. It’s therefore clear to see that the growing number of community-driven applications are being used to deliver information to local councils, taking advantage of new open data services.

But the burning question is, if the benefits of adopting public cloud are so clear, why are many local councils failing to embrace cloud?

The paramount concern for many is security. With issues surrounding data security, the public sector is particularly wary of ensuring their IT is secure-proof and as safe as possible to keep citizen’s details safe.

To help build confidence and trust, local councils must develop a holistic cloud trust strategy to provide a secure cloud ecosystem with the proper checks and balances that enable a controlled and cost-effective cloud investment. By developing a cloud trust model with a chosen cloud provider to assess and monitor, improve and enhance, and certify and comply their cloud ecosystem, IT professionals can turn their lack of confidence in the cloud into an opportunity to address increasingly complex security and privacy challenges.

Another common challenge I often come across is a fear of cultural change. Local councils may resist approaches that make it appear that they are giving up or privatising their resources. Cloud-related innovations may also stir internal opposition among those who resist change or fear that well-established procedures could be compromised.

Many IT technicians enjoy supporting hardware and building blade servers and some of these people will resist adopting a clouds model because they believe that their jobs will be at risk. There is a false perception that cloud will remove or reduce the need for internal IT. This can lead to a situation where IT teams challenge cloud as an option, which can actually precipitate the slide towards more shadow IT.

But no matter how wary or resistant local councils may be, cloud computing is inevitably the next step in IT evolution, representing a transformative leap forward for today’s local councils.

By choosing their cloud models wisely and aligning them closely with their council’s operating model, IT decision makers can deploy an effective, economical solution while also successfully addressing reliability, data management, and security issues.

With councils such as Salford City leading the pack, we expect a big uptake of public cloud adoption in the coming 18 months. As Salford are beginning to benefit from the increased business agility and efficiency offered by cloud, other councils will be left crippled by slow processes and manual operations.

So to avoid being left behind stop holding off your cloud strategy, the time to adopt is now.

To find out how public cloud is providing Salford City Council with faster and more effective performance of its customer-facing digital systems, read the full press release here.  

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