Cloud Gaining Traction in Government, Education Markets

June 27th, 2013 by TCC Leave a reply »

Cloud computing is gaining momentum in the government and education space. Software as a Service offerings are growing rapidly, driven by the education software developers seeing an opportunity to gain new customers. We’re also seeing many of our clients re-architecting their infrastructure to take advantage of SaaS and cloud-type offerings. It’s largely about speed of deployment and flexibility in getting to applications. But many of the same issues that inhibit cloud issues in the business community also impact government and education. Most notably, prospects express concerns about security and availability, especially when the infrastructure is carrying sensitive personal information. Therefore, assessing the relative sensitivity of the respective agency is often one of the first steps in evaluating the feasibility of proceeding.

Government and education departments, that are not guided by as many compliance regulations are taking advantage of the cloud as fast as they can, we are seeing the same thing with managed services in that space. It costs them too much money to continually build out these networks and to operate them, so they are looking for new ways to gain efficiencies. It’s happening in education, and it’s happening in government.

The major players in the infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) space, including Amazon Web Services, Google, HP and Microsoft are actively marketing their government cloud practices. Amazon lists NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the Recovery Accountability Transparency Board and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory among its cloud clients.

Nearly one-third of the federal government’s IT budget is spent on maintaining and upgrading older infrastructure, and the same ratios are substantially true for state and local governments.

More RFPs are being based around hosted voice, hosted call center, and things of that nature. They are actively utilizing these services in the procurement process because they see cost benefits in consuming technology on a per-seat, per-month basis.”

The city of Boston announced that Google and Appirio had been granted a contract to move all city workers and schools to a unified messaging and collaboration platform based on Google Apps by the end of the year. The city claims nearly 75,000 email users, including accounts for its 57,000 public schools students. The move is expected to cut expenses by more than 30 percent per year.

A number of government agencies in major cities have made similar moves to the cloud. Last year, the Chicago public school system made a similar transition to the cloud, in a move expected to save $6 million over three years.

Some of the savings realized by local government agencies comes from the reduced need to maintain high-end staff. As the technology moves forward, it’s harder for public-sector entities to keep the necessary skill sets within their four walls. So when they deploy a premises-based solution, they often find themselves struggling to support it.

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Written by Ken Presti



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