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Leveraging Innovative Cloud Solutions in State and Local Governments

Managing shrinking budgets with innovative cloud solutions

A lot has been spoken about cloud technology for government use and it is especially important for a large percentage of governments facing budgetary constraints. Tech America released “A Comprehensive Guide for Best Practices in Cloud Computing for State and Local Governments”.  While the report highlights big data, social media and mobility it does not dive into practical examples of how the intended audience can use these technologies.  Another video released by Sandy Carter talks about benefits of social business in the cloud for government agencies that could be used as a guide to develop specific actions to be taken. KPMG released results of a survey called “Exploring the Cloud -A Global Study of Governments Adoption of Cloud” that gives a good overview of challenges and high level cloud adoption guidelines.

While many recommendations on applications to cloud to a specific industry segment are focused on infrastructure optimization, they do not talk about practical possibilities of using cloud technology other than some case studies.  In the rest of this write-up I will focus on a few possible uses of cloud technology for state and local governments in applications of the technology that has not been broadly adopted.

  1. Mobility: Building inspectors have to travel a lot to construction sites and complete paperwork that they lug back to the office.  Completing and delivering this information via the cloud would remove a lot of the paperwork necessary while speeding up the process, making it more efficient.
  2. Social Networks and Big Data Analytics: Keeping tab of the large amount of information coming from tweets, Facebook and other social media sources could give law enforcement and even traffic management an early view of problems. This could be teenagers about to swarm a location or someone reporting a long traffic backup.
  3. Platform as a Service: In Ohio, we have 88 counties. Most of these have different billing systems (e.g., tax and water). My county only accepts a manual payment or payment through a credit card processor (who charges a fee, of course). Using a common platform to build one multi-tenant application could lead to significant savings, not only in IT expenditure but also with the capability of volume discounts for transaction processing.

Technology companies could use this opportunity to provide resources to Independent Software Vendors (ISV) to build innovative solutions for the government.  I am sure there are instances where similar solutions have been developed for specific government entities.  Those solution providers should take the opportunity to modify the solution for multi-tenant use and make it available everywhere.  It would be great when a local government can go to an enterprise application store and just download an application for use.

While a lot is said of cloud computing applicability to different industry segments, the broad benefits need to be translated into specific and actionable instances of use.  This needs to go beyond infrastructure optimization that current case studies usually focus on but leapfrog to business agility.

If you are interested in learning more about Government and Cloud Adoption, there are two Cloud Camps planned for March 19th in Reston, VA with Cloud Council and April 4th in DC with FOSE

More Stories By Larry Carvalho

Larry Carvalho runs Robust Cloud LLC, an advisory services company helping various ecosystem players develop a strategy to take advantage of cloud computing. As the 2010-12 Instructor of Cloud Expo's popular Cloud Computing Bootcamp, he has already led the bootcamp in New York, Silicon Valley, and Prague, receiving strong positive feedback from attendees about the value gained at these events. Carvalho has facilitated all-day sessions at customer locations to set a clear roadmap and gain consensus among attendees on strategy and product direction. He has participated in multiple discussion panels focused on cloud computing trends at information technology events, and he has delivered all-day cloud computing training to customers in conjunction with CloudCamps. To date, his role has taken him to clients in three continents.

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