The cloud got some thumbs-ups ... and a thumbs-down ... in a couple of recent news items. Because we accentuate the positive here, we'll focus on the good news today and address the other news in my next post.
According to a new report from IDC Government Insights, government agencies are opening their eyes to the possibilities that the cloud offers. They may not be doing an awful lot in the cloud yet, but they're at least thinking about it.
Based on a survey of 400 government agency employees at all levels of government, IDCGI found that 90 percent of the people they talked to expect that cloud services will have an impact on their computing infrastructure. The least enthusiasm was found at the local government level, which isn't particularly surprising. I don't know about your city or county, but I can tell you a lot of them still rely on fax machines and desktop computers that look like they belong in a computer museum.
IDCGI noted that while government agencies realize cloud solutions are becoming important to their IT strategy, many are still trying to figure out exactly what cloud solutions will mean to them, or what it might require in the way of budgeting.
Trust is a strong factor at work here. This study showed a clear preference across all levels of government for large IT vendors versus smaller, specialty providers. This provides a great opportunity for telecom providers to be that large trusted partner with cost effective Software as a Service (SaaS) offerings combined with network connectivity and computing devices.
Still, considering the intense pressure of budget cuts and looming upgrades of servers and software, I doubt it will be very long before local government starts embracing the cloud. The most obvious place to start for them would be a productivity and collaboration suite, such as Microsoft Office 365 or Google Business Applications. This is why Sprint has announced Microsoft Office 365 offerings, which we expect will be an attractive and logical local government choice.