Cloud Computing: Learning how the cloud reduces cost and increased efficiency from the….Federal Government?

by Marcy Hoffman on March 5, 2011

No, this is not a typo nor is it April 1st.

I came across this report “State of Public Cloud Computing” and, as a cloud advocate, I couldn’t put it down. The value proposition that the cloud offers is well documented but it was reassuring to read how our government is adopting cloud applications as a tool to reduce their(our) costs and improve productivity. This is not a sentence we are used to reading, unfortunately.

Why is this worth reading and how is it relevant to your business?

Allow me to quote an excerpt:

“There was a time when every household, town, farm or village had its own water well. Today, shared public utilities give us access to clean water by simply turning on the tap; cloud computing works in a similar fashion. Just like the water from the tap in your kitchen, cloud computing services can be turned on or off quickly as needed. Like at the water company, there is a team of dedicated professionals making sure the service provided is safe and available on a 24/7 basis. Best of all, when the tap isn’t on, not only are you saving water, but you aren’t paying for resources you don’t currently need.

Some benefits from Cloud Computing:

  • Economical. Cloud computing is a pay-as-you-go approach to IT, in which a low initial investment is required to get going. Additional investment is incurred as system use increases and costs can decrease if usage decreases. In this way, cash flows better match total system cost.
  • Flexible. IT departments that anticipate fluctuations in user load do not have to scramble to secure additional hardware and software. With cloud computing, they can add and subtract capacity as its network load dictates, and pay only for what they use.
  • Rapid Implementation. Without the need to go through the procurement and certification processes, and with a near-limitless selection of services, tools, and features, cloud computing helps projects get off the ground in record time.
  • Consistent Service. Network outages can send an IT department scrambling for answers. Cloud computing can offer a higher level of service and reliability, and an immediate response to emergency situations.
  • Increased Effectiveness. Cloud computing frees the user from the finer details of IT system configuration and maintenance, enabling them to spend more time on mission-critical tasks and less time on IT operations and maintenance.

Cloud computing provides tremendous opportunities for the public sector to improve the delivery of services to the American people, reduce the cost of government operations and make more effective use of taxpayer dollars, and lower energy consumption. While the public sector is just at the beginning of the journey to cloud computing, we are already seeing innovative examples at all levels of government.
For example, on April 26, 2010, became the first Government-wide system to migrate to a cloud-based environment. With the cost savings gained from using a cloud computing infrastructure, the Recovery Board plans to redirect more than $1 million in computer equipment and software to its accountability mission to help identify fraud, waste, and abuse. The City of Los Angeles is anticipating savings of $5.5 million over five years as a result of moving e-mail and productivity tools to the cloud for over 34,000 City employees, and the State of Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources is increasing collaboration through a hosted online meeting space that supports conference calls, interactive meetings, and information sharing.”

Cloud computing= cost savings + efficiency + increased collaboration.  We can’t help but read about the latest start-up trying to capitalize on what they perceive to be the latest trend. But they are just trying to catch on to a trend that Siamak Farah, CEO of InfoStreet, realized in 1996 when he founded InfoStreet.  Siamak understood that  every unnecessary dollar spent or hour wasted on IT problems distracts companies from concentrating on their core competency and that the solution is in the cloud.

Nice to see the government catching on.


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