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Australia: Queensland GCIO Says Cloud More Than a “Fashion Statement”
Source: futuregov.asia
Source Date: Wednesday, December 05, 2012
Focus: Public Administration Schools, Thematic Website, Institution and HR Management
Country: Australia
Created: Dec 10, 2012

Governments worldwide are embracing cloud services – motivated in large part by “Economic Darwinism” and moves to manage the cost of running IT systems, according to Professor Peter Grant, government chief information officer (GCIO) for Queensland.

Professor Grant, a keynote speaker at the industry’s flagship FutureGov Forum Queensland (4th December 2012, Brisbane), said a global financial crisis had motivated governments to embrace the cloud and other cost-saving platforms.

Starting with President Obama’s “Cloud First Strategy” in the US, this platform is filtering through at all levels of government. As an early cloud adopter, the US is taking the lead with investing in cloud services. This investment is driven, in large part, by economic pressures, noted Professor Grant.

He added that, among the benefits, cloud services will enable agencies to tackle concerns involving “vendor lock-in” – while reaping the benefits of an open, ubiquitous computing environment.

Moves to the cloud foreshadow “a bunch of new negotiations, and the sourcing of IT as a service,” he noted.

To gain traction, governments need to debate new approaches to how the ICT dollar is spent. “We need to be brave enough to set the future of government.”

In Australia, a high proportion of application portfolios will reach the end of their life cycle in the next five years. Many of these systems were installed during Y2K planning. A transition period offers a “perfect opportunity to fix things,” and explore more cost-effective platforms.

Regionally, Asian governments are embracing cloud models under green field investments. This is largely because emerging economies did not have “legacy systems to worry about.”

The fundamental enabler of government is IT as a service, Professor Grant noted. “We need to first understand what services is government delivering? And then we need to align our IT investment to support that service.”

Professor Grant, Queensland’s GCIO for the past 12 months, said his department has oversight for more than a 1,000 projects at any given time. To manage these projects, “risk profiles” are being allocated to those that need immediate attention.

Earlier, the Queensland government initiated an audit of ICT spend across agencies. Findings from this audit are expected to be delivered to current minister for science, IT and innovation, Ros Bates – most likely in February 2013.

FutureGov Forum Queensland also featured presentations by minister Ray Stevens, e-government adviser to Premier Campbell Newman, and minister, Dale Shuttleworth, member for Ferny Grove (Queensland).
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