The NSW Government’s long-awaited Cloud Policy has followed the Federal Government’s example by requiring that agencies now evaluate as-a-service options when procuring ICT.
“NSW Government agencies will now be required to evaluate cloud‐based services when undertaking ICT procurements to determine the ICT delivery model that provides the best value sustainable investment, taking account of the full range of cost‐benefit considerations,” says the Cloud Services Policy and Guidelines, released today.
The Policy recommends that agencies consider a number of things when evaluating their ICT procurement needs:
- Whether a relevant cloud delivery model is available for the required solution;
- Whether specialised or unique technologies are required, or whether the agency can use generic services and amended business practices;
- Information management and critical operation requirements, including accessibility, security, privacy, storage and disposal; and
- Risk assessment requirements.
The Policy establishes the requirement for consideration within the framework of NSW’s relatively cloud-ready environment, with agencies having access to a number of mechanisms to aid the procurement and use of cloud services.
“We are not only making it easier to adopt cloud-based solutions. We are creating standard terms and conditions so that the procurement process is straight forward and provides certainty for buyers and sellers,” said NSW Finance Minister Andrew Constance.
Government private clouds will soon be available through the two custom-built data centres in Silverwater and Unanderra under the ongoing data centre reform program that will give agencies access to infrastructure-as-a-service, platform-as-a-service and software-as-a-service, hosted by external suppliers and Government shared services providers.
“Private cloud services will be hosted in the data centres for the exclusive use of the government. These will provide required levels of security and connectivity and will expand and enhance data standardisation and sharing opportunities across government,” says the Policy.
Agencies can procure cloud services through the NSW Government’s ICT services catalogue that provides centralised access to a range of prequalified suppliers and service.
The development of the Policy has been highly informed by a number of cloud pilot projects that are already underway:
- NSW Police’s proof-of-concept trial of a mobile application for electronically issuing infringement notices, which began yesterday;
- The Department of Trade and Investment, Regional Infrastructure and Services’ shift to ERP-as-a-service, which is well underway;
- NSW ServiceFirst’s proof-of-concept trials for desktop-as-a-service and messaging-as-a-service, currently underway;
- NSW Businesslink’s trial of email-as-a-service;
- NSW Fire and Rescue’s transition to email-as-a-service; and
- NSW WorkCover’s implementation of infrastructure-as-a-service.
The main areas of evaluation under the pilot programs are technical aspects, costs, contractual arrangements, and “the impact on the agencies involved and application for whole of government”.
“Evaluation of the pilot projects will continue until the end of 2013 and the outcomes will be used to update this policy document, as required,” according to the Policy.
The cloud-ready environment across the State’s public sector indicates that the Policy is likely to be effective, and may expedite the evolution of project funding and delivery models.
“Cloud solutions are provided as a service and funded by recurrent operating expenditure, and do not typically require capital investment,” says the Policy. This is in line with the visible trend of declining capital funding in recent State budgets.
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